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Facebook unveils new business-friendly features

Facebook has announced a number of new features for businesses to help them improvement their engagement with consumers.

Businesses can now add call-to-action buttons and new sections to their Facebook Pages to allow them to connect with customers more directly. The features are designed to improve the experience for customers that engage with businesses on Facebook via their mobile phones.

Benji Shomair, Director of Global Partnerships at Facebook, said the new tools will encourage "tighter communication between consumers and businesses".

Facebook has announced new features "to make it easier for the more than 45 million active businesses on Facebook to highlight important information and reach their goals". It said: " If you're a plumbing company, a flower shop, a non-profit or a brand, your Page should house the information people are looking for, help you communicate with your customers and support your unique goals."

The advances include new and more prominent call-to-action buttons making it easier for consumers to shop or book appointments. Facebook is also testing several new call-to-action buttons on mobile, including Call Now, Send Message and Contact Us. Over time, it says, it will add additional calls to action to further help businesses drive achieve their goals.

Facebook is also adding new sections to its Pages. A new Shop section helps retail businesses bring their products to the forefront of their Page, while a Services section enables professional services businesses to showcase their offerings.

Facebook will also be highlighting the most responsive businesses by awarding a shiny green badge to those firms that respond to 90% of messages within five minutes. "Our goal is to provide consumers with a signal that a page is responsive," said Shomair.

The number of SMEs with a Facebook page is now 45 million, up from 40 million in April. "A million new businesses are on Facebook every month," Shomair said. In the UK, 79% of people on Facebook are connected to a small business.

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