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Instagram and Facebook have revealed new ways for Australian users to support small business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The platforms have made it easier for Aussies to discover gift cards for local businesses and use hashtags and stickers to support the businesses they love. 

On Instagram, businesses can add a gift card sticker to their Stories and also a button for their business profile page.

Each time someone sees a Story with these stickers or goes to the business profile page, they can tap through to complete a purchase on the website of the chosen platform.

Instagram has also introduced new ways for users to shout out their favourite small business.

The 'Support Small Business' sticker on Instagram helps users raise awareness of a favourite small business of theirs.

Only launched this week, toy store Terrific Scientific and Monkey Puzzle Toys among others have already had a shout out on Instagram with the new sticker. 

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All the accounts a person follows who use the sticker will be added to a shared Instagram story, allowing people to see the different businesses that people are supporting during this time.

Meanwhile, Facebook is testing a feature where people will be able to access gift cards from participating merchants in their cities through a 'Support Local Businesses' promotion on Facebook.

These capabilities will join tools previously announced by Facebook including the Business Resource Hub - a free online tool kit to help businesses adapt and respond to events like COVID-19.

Facebook director of small and medium business ANZ Melinda Petrunoff said that the initiative was launched to support small business in a time of need.

"Small businesses are the backbone of our community and economy—they’ve always been there for us, and now it’s time for us to be there for them.

"We hope these new tools will be useful in providing much needed support for them during this crucial time, and empower our community to discover and share new small businesses," she said.

The gift cards are made possible through Facebook's partners, who will share the value of the gift card - minus the transaction fee - with the participating merchant.

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Consumers can access the gift cards via a business' profile or through the sticker on their Story. 

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