Facebook's master plan to earn more money from businesses just took its next step

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Kimberly White / Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook is overhauling its Pages feature to make it more useful for businesses, the company announced Tuesday afternoon.

It's adding new call-to-action buttons that will let businesses encourage potential customers to do things like book appointments or browse their ecommerce offerings.

"More than 45 million small businesses around the world use Facebook Pages," COO Sheryl Sandberg told reporters at Facebook's event announcing the change. "Our goal is to help you grow your business."

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A big part of the revamp is that all the Pages features are optimized for mobile: Businesses owners can edit their Pages and answer customer questions easily via smartphones.

Facebook says that some small businesses owners have told the company that they're getting more customer inquiries through the social network that via phone or email combined.

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Business Insider

Sheryl Sandberg at the Facebook event

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Sandberg emphasizes that one of the best parts about the new Pages is that it will let small businesses have a mobile presence without having to build their own websites.

This is all part of Facebook's larger plan to develop a robust new revenue source outside its Newsfeed ads.

Earlier this summer, Facebook several new ways for businesses and people to communicate through private messages.

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The idea is that Facebook can start making money from Messenger - and potentially Pages - once it's a natural place for people and businesses to interact.

In the company's last earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that right now Facebook is focusing on getting more people to use its Pages and Messenger tools, before it finds a way to squeeze some money from brands and businesses.

"The long-term bet is that by enabling people to have good organic interactions with businesses, that will end up being a massive multiplier on the value of the monetization down the road, when we really work on that, and really focus on that in a bigger way," Zuckerberg said. "So we ask for some patience on this to do this correctly."

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