Facebook has found a new way for businesses to directly connect with consumers, reported Reuters yesterday (Aug. 5). According to the article, local awareness ads can now include a “send message” button that allows users to contact businesses through private messages.
This feature is part of the company’s efforts to make the Facebook Messenger app a standalone platform, as well as an incentive for small and medium-sized businesses, particularly those who come from emerging markets such as India, Indonesia and Brazil, to advertise on Facebook. As of two months ago, the Facebook Messenger app boasted 700 million users.
And the “send message” button is not the only feature that Facebook has in store for businesses.
Companies will also be able to reply to public comments via private message by clicking on a “message” button that will be available next to “like” and “reply,” Facebook announced in a blog post. Once the business has messaged the customer, a note appears under the comment showing that the question was answered privately.
By granting direct contact between businesses and customers, Facebook is trying to prove that advertising on its platform leads to an increase in sales. Users who are not thrilled at the idea of receiving private messages by businesses can block that option and keep using Messenger the way they did before.
In an attempt to encourage businesses to respond promptly, Facebook will award “very responsive to messages” badges to pages that respond to 90 percent of messages and reply within an average time of five minutes. The badge will also be helpful for customers who are trying to identify responsive pages.
According to the article, Facebook stated that these new features will be particularly valuable in Southeast Asia, since most users from that region follow business pages, and twice as many people from Thailand and Singapore use the Messenger app to get in touch with companies on a monthly basis.
Currently, Facebook has over 40 million active pages for small and medium-sized businesses, with over 1 billion visits each month.