Ultimate Guide

Ultimate Facebook Messenger for Business Guide (Updated Feb 2019)

By November 29, 2018 February 21st, 2019 No Comments
Ultimate Facebook Messenger for Business Guide (Updated Feb 2019)

It's right to be hesitant when adding more channels for contacting your business. Adding Facebook Messenger means another place to manage user experience right? Right, but you'll be surprised to find that there is not too much management involved, compared to the rewards. This is one of the channels we can recommend for almost anyone and say with confidence, you should be using Facebook Messenger for business.

This post is designed to help you with your research, we're going to be answering questions like:

What is Facebook Messenger?

Facebook Messenger is the messaging part of the Facebook social network. Facebook Messenger is available both as a website for your desktop and as an app for your phone. The Facebook Messenger app was redesigned in 2019 and has three sections.

This is the Facebook Messenger app interface
The Facebook Messenger App Interface

By creating three main panels, chats, people and discover, Facebook has simplified the app interface to quickly provide the key messaging functionality people are looking for in a messaging app. The chats panel helps find current chats. The people panel helps start new chats. And the discover panel helps to kind businesses and games on Facebook Messenger.

We're are not going to go very deep into what makes Facebook Messenger special as others have covered this in great depth. Let's discuss why Facebook Messenger makes sense for business.

Why Use Facebook Messenger for Business?

How many users does Facebook Messenger have?
How many users does Facebook Messenger have?

It's easy to recommend Facebook Messenger because of the colossal audience available on it. In May 2017 Facebook announced reaching 1.2 Billion monthly active users on Facebook Messenger. Considering using messaging apps for your business? Facebook Messenger should be first on your list. You can be sure that Messenger will keep growing and trying to keep users engaged. The Messenger team continuously tries new features like a Snapchat Stories clone, group video chat, and even games to keep the platform growing.

Not convinced?

Consider that messaging is a familiar and authentic experience for an entire generation of people. For millennials, some of the most exciting and the most devastating moments in their lives happened over a messaging app. Messaging apps is a place where millennials are highly engaged.

The majority say that being able to message a business helps them feel more confident about the brand. 76% in Brazil. 79% in India. 66% in the UK. 69% in the US.

And it's not just millennials – being able to send a message to a business gives peace of mind. A global survey found people feel more confident about a business when they can message it. That consumer confidence will make it easier to acquire new customers. And so far we are just talking about passive factors. When we include an active approach, using just the tools Facebook provides in-house, adopting Facebook Messenger for your business becomes a no-brainer.

Facebook Messenger broadcasts have a 619% higher click rate than marketing emails.

Before we go further, the key thing you need to know is an individual must message a business (Facebook Page) first on Facebook Messenger. After that happens the conversation is open & you can message them back. This gives a new and untouched channel for your campaigns.

To test the potential of active marketing on Facebook Messenger Hubspot did an experiment. People were given the option to download a lead magnet by having it emailed to them or by getting it directly through Facebook Messenger. Although only about 1/5th chose the Messenger option, they had incredible levels of engagement.

Boosting Campaign Engagement with Facebook Messenger
The Incredible Boost to Campaign Engagement Facebook Messenger Can Give

Facebook Messenger and email were both used to deliver engaging content for 4 weeks and after comparing the results it was found that Facebook Messenger absolutely and utterly destroyed emails in open rates and click rates. The experiment resulted in a 619% increased click rate. 😎

That's just the tip of the iceberg, Facebook has several built-in tools to help with marketing or lead generation and there are even more 3rd party tools out there to help do more.

At this point, you might be fooled thinking that Facebook Messenger is just a way of getting more customers but that ain't the case. Because using Facebook Messenger for support has just as many benefits if not more.

The most amazing of these is diffusing negative sentiment online. You may have noticed comments on your page have a little button that enables you to send a private message back to the user who left the comment.

Reduce Negative Sentiment On A Facebook Page
Message Users Commenting On Your Facebook Page Back Privately

Click message you'll message that person back from your Facebook Page to their Facebook Messenger. This is one of the rare occasions where Facebook permits you to message an individual first. A fantastic way to give an unsatisfied person the attention they need and opening a channel for future conversations and relationship building.

After you respond to a Facebook Page comment privately the page will let other users know with a note.

Facebook Messenger is starting to sound intriguing eh? We encourage you to read on but before you do, we do update this article often. If you want us to notify you when we do, click here.

Where Is Facebook Messenger Popular?

In the United States, the top 5 apps most popular apps are Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. But what if you are outside the United States?

If you or your customers are outside the United States, consider the penetration Messenger in your countries of interest. There isn't a way to find real-time data about the most popular messaging app in each country but there is a relatively good proxy, the Play Store Top Charts. We deserve a high five because we checked every country for you.

Facebook Messenger is the top free communication app in: Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Bangladesh, Belize, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Greenland, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United States. To our surprise, we also found that Facebook Messenger Lite is the most popular messaging app in 3 countries: Fiji, Georgia, and Tunisia.

So if you are your potential customers are in any of those countries, Facebook Messenger is for you.

How Many People Message Businesses
How Often Do People Message Businesses?

According to Facebook's own research, (take that with a grain of salt) after surveying 14 countries they found messaging a business to be popular already. Of the people surveyed 67% stated they are looking to message businesses more in the future and on average they would rank messaging a business as their 2nd choice out of 9 forms of communication. In addition, surveys in Brazil, India, the UK and the US showed that 85%, 74% 61% and 61% of people respectively, have messaged a business in the last 3 months.

Now that you have an understanding of Facebook Messenger in your geography it is time to consider what you'd like to achieve and the best way of setting everything up.

How Do Consumers Use Facebook Messenger?

Why Do People Message Businesses on Facebook?
Reasons For Messaging Businesses on Facebook

The first question you should ask yourself is what are people already trying to do when they message you on Facebook. The graphic above shows 6 popular reasons for people messaging a business on Facebook. This is a good starting point, but you should really just perform an experiment. Before adopting any strategies or tools install the Facebook Customer Chat Plugin on your website and analyze the messages your website visitors send you.

Facebook Messenger for B2C & B2B Companies

Using Facebook Messenger for a B2C business is likely a no-brainer. You'll be able to chat with your customers and you'll never lose touch because, unlike web chat, you can always message them back. In fact, if you're running a B2C business you can skip to the next section.

With B2B companies things are a little bit different. Our own client list suggests using Facebook Messenger in a B2B company is less popular. In talking to these customers we understand why. If your B2B company is designed to serve enterprise level customers, you may find they have Facebook blocked. Thus your prospective customers won't even be able to sign in to Facebook Messenger to send you a message.

On the flip side, we do have B2B customers using Facebook Messenger together with the Facebook Customer Chat Plugin and are seeing immense results especially when it comes to lead generation.

Getting Started With Facebook Messenger

Ready to take the plunge? If so, get a few basic things out of the way first. You'll need to set up a Facebook Page if you don't already have one. Don't be surprised if there is already a page for your business and you don't own it. Make sure to search for it and don't worry you can claim it back.

I won't be going into detail on making a Facebook page -here is a guide provided by Facebook. A few things you should pay extra attention to:

  • Facebook Page Name
  • User Name
  • Profile Picture

Your page name and username are important because they are painful to change. You can apply to Facebook for a Page Name change, is sometimes approved but it usually takes too long.

We've created pages for clients we've found creating the perfect username the first time is vital. Facebook will likely not allow you to make a username until they see some activity on your page. In our case, we usually create the page, add a profile picture and cover photo, add the page to our Facebook Business Manager, connect the Rocketbots app and we generally see that in about 48 hours Facebook allows us to make a username.

On one occasion, we had to delete and remake a customer's Facebook Page. We remade the page with the same name, but Facebook never allowed us to add a username to this new page.

Once your page is ready all you need to do it activate messages by going to Messages by going to Settings > General. After activating you will see a send message button to the right of your Facebook Page.

Facebook Messenger Marketing

Remember, to open a conversation with an individual they will have to message you first. So you'll need to figure out some creative ways to do that. Luckily there are plenty of Facebook and 3rd party tools to help you do so. We're going to start by discussing built-in Facebook tools first.

Facebook Messenger Lead Generation & User Acquisition

It may seem counterintuitive, you've got users on your website, why funnel them to Facebook Messenger? We see this as good practice if your sales process involves sales people or your marketing depends a lot on email campaigns.

Traditionally, filling out a lead form is how you get emails. But why fiddle with lead forms when you can have your users do the same thing with just one click.

Facebook Messenger Web Plugin

Facebook Web Plugin
Facebook Web Plugin

Facebook Messenger Web Plugins come in 3 variations: Message Us, Send to Messenger & Checkbox Plugin. They are available with either a Facebook blue or white background.

The Message Us plugin is just a button. When clicked the Message Us plugin sends the user to Messenger.com on Desktop or to the Facebook Messenger app when on mobile. This is our least favorite plugin because the visitor is sent away from your website and they still have a message to you first.

The Send to Messenger Plugin looks very similar but acts differently. Rather than sending the user to Messenger, it allows the user to opt-in to opening the conversation without sending a message and without leaving your website. This is a great plugin to use if you are primarily intending to use this channel for broadcasting messages to your users.

Facebook Check Box Plugin
Facebook Check Box Plugin

You should consider using the Check Box Plugin if you are building an app or have a website built in-house. The Check Box plugin allows users to opt-in to opening the Facebook Messenger conversation by clicking a checkbox. If you have built a contact form for your website you may want to include a Checkbox plugin while simultaneously asking for their name and email. That way you get the best of both worlds.

For technical information on installing Facebook Web plugins, check here.

Facebook Customer Chat Plugin

The Facebook Customer Chat plugin is our favorite way to convert website visitors into leads. It's just the perfect little plugin. When a web visitor first loads the page the chat plugin is closed by default. Visitors just see the Facebook Messenger bubble floating in the corner. We find most users click on the bubble and open the chat, automatically sends an event and the conversation is open. Now we can talk to this visitor anytime we want. It doesn't lead to user away from the website and it's unobtrusive so visitors can keep browsing or send you a message.

If you're curious to read more about the ways Facebook Customer Chat can transform your business. If you're looking for a quick way of installing the Facebook Customer Chat Plugin with Google Tag Manager, we've made it easy to do with Rocketbots.

Building an Offline to Facebook Messenger Funnel

You're an online company, why would you waste time building an offline to online funnel? For companies that attend trade shows or conventions, have a retail presence or (gasp!) use flyers for marketing purposes. Moving people from online to offline could be very important. Facebook Messenger gives you the option to do so.

Messenger Codes or Parametric Codes

A Parametric Code is a Messenger Code
Messenger Code Printed On A Business Card

Messenger Codes or Parametric codes are really just QR codes specific to Facebook Messenger. When we first started Rocketbots we used to build custom chatbots for our clients and we created the card you see above to help people to speak to our bots through Facebook Messenger. We also hung them up on walls and placed them on the backs of people event badges.

The best part about Parametric Codes is that they can be customized to send a specific event reference when scanned enabling you to create several Messenger Codes for several different purposes. You'll be able to see where the user came from based on the reference they send when they start the conversation.

You can generate a generic Messenger Code inside Facebook Inbox, to add a reference you'll need to use Facebook's API. This is something we've made easy on the Rocketbots platform.

Customer Matching

Customer Matching is currently in Limited Beta and is only available to United States based companies. This Facebook API allows you to send a list of mobile phone numbers to Facebook. If Facebook is able to find that this number on Facebook account, the user will be sent an opt-in request through Facebook Messenger. Once the user accepts you will be able to message them.

Fill Your Facebook Messenger Funnel Using Advertising

This is probably not where you would start, but perhaps you've already mastered converting website visitors and other Facebook Messenger users that enter your Facebook Messenger funnel. Naturally, you are going to want to increase the size of that funnel.

Ads In Messenger Inbox

What do Ads in Facebook Messenger look like?
Ad In Facebook Messenger

Advertising is annoying, right? Ideally, we go multichannel with our customer conversations for their convenience not to force them into something they don't want to be in. So what better way to find people who would love to interact with you over Messenger than targeting them directly in Messenger.

Setting up an ad like this is very easy, you're going to want to switch your ad placements to manual from automatic, then limit your campaign to Facebook Messenger Inbox Ads only.

Sponsored Messages

Facebook Sponsored Message
Facebook Sponsored Message

Facebook Sponsored Messages allow you to place ads directly into conversations you are having with your users. This ad should be used at the bottom of your funnel. Since you are already having a conversation with these users it is best to use it to prompt some sort of conversion. For example, a discount for your software or a limited time discount for items in your online store. Later we'll be expanding this blog post with 3rd party tools that allow you to create the same effect at a lower cost, so stayed tuned.

Facebook Messenger for Customer Service

It's an interesting proposition. If you're looking to implement a chat on your website eventually it's going to cost you money. Companies usually charge by the number of agents or the number of users that can be logged in at the same. Did you know you can achieve most of what those platforms are offering and more for free? You heard me right, you can get a customer service suite and a free web chat for your website.

Facebook Pages Inbox

After you've created your Facebook page you will be able to access the Facebook Pages Inbox, which exists both on desktop web and as the Pages Manager app. This is a completely free and rather powerful conversation tool.

Facebook Pages Inbox

The toolset you get by using Facebook Manager Inbox certainly rivals any free customer service platform and a bunch of paid ones too. You can respond to messages from Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram, combine this with the Facebook Customer Chat Plugin discussed above and you've got yourself three major apps and a website chat.

The tools to manage these conversations are also comprehensive. You'll be able to assign contacts to any person who has edit access to your Facebook page. And although there are no tickets per se. By using labels, notes, and the mark as done function, you'll be able to track issues and share what's happening in real time with your entire team. But you're going to need more than an Inbox to reduce your workload and provide a good experience.

Messenger Greeting

What does Facebook Greeting Message look like?
Facebook Greeting Message

The first thing you're going to want to do is set up your Messenger Greeting, this will be shown to users when they first try to connect to your page in the Facebook Messenger app. But it won't be shown on the Customer Chat Plugin. This is an opportunity for you to set expectations from your users and prompt them to interact with you in a certain way.

To set your Facebook Messenger Greeting go to your page settings, navigate to the messaging section & scroll to the bottom. There you will be able to turn on your greeting message, write it up and personalize it with the users Facebook name.

Instant Replies

What do Facebook Instant Replies look like?
Facebook Instant Reply

Instant replies are another way to manage customer expectations. In situations where users don't have the opportunity to see the greeting message, they will receive a response from instant replies as soon as they send a message to you. Once again you can personalize this message by using their Facebook name.

In order to turn this feature on, go to your page's settings and under messaging you will find a section called Response Assistant. There you will find Send instant replies to anyone who messages your page. Turn it on, personalize your message and you're off to the races.

Away Message

Schedule an Away Message on Facebook Messenger
Away Message Scheduler

Your Greeting Message and Instant Replies will likely give some sort of indication as to how long the user must wait. But that does create a problem because like us, you are likely not available to reply quickly 24/7. This is what the away message is for. You can schedule a specific message to be sent outside your working hours. This way you won't be giving users false hope that you will reply to them in 1 to 2 minutes when in reality you won't be back till Monday.

You can set up the away message by going to your page's settings and under messaging you will find a section called Response Assistant. Turn Stay responsive when you can't get to your computer or phone on. Then you will be able to write your message with personalization and schedule when it will fire.

Is That Everything You Can Do With Facebook Messenger?

Not even close, we are going to be updating this article on a regular basis. Notice we did not talk about chatbots or any other apps that you can connect to your page that allow you to market, sell & support even better & all over Facebook.

Do You Have Any Examples of Facebook Messenger Campaigns?

We're glad you asked because we've built a companion article to this piece. In our blog post about the top Facebook Messenger campaigns we assemble all the most creative and interesting Facebook Messenger campaigns. We also update the article frequently. Take a look and maybe you'll be inspired for your own campaign.

Iaroslav Kudritskiy

Iaroslav Kudritskiy

Iaroslav is the driving force behind the conversational design at Rocketbots and the creator of the Rocketbots Academy courseware. His previous roles designing information management systems and horizontal knowledge transfer strategies at Kodak Alaris, Xaxis & Light Reaction. A graduate of the MBA program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

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