Your small business may already use Facebook to keep in touch with customers.
And the ubiquitous social media platform is getting ready to introduce a way for your business to contact them there directly in all new ways.
Facebook recently unveiled Businesses on Messenger. It’s set to be formally launched soon, the company’s website reports.
The Businesses on Messenger app will allow your company to contact customers in a variety of ways — and in a place where they’re clearly spending a lot of time.
On the company’s official Developers blog, Facebook Product Manager Lexy Franklin writes:
“Businesses on Messenger enables things like the following: during the checkout flow on a business’s site, a person can choose to start a conversation with a business, receive updates from that business on things like order confirmations and shipping status updates, and ask the business free-form questions about the order, receiving quick responses.”
Franklin also writes that there are now 600 million users on Messenger.
The chances that some of them are your customers are pretty good.
It’ll be a few weeks until Businesses on Messenger is officially launched but until then, here’s how Facebook is telling us it will work:
If someone makes a purchase on your website, they can opt to receive notifications of the transaction through their Facebook Messenger app. That includes shipping updates, too.
This allows you to connect with your customers in a one-on-one way. And Businesses on Messenger keeps each conversation organized. That way, you and your customers can maintain that one-on-one connection.
Businesses on Messenger allows you the ability to customize those types of messages. The message that initially connects your business to your customer can showcase the item they purchased, the size or style, and the cost.
Future updates can track the shipment until it arrives at its destination and eventually when it arrives to your customer’s door.
These personalized notifications are sent right to your customer’s Messenger app and come from your business.
Normally, your customers would get confirmations on orders and shipping from third-party apps, and would have to manually check shipping statuses.
Businesses on Messenger is going through a trial phase with two of Facebook’s first partners in this venture, Everlane and zulily.
Facebook is also working on partnering with live chat platforms. Currently, the social site has a deal in place with Zendesk. This allows your business to have one-on-one conversations with prospective customers, too.
Through this and future partnerships with live chat providers, Businesses on Messenger will allow companies to send and receive text messages and photos with customers.
Even more, Businesses on Messenger can be set to send push notifications to a customer’s mobile device. These are the notifications that overlay any current activity on a user’s smartphone, even their lock screen.
These types of notifications will put your business’s interactions your customer front-and-center and impossible to miss.
Right now, Facebook is recruiting businesses that want to use Businesses on Messenger. On the service’s main page, there is a sign-up form for those interested in participating.
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I guess business integration with Facebook is a good thing for all those Facebook stores. It will make it easier for their customers to buy from them and other retailers can set up their own stores in the platform.