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An Actionable Intro to Facebook Messenger for Business

Facebook Messenger is one of the most important messaging apps brands use to connect with customers worldwide. Make sure you’re using it correctly.

Christina Newberry August 29, 2023
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Facebook Messenger is a powerful communications tool that allows you to connect with existing and potential customers through one-on-one conversations that make social media as personal as it can be.

With automations and intelligent chatbots, you can use Facebook Messenger for business to communicate personally at scale, giving customers the individual attention they need without burning out your team.

Bonus: Get a free, easy-to-use Customer Service Report Template that helps you track and calculate your monthly customer service efforts all in one place.

What is Facebook Messenger?

Facebook Messenger is Facebook’s dedicated messaging app and platform. Nearly a billion people (and 188 million in the United States alone) use Messenger monthly. It’s the most popular messenger app other than WhatsApp (also owned by parent company Meta).

While it’s best known as a text messaging service, the Facebook Messenger app also supports voice and video calls. Users can personalize their experience with a selection of chat themes, stickers and custom reactions featuring avatars.

Messenger is also a popular customer service channel. Customers expect to be able to reach brands on the platforms they already use. Since Facebook is the world’s most popular social network, it makes sense for brands to be accessible on its dedicated messaging service.

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The benefits of using Facebook Messenger for business

Stay connected with your audience and customers

More than a billion messages are sent between individuals and businesses every month on Facebook Messenger. If you’re not available on Facebook Messenger, you’re missing an incredible opportunity to connect with your existing audience and potential new customers.

Offer support on your customers’ terms

You might think of social media primarily as a marketing channel. But customers expect to access customer support on the social channels where they follow and interact with brands. No one wants to look up a customer support email address or phone number when they can simply click a message icon to access your team directly from Facebook.

A fast, easy resolution to a support query can turn a frustrating experience into a positive one for your customers. Using Messenger allows you to be there where and when they need you to be.

As you’ll see below, Messenger automations allow you to offer personalized support even when your team is not available.

Source: Simons on Facebook Messenger

Handle transactions and upsell

A one-to-one communications channel like Facebook Messenger offers exceptional opportunities to understand your (potential) customers on an individual level and make product recommendations that serve a specific need at a particular moment in time.

Facebook Messenger marketing allows you to interact in ways that lead to real business outcomes, like offering a trial or coupon, collecting lead information, or even making a sale.

Source: Joybird on Facebook Messenger

Once someone engages with you on Facebook Messenger, you can also use sponsored messages to continue the conversation later, including following up with upsell or upgrade offers timed to the end of a trial.

Build trust

It’s simple. If your company is open to dialogue, your company is easier to trust.

And that trust can be earned on reputation alone. In a poll by Facebook, the majority of people who message businesses say that the option helps them feel more confident about a brand. Just knowing messaging is available is enough for some customers.

Imagine you’re about to make a big purchase. If you have to choose between a company with support and another without, which would you pick? Which one would you return to? Since the majority of people prefer to message businesses rather than call or email, this is an important way to build trust and confidence.

How to set up Facebook Messenger for business

Now that you understand the why, here’s how to get started with Facebook Messenger as a business.

Step 1: Turn on Messenger for your Facebook Page

  1. From your Page, click your profile picture and select Settings & Privacy.
  2. Click Settings, then click Privacy in the left menu.
  3. Next to Messaging, click Edit to turn on the option Allow people and Pages to message your Page.

As long as Messenger is enabled, you will see a Message button on your page on both the desktop version and the mobile app.

Facebook messaging privacy settings and tools

Christina Newberry writer Facebook business profile

Step 2: Set up Messenger automations

We’ll talk later in this post about some of the ways you can make the most of Messenger through both manual and automated strategies. But before we get into the strategic details, let’s make sure you know how to enable the various automation features on Messenger.

Note: To access any of these automations, head to Meta Business Suite and click Inbox in the left menu. Then, at the top of the page, click the Automations button:

Not yet comfortable with Meta Business Suite? We’ve got a whole post to walk you through the details of how it works.

Instant Reply

You can use Instant Reply to send an automatic response to a new incoming message. This feature doesn’t allow for ongoing automated conversations the way a chatbot would (more on that later). But it’s a good, basic way to let customers know you’ve received their message.

You can use this option to direct customers to existing resources, let them know when to expect a reply, or just thank them for getting in touch.

Domino's Pizza Facebook messenger chat information

Source: Domino’s Pizza on Facebook Messenger

How to set up Instant Reply on Facebook Messenger:

  1. From the automations screen, click Create Automation.
  2. Click Greet People in the left menu.
  3. Click Instant Reply, then at the bottom right click Create Automation.
  4. At the top of the screen, switch the Instant reply toggle to On.
  5. Choose the channels you want to use (Facebook and/or Instagram).
  6. Enter your message and click Save changes.

Away Messages

Away Messages are similar to Instant Replies, but they are specifically designed to let customers know that you are away from your computer or the social customer service desk is closed.

Think of them as out of office emails, but for Facebook Messenger. You can set them to come on automatically on a regular schedule, or turn them on any time by setting your Inbox status to Away.

How to create Away Messages on Facebook Messenger:

  1. From the automations screen, click Create Automation.
  2. Click Greet People in the left menu.
  3. Click Away Message, then at the bottom right click Create Automation.
  4. Choose the channels to use.
  5. Click on each day of the week to set Away hours.
  6. Enter your Away message, then click Create Automation.

Frequently asked questions

These responses can be created to help you answer common questions easily. Once you set up FAQs, they will appear as suggested messages for the person to click on. Messenger will then send your automated response to that question.

How to create responses for frequently asked questions on Facebook Messenger:

  1. From the automations screen, click Create Automation.
  2. Click Share information in the left menu.
  3. Click Frequently Asked Questions, then at the bottom right click Create Automation.
  4. At the top of the screen, switch the Frequently asked questions toggle to on.
  5. Click Add another question, then click the pencil icon next to Question #1.
  6. Enter the question and the relevant response.
  7. Click Add media to attach a file, or Add button to provide a link button.
  8. Turn on the toggle for Add to Menu.
  9. Click Add another question and repeat this process until your FAQs are complete.
  10. Click Save changes.

Comment to Message

Ths Facebook Messenger automation allows you to send a private message in response to a comment on a Facebook post that contains specific hashtags. This is a handy way to address comments about a contest or campaign.

  1. From the automations screen, click Create Automation.
  2. Click Share information in the left menu.
  3. Click Comment to Message, then at the bottom right click Create Automation.
  4. At the top of the screen, switch the Comment to message toggle to on.
  5. Add the relevant hashtags.
  6. Click the pencil icon next to each Hashtag under Take this action.
  7. Click Add media to attach a file, or Add button to provide a link button.
  8. Click Save changes.

Tips for getting the most out of Facebook Messenger

Automate simple conversations

We showed you some of the basic built-in Facebook Messenger marketing automations in the last section. To take things to the next level, you can automate whole Facebook Messenger conversations using an intelligent chatbot.

Bumble Facebook messenger bot

Source: Bumble on Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger chatbots can do everything from answer customer service queries to recommend products. To create an AI-powered chatbot, you’ll need to incorporate extra tools into Facebook Messenger. Our favorite is Heyday.

Read our complete guide for using Facebook Messenger bots for business.

Know when to take the conversation off-platform

Conversations can come at your from multiple angles on Facebook: Through public comments, @mentions, and Messenger DMs. Sometimes one customer might try all three, as well as sending messages on your other social channels.

It’s critical to maintain a unified response across all these contact points. You also need to understand when to take a public conversation private (including for security or compliance), and when to move the conversation off-platform into a more traditional ticket system or helpdesk setting.

The easiest way to manage all of this, especially when working with multiple team members, is to use a unifying tool like Hootsuite Inbox. Inbox centralizes all customer contact in one place, automatically directs queries to the most relevant team member, and connects to your CRM for more effective customer service.

Be human – and personal

It can be tempting to become almost robotic when replying to common questions on social media, especially if you’re using autoresponses, bots, or saved replies.

But people expect social media to be a place for human interaction. A little personalization is an easy way to help followers and customers feel like you’re treating them as people, rather than ticket numbers.

The Facebook Messenger automations we outlined earlier in this post all offer some capacity for personalization. The easiest option is to include a field that autofills the contact’s name. When entering your pre-filled response, click the personalizations icon (three stars) to add these personalized fields.

When you connect Facebook Messenger to your CRM using a tool like Hootsuite Inbox, you can also use the details you have on hand to provide the best answers possible with the most relevant context for each contact.

Following a conversation, save relevant notes back to your CRM using the two-way integration in Inbox. This can include apparel sizes, order preferences, or other details that may be useful to have on hand for future chats.

Respond quickly

Businesses that reply to messages in a timely manner are awarded with a Very Responsive badge for their Facebook business page. To earn a badge, businesses must have a response time of less than 15 minutes, and a 90% response rate.

People can also see on your Messenger profile how quickly you usually respond to messages. A faster average response time helps build confidence and assures customers they can expect to hear from you soon.

Nordstrom verified profile with speedy response time

Source: Nordstrom on Facebook Messenger

Facebook says, “We know people expect businesses to respond quickly, and businesses that respond to users in a timely manner achieve better outcomes.”

They take this fast response expectation so seriously that they only allow businesses 24 hours to respond. After that, you lose the chance to respond to your customer’s question or send promotional information.

Since people expect a timely response on Messenger, you might lose out on a potential customer if you take too long to reply. Their question may become irrelevant even before that 24-hour window closes.

Mainland Whisky patio opening times chatbot

Source: Mainland Whisky on Facebook Messenger

For example, if someone seems uncertain about a purchase, a last-minute promo code might be enough to sway them.

Experiment with Facebook Messenger ads

We already mentioned that you can use sponsored messages ads to reactivate a conversation with an existing Facebook Messenger contact. You can also use Click to Message ads to encourage potential customers to contact you for the first time.

This can be a great way to collect leads, or just to get people learning more about your business.

Add a Messenger button to your website

Adding a Messenger chat button to your website is an easy way to introduce chat functionality without a custom chat tool. When someone clicks the chat button on your website, it opens a Messenger conversation so they can talk to you or your team. You can also set up automated prompts.

To add a Messenger button to your website, go to Inbox in Meta Business Suite, then click Settings > View all settings. Click Chat Plugin and follow the prompts.

Messenger button chat plugins

Source: Meta Business Suite

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By Christina Newberry

Christina Newberry is an award-winning writer and editor whose greatest passions include food, travel, urban gardening, and the Oxford comma—not necessarily in that order.

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