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by Oliver Ewbank on 21st December 2011
This is a massive breakthrough for the millions of businesses that use Facebook to interact with their customers. B2B and B2C companies will now have the opportunity to directly interact with their target audience. This will improve the rate of engagement and will also help businesses who use Facebook as a customer service platform.
Currently this fresh feature can only be used when the customer starts the conversation. This will ensure businesses aren’t able to spam users with direct marketing campaigns. This is different to Twitter where either party can send a direct message to each other.
Until now Facebook has primarily been a one-to-many marketing platform but this new tool will allow social media marketers to improve one-to-one engagement. Rather than being a great marketing tool the private messaging will enhance the level of customer service you can provide through your Facebook page.
The private messaging will give users the chance to provide feedback to brands that they wouldn’t necessarily want to display on a public wall. It will also greatly help businesses where the customers will deliberately not want to discuss their issues publicly. For example, a health related business can now be open to enquiries from patients through the social network.
As with any new feature there are pros and cons. The private messaging may limit the amount of wall activity, which is what can keep a page interesting and entice users to come back regularly.
Using social networks like Twitter or Facebook as a customer service tool is no easy task and brands will need to decide if using the feature makes sense. Some companies may decide that they don’t want to be bombarded with individual feedback. For others this could be just what they need to improve there response to premium customers.
In my opinion the addition is a positive one which will help companies improve their level of engagement with core users.
For more information on harnessing the power of social media please visit our Facebook Management page.
Working in new media for over 8 years, Oliver Ewbank has worked for a range of brands including eBay and SportBusiness.com on SEO, PPC and Social Media Management. He has won awards for his SEO work and been featured in a number of publications, including Virgin online.