This month Facebook made it a whole lot easier for consumers to get in touch with your business. On 7th April came the announcement that every Page on Facebook would get it’s own unique Messenger code. This scannable code operates in much the same way as a QR Code or a snap code from Snapchat. They will be scanned both online and offline by your customers and prospects who will then be able to message your business directly. So what do you, as a small business owner, need to know to so that you can have a piece of the action? What action is that? Well, at the moment there are 900 million active users on Messenger who can potentially contact your business, a much larger audience than the Irish phone book ever was. I’ve broken it down into 3 main areas.
The Messenger Code
The new Messenger Code is a beautifully designed piece of visual technology, far nicer than Snapchat’s snapcode. On Snapchat I have yet to see ANY person or business logo that looks well in the Snapcode. The design is clunky although it works well enough. Facebook’s penchant for taking the best from other platforms and then improving it has really come good for Zuck this time around. Just look at my Messenger Code! My logo is clear, visible and recognisable and the scannable circles and dots look well and do their job without interfering with my logo. If you have a text based logo, it may not look quite so well and you may have to play with the size of it in the circular space that’s available.
With the example here of Blue Blossom Florist, the text is cropped by the circular space and the word ‘florist’ is entirely lost. (This is an example page I have set up for training purposes. It’s not a real business.)
You will find your Messenger Code when you’re logged in as your Page on desktop/laptop. Go to the ‘Messages’ and look at the top of the Inbox or the bottom of the Inbox for a small icon with concentric circles and dots. When you hover over it, the words ‘Messenger Code’ will show up. Click here. Your shiny new Messenger Code will pop out. You can then download the code in three files sizes for promotion both online and offline. You will be putting this onto printed material, shop windows, business cards, and so on.
The Messenger URL
Every Facebook Page now has it’s own unique Messenger URL. This URL is in the format m.me/YourBusinessName You can access your Messenger URL by taking the following steps. Visit your Page, then hover over the Message button.
On the next pop up, you’ll get a notification that your Messenger link was copied. You will also see it visually in case you are unsure. You can now save this link and use it around the internet to prompt people to make contact with your business. Think about using it on the Contact page of your website and in your email signature etc.
Once someone clicks on your messenger link they will be brought to a chat with your business. If you make it easy to be contactable, a good vibe is already present with the customer or prospect. If you are more readily contactable than you competitor on a free platform, then you have the edge. Simple!
The final piece of the jigsaw is your Messenger Username. It will look like a Twitter handle in this format @DigiPulseMarketing. This will be visible in a number of places, the main one being on your Page near your Business Name on the Cover image. I’ve only seen this rolled out to one Page I know of so far. See the example here. Your Username is a further identifier that the consumer is speaking to the right business, as many businesses could have the same or very similar business names across the globe. Take for example my fictitious business above ‘Blue Blossom Florist’ – there are plenty others with this name and ones very like it. I’ve carried out both Facebook searches and Google searches for it. Curiously, I got the vanity URL facebook.com/BlueBlossomFlorist (and therefore the handle @BlueBlossomFlorist). The rest of them really dropped the ball on that!
To conclude, I think a couple of things need to happen before this becomes mainstream. Firstly, the update needs to reach every business and every user. It’s on a gradual roll out, so if you don’t have any of these yet, don’t worry; just know that it’s coming in the next few weeks. Likewise, the functionality must roll out to all users. Secondly, once the update is completed, some education of the users will need to take place so that there is adoption of the technology. With most Millennials and many others now understanding how snapcodes operate, the barrier to adoption will be low. Additionally, adding your link to various places online means that you can be up and running almost straight away.
For you to able to leverage this for your business, you must first have turned on the messages in your Facebook settings. I believe it’s well worth your while to do this and then monitor it as you would an email inbox or a telephone line. If someone has contacted your business through Messenger, then they are probably fairly close to purchasing, booking an appointment or seeking a quote.
You will also need to have your Vanity URL in place. Seemingly if you don’t have this already done, Facebook is now prompting you to do this. Don’t ignore these prompts; there’s a very good reason for them!
Feel free to post any questions or comments below or else contact me.