Facebook Pages Get Private Messages

by Simon Kemp in News

Facebook are continuing last week’s platform innovations by trialling Private Messages for Pages:

Although this may appear a minor addition, the implications are actually quite significant: these private message will make it much easier for brands to interact with fans and – critically – complainants, in a more direct and individual manner.

When a visitor clicks on the Message button on a Page, it brings up a simple dialogue box that allows them to enter a message:

It’s worth highlighting here that a visitor doesn’t need to have ‘Liked’ the page in order to send a Private Message; the functionality appears to be open to all.

Once a visitor has sent a message to the Page, it is added to the visitor’s Messages area, just like a message they’d send to a friend’s personal profile:

The Page then receives a notification that they’ve received a Private Message in their Page’s top right-hand notifications menu (just under the Admins section):

Clicking on the Messages arrow (see below), Page Admins can see a brief overview of the messages they’ve received before deciding whether to respond immediately or not:

Also, if you’re using Facebook as a Page, you’ll receive notifications in the global notifications bar as well:

Clicking on a message from a visitor allows a Page Admin to respond; again, the reply interface for the page is almost identical to the one we’re used to with private messages between individuals:

Once the page has replied, the original visitor receives notification of the Page’s message in exactly the same way they would if they received a message from a friend’s personal profile:

If the visitor opens the message, it looks like any other message they’d receive from a friend:

There doesn’t appear to be any facility allowing Pages to proactively contact fans through private messages yet – Pages can only use Private Messages to respond to messages sent by visitors, or to comments visitors have made on their Wall.

However, the option to send a private response to a public Wall post is quite interesting:

From our perspective, this will be a particularly useful avenue to follow up with private or sensitive fan enquiries, and will remove the need for conversations to move away from Facebook into email.

As a result, we expect to see a considerable number of Wall Posts replies that consist of “Thanks very much for your comment – we’ve sent you a Private Message!

However, just in case you were wondering (as we did), this updated functionality has not extended to real-time chat for Pages yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see that addition very soon – as you can see from the Facebook admin notification below, it looks like Facebook are still testing the new private messaging system:

As you can see, the whole Private Messaging system is relatively straightforward, which means there should be few barriers to Pages adopting this tool.

It’s interesting that Facebook decided to roll this all out now – we’ve been predicting an increased focus on individual, one-to-one communications for a while, as social platforms try to differentiate themselves from traditional ‘broadcast’ approaches.

We’re very excited about this, because simplified, one-to-0ne communications will help brands to nurture and motivate core fans and key influencers – part of what we’re referring to as a move towards building “social nicheworks” as well as the more public social networks.

What do you think? Will you make use of the Private Messages feature to respond to fans?

More importantly, as a fan, would you prefer to interact privately via these Private Messages, or keep conversations open and public on the Wall?

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Note: It appears this feature is not available everywhere yet, and it just so happened that mine was one of the pages Facebook chose to trial it on.

Update: Inside Facebook have confirmation from Facebook:

We are currently testing a feature that allows people and Pages to communicate privately. We have no further details to share at this time.

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  • http://twitter.com/zbiejczuk Adam Zbiejczuk

    Wow, a great find! Looking forward to see it goes live for every page :) And congrats, I suppose you’ll get plenty of traffic for this! :)

  • http://twitter.com/TimMears_ Tim Mears

    Great news, although this may see a rise in brands using the wall to host promotion that do not obey Facebook Ts&Cs

  • http://twitter.com/matej43 matej43

    Facebook is now complete.

  • Simon Kemp

    Thanks Adam! Yes, we’re looking forward to seeing how brands around the world use it too – although, with these messages being private, that will be more tricky than usual…

  • Simon Kemp

    Yes, there’s a danger this will take some things ‘offline’ that should remain public, but we’re hoping the overwhelming weight of usage will be for good. 

  • http://eikasia.cz Honza Páv

    Looks great to me! This option may helps us overcome common problems with FB Page mangement – looking forward to see the opportunities!

  • http://twitter.com/Clau_Tluk Claudia

    This is a great addition! You often need personal info to really help your customers & it’s much easier to receive that info via a private message instead of a mail.

  • Simon Kemp

    Yes! It will be great to keep the communications within Facebook – for brands because it keeps information in the same place, but also for fans, because they won’t need to share email addresses. Hopefully this will make things a lot simpler and cleaner.

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  • Anonymous

    This would help a lot to answer customer related questions in a more confidential environment.

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  • http://www.afmarcom.com/ Angelique

    I love that they’ve brought this back! (Yes, back; way back when pages had messaging!) I hope I get this soon for my page. I also hope we get B2B chat, too!

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  • http://twitter.com/donvarela Don Varela

    Are they just randomly activating this for brand pages?

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  • Simon Kemp

    Hi Don, Facebook have stated that they have “no further details to share at this stage”, so we’re not totally sure what their roll-out plan is. We know of at least one other user in Singapore who has this feature activated though, so it may be a localised Singapore trial for now. We’ll update the post when we know more.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/SMtalkingfinger William DeRosa

    Excellent feature. Users SHOULD be able to message a page owner if they wish. I just hope this does not take conversation away from the wall, which is my fear. In other words, someone may be more inclined to now as a “stupid q” (their usual first words when they feel the q is too simplistic) in a message instead of the wall. Or even more technical q’s or thoughts may be sent through message instead of the wall. This potentially COULD hurt “are talking about this” numbers, and as well, I am wondering how this will play into Edgerank. http://www.facebook.com/talkingfinger

  • http://www.facebook.com/SMtalkingfinger William DeRosa

    Excellent feature. Users SHOULD be able to message a page owner if they wish. I just hope this does not take conversation away from the wall, which is my fear. In other words, someone may be more inclined to now as a “stupid q” (their usual first words when they feel the q is too simplistic) in a message instead of the wall. Or even more technical q’s or thoughts may be sent through message instead of the wall. This potentially COULD hurt “are talking about this” numbers, and as well, I am wondering how this will play into Edgerank. 

  • http://twitter.com/TerraIncognita Terra

    Finally! This is great news and long overdue. 

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  • Guest


    it just so happened that mine was one of the pages Facebook chose to trial it on. ”
    Alternatively, you are part of a group they specifically targeted as social influencers and expected you to spread the word…?! :)

  • Ian Watson

    can you tell em when this is being rolled out o rhow to get it now please anyone?

  • http://twitter.com/fixmyiphoneirl Fix my iphone irl

    Does anyone know why my fans from my business page can only mail me using there pc and not when they are on there mobile phone?? I cannot seem to figure this out.

  • http://twitter.com/scalablesocial Scalable Social

     Fix my iphone irl, I can’t figure this out, either! I tried changing my business classification to match that of Mashable (which can be emailed from mobile on FB).  Nope.  I tried removing the phone number.  Nope.  I also tried removing the address and map, thinking maybe it had to do with local businesses.  Nothing!

  • notafan

    How to I remove the message button from my FB page?  I do not want to receive private messages,   FB is not a replacement for my email and I prefer not to monitor 2 messaging systems.   

  • http://www.swiftprintuk.com/ jean

    its really a good move to pick specific users or business peoples for exchanging of business views or services

  • Guest

    Does anyone know whether if when you send a private message to a group, you can see whether it has been read or not?

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