Facebook is rolling out an exciting feature for small businesses using Messenger.
It’s called Messenger Broadcast and it will enable businesses pages to send a message or a special offer via Messenger to larger groups of people at the same time. The only condition is that those users contacted the business page first.
While this might not seem like a big deal, it will really help small businesses that aren’t sophisticated enough to build chat bots.
In 2017, 330 million users contacted small businesses. Business owners have to reply to each user individually, which can quickly become a time consuming task. And if they want to let some of their customers know about an offer that would surely interest them, they have to contact each one of them again!
“This is why we are testing the broadcast composer; using this tool, small business pages can message all or a segment of the people who have initiated conversations with their business at once, directly from their Pages Inbox,” says Facebook’s spokesperson.
How does Broadcast work
Image source: Techcrunch
Looking at the current user interface, it seems fairly easy to use Broadcast composer. You enter the title and body text of your message, add an image and end the offer with one of the pre-prepared call to action buttons that can server as a hyperlink or an automatic response trigger. That’s it, your message is ready.
Group segmentation is also very basic and simple. Businesses will simply label conversations with tags and then use those tags to send a message to the tagged group.
Image source: Techcrunch
Broadcast is free to use for now, but it will become a paid product later on. Businesses will probably be able to send out a few offers for free, but will have to pay for more reach.
Right now Facebook is testing the Messenger Broadcast with a small percentage of pages in the U.S., Mexico and Thailand.
Will Broadcast turn our inboxes into spam folders?
That’s a good question. Messenger will limit the number of messages a business can send in order to limit spam and encourage businesses to only send out relevant offers. It also won’t let businesses contact users, if they haven’t contacted them first.
However, it’s easy to imagine low-quality promotions from a local shop appearing in one’s inbox or even messages from big brands a user contacted a year ago.
On the other hand, casual offers from the shop around the corner might prove welcome and it seems like users will still have some control over what enters their inbox.
One thing is clear, Facebook is starting to monetize Messenger and it might be that Broadcast is just the beginning of bigger things to come.