Social Media has been changing and evolving over the years, what started of as a complete social network for people to communicate has now evolved into a platform for brands and businesses to market and sell their product. Over the years we have seen many brands use Social Networks to sell their products along with market it. A good example of how Social Media has changes is the change in Social Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Twitter which started off as a Social Network has now become a business tool. Facebook has also been shaping itself in a way to invite more and more brands to come and do their business on Facebook. There are already brands that have setup F-stores on Facebook and are tasting good success on the Social Network.
As I said over the years we have seen Social Networks changing the way they look, Facebook at its recent F8 conference announced a lot of changes which is redefining the way user’s look at Facebook. One of the recent words doing the rounds is a functionality of private messages being introduced by Facebook for brand’s and individual users to exchange private messages. This news was first cracked by the TheNextWeb earlier this month stating that Facebook is testing the addition of a “Message” button to brand’s Pages. This feature is still in test with few Asian companies before it enters the global market.
I am sure many of you might have started thinking so now do we have a Twitter in making, well the answer is no the difference between Facebook’s private message and Twitter’s direct message is that uunlike on Twitter, where either party can initiate a direct message, Facebook is requiring that the individual initiate the conversation for now, but once that is done then door is open for both the parties. Also a person does not have to “like” the brand to send a private message the option should be available for everyone to use
Facebook’s decision to allow private conversations between users and brands has opened a new channel of online customer service experience for brands. There is no doubt in my mind that this feature when it becomes available will increase the demand for companies to manage their social media channels more effectively. This feature basically allows the consumer to ask a question or give his opinion to a brand without being public. For a brand this basically means a great chance to deal with negative feedback on Facebook Page and dealing with angry fans in private.
The news of private messaging by Facebook for brands though sounds good there are things that should not be overlooked. A brand’s page presence is only known by the comments and shares that come through its fans. More private messages could ultimately lead to fewer public comments and lesser community size on Facebook. Private conversations may be good but if the consumer does not get a prompt reply or a proper answer that they want there’s little doubt they will make their complaint and subsequent treatment very public
For now this move from Facebook looks a good move by the titan Social Network and the fact that it is giving an option to brands who are not yet ready to take the dive and use this feature to deal with their social networking fans also shows that it is aware of the reverse effects this feature could have. So as a brand it’s up to you to decide if you want to use private messages when it is available for use.