Facebook has long been positioning itself as a marketing and outreach platform for business users. Today the social network is making that case once again, this time for its communications portal Messenger.
Facebook for Business is launching a suite of tools designed to help Facebook users more easily communicate with businesses using Messenger. To that end, Facebook says Page usernames will now be more heavily promoted across the site. Business users will also have unique Messenger Links, which are short URLs, and scannable Messenger Codes.
Facebook says the usernames will begin to show up directly underneath a user's Page title with an "@" symbol before it. Each Page has a unique username that can be set and edited, so any business users who do not currently have one should go create one.
Any Pages that currently use a vanity URL already have a username (e.g. a vanity URL of facebook.com/JaspersMarket would be @JaspersMarket).
Along with the username changes, Facebook's new Messenger Links and Codes are focused on getting the conversation started.
Messenger Links use a Page's username to create a short, memorable link that opens up a chat conversation in Messenger when clicked. Similarly, Messenger Codes are unique to each business and can be scanned using phone's camera in order to start a chat within Messenger.
The whole idea is that businesses can rely on the Messenger platform for at least some of their customer service efforts. At this point, not all businesses with a Facebook presence have made Messenger a priority, and these new features could be a turning point for the platform.
It's worth noting that Messenger Links, Codes and Usernames are also available to regular users, not just businesses. For the non-business folks, Facebook is promoting the new features as an easier way to share contact information and find friends.
But back to the business side, Facebook is also adding Messenger Greetings, which are customizable notes from a business that pop up in a new message thread before messages are sent. This is basically an opportunity for businesses to set the tone for their brand and give people an idea of what to expect. Businesses can set and edit Greetings under Page Message Settings.
In addition to announcing the new features, Facebook also touted a new milestone for Messenger: The platform now has 900 million monthly active users. For Facebook, Messenger is now its second property closing in on 1 billion monthly users, after WhatsApp reached that figure in February.