Facebook Timeline For Pages: Private Messages

This is part of a series of posts about getting set up on Facebook Timeline for Pages.

Through all of the talk of cover photos and page tabs and pinning, it seems most reports on the new Facebook Timeline for Pages gloss over one very important new feature: Private Messaging.

Up until now, if a fan wanted to contact you directly, they’d have to do one of the following:

  • Post on your wall
  • Contact your personal Facebook profile
  • Go through your website
  • Find some other way to hunt you down

But now there’s a nice little button under your cover photo…

Private Message Facebook Timeline Page

Click that Message button, and a private message dialog comes up so that you can contact that page directly:

Private Message Dialog Facebook Page Timeline

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But what if I don’t want fans contacting me? I don’t have time for this!” Well, first of all, chill. Second, you could actually prevent that.

Just go to your Admin Panel > Manage > Edit Page > Manage Permissions.

Facebook Page Private Message

Just uncheck the box (which is checked by default) to show the “Message” button.

The Rules of Private Messaging for Pages

Anyone worried that they are going to get spammed by pages can relax. Pages can’t initiate the contact. A fan has to message them first. The page then can’t send more than two messages until the fan then responds again.

The Potential Drawbacks of Private Messaging to Fans

Could a page abuse that and message everyone who was eligible with a sales pitch? Potentially, though that’s not clear yet (and I assume they’d all have to be individual messages). But the motivation for that has to be small since I’m sure that page would be reported in a heartbeat.

The Potential Drawbacks of Private Messaging to Pages

I guess if you’re a big brand, you could get inundated by private messages. You’d hear from angry customers, non-customers (that functionality is available to everyone, even non-fans), people trying to sell you something, spammers, etc. And if spammers aren’t controlled, it’s entirely possible that all pages will be targeted, even the small to medium sized brands. Hopefully Facebook knows that and is ready to prevent it.

The Potential Benefits of Private Messaging to Fans

Maybe you have a private matter that you want to discuss with a brand and don’t want to post it on their wall. Even if it’s not private, this is a much more intimate and personal way of communicating. That’s good for the fan, particularly if you’re having a hard time being heard on an active Timeline.

The Potential Benefits of Private Messaging to Pages

Sure, you could get blasted with messages. And sure, you might get a bunch of angry people messaging you when PR goes south. But would you rather have those people posting on your Timeline or contacting you privately?

Previously, the inability to contact fans directly tied the hands of page administrators. Now if someone posts an angry message on the Timeline, the administrator needs to kindly ask, “Would you please send me a private message? I would love to take care of this for you.”

PR aside, the personal relationship goes both ways. This is great for the brand. Being able to provide personal service creates stronger loyalty.

Other Buried Features

If you click on the arrow by the Message button, you’ll actually get four more options:

  • Report Page
  • Share
  • Send Feedback
  • Add to My Page’s Favorites

Add to Favorites Facebook

I guess the first one isn’t good for pages. But being able to share the page or add it to your page’s favorites — in a much more logical and easily found location — is certainly an improvement.

What Do You Think?

Have you messaged brands privately yet? Will you? Will you allow fans to message you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below?

  • Cathryn Peters

    Something that I’ve not seen addressed for pages, is how to send messages to your followers/fans? Used to be really simple, but now I can’t find out how to send a broadcast message to all my fans, or to select certain demographics to send to. Can you answer this question and how are other pages interacting and notifying their fans about something new?

    • G

      Try using a status update?

  • Guest

    Before the launch, I was under the impression that we would be able to reply to posts via private messages.  That is where the real benifit would lie.  In my case people often post on my wall asking for quotes, but I don’t want to publicly post the prices I give them, so I end up having to explain to each person how to privately message me for more info.  I wish they had stuck with the idea of private messaging going both ways.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      I understand, but this is to protect the consumer and prevent pages from becoming a breeding ground for spam. In the beginning you’ll need to explain to fans how to private message you. Eventually, the process will become second nature.

      But I understand your concern!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_77YCMGY3BXIYITPLTSV4PTVYXY Anthony

    so where the hell is the admin panel?!?!?

  • Derick

    How would one send a message to just one person? Say for instance somebody liked my business/fan page, and I would like to get in contact with that person. I can click on that persons name, but there is no option to message the person, I can however reply on a received message. I just cannot seem to figure it out, nor find a solution anywhere, any help would be appreciated!!

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Hey, Derick. You can’t send messages to fans until they send one first. They must initiate the discussion. Facebook does this to prevent spam.

  • Diana

    Hi Jon,
    I did everything you said to do for a Message button (very simple step), but yet I don’t see the Message button. Could it be due to not having my fan page published to the public? and same with Like button..? could that be the reason as well? I do have Like tab but not the actual button ..(not sure what else to do) thanks in advance.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Hi, Diana. Very likely that you need to publish the page first!

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  • natalie

    I have someone using my page to send me abuse… but they are not a fan of the page, so how can i stop it? They are already blocked form my profile… but this doesnt stop their messages getting through to my fan page? My page is a business so I cant turn off the messages either? Not sure what to do, can you help at all?

    Thanks in advance.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      From any message, hover to the right to bring up an and then check to report/mark as spam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=685332481 Zee Sandhu

    hi, I am managing a FB Page. I noticed that others who Like my FB Page not able to send message to my FB Page, even after clicking on the the Message button. Can someone help. Tks a million!

    • Jessie Caufield

      Did you ever receive info on this? My fans are having the same problem. They can’t message. me.

  • austin

    I have my message allow ticked but the message button is not appearing? What am i doing wrong?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      It doesn’t sound like you’re doing anything wrong, Austin. Can’t imagine would would cause that. I’d reach out to Facebook.

  • austin

    Hey Jon i left a message yesterday u there?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      I did, Austin. Just getting caught up after a few days in NYC!

  • Mike

    Hi Jon, I don’t get messages from my fans anymore. One fan said when he sends me a message it get blocked as spam. What is happening? We used to get a few messages a day from fans. Appreciate any help here!

  • mohitdxb

    Hi Jon do you know how we can pull analytics for the Private Messages received on a brand page during a course of time? We manage a very large Brand page and we receive hundreds of private messages every week – do you know how to get some data around that?

  • jf
  • Nicole

    Hi Jon. I have a few great testimonial personal messages on my Business page that I’d like to share to my page but I don’t get the share button within the page. Can you help?

  • anne blank

    Hi there. Is “fan must initiate private conversation” determined through the facebook technology? If a fan has clicked to enter a promotion, and if they win they are to be notified by the brand page- how can this *not* be at fan’s initiation – the fan has sought out a promotion and entered it in the hope of winning a prize and would want to be told of the win by the brand. I would be interested in your thoughts. Thank you!