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Timeline For Facebook Pages: Messages or a Contact Form App?

Mar 5th, 2012

facebook messages, no notification

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: I’m biased.

We spent the time to build a contact form for our facebook page and then turned it into an app – so anyone could install it. Why? Because at that time there was no other option for someone to (privately) contact the owner of a Facebook business page.

Now things are different. Which begs the question: do we still need our contact form app? Are Messages for Pages the answer to the problem we were trying to solve?

Anyone Using Messages?

The short answer is yes. We have been talking about the new Messages feature a lot lately; due to the fact that with the new Timeline layout for pages there is now such a feature.

During my research I looked around on other business pages like Mari Smith and Kristi Hines and while basically everyone had Messages enabled I still saw plenty of contact forms.
It may have to do with the fact that Messages are turned on by default which leaves me to wonder if page admins will want to deal with Messages from Fans, especially if they don’t own the page but are only managing it.
It’s not like you can forward a Message for a Page the way you can with a Message in a personal profile… also missing? The ability to add a photo or video. Sending a video message might actually be cool!

Using Messages for Business

Notification? NO. Message? YES!We were testing Messages out and they work ok.
The biggest issue for me is the fact that there’s no notification for the new messages your page receives! At least not until you open your admin panel.

Problem: If you have to navigate to all your pages (thinking like a Social Media Manager) and you have to open or “show” the admin panel just to see if you have Messages then this “Feature” will quickly become a big hassle.

To Message or Not to Message?

Is it better for a business to enable Messages or to continue using a contact form app that allows email recipients to be specified?
Is communicating through Facebook Messages the best option for a business when there are so many other options like contact form apps, Twitter, Google+ available?

And probably the most important reason to choose a contact form app over Messages for Pages is this:
The fact that a contact form (app) typically captures the sender’s email address (for lead generation purposes).

Another stumbling point might be that everyone has the option to block messages from people they don’t know – meaning that if you’re not also friends with that Fan who sent you the message you may experience trouble sending more messages.
The main reason why we added a contact form to our page was because we wanted to add business value, not more complications.

Mobile Friendly?

I’m guessing that Facebook believes that all Page Admins do still use their desktops, too. For the longest time you couldn’t post to your Page through the mobile app; while this has changed, the implementation is still buggy.
When I use this feature to post a link to an interesting article the image for the article doesn’t get integrated — which makes the post less interesting since it’s lacking the visual impact. I don’t post to my Page with my phone unless I feel it’s really, really important.

Facebook “gave” us another “cool” feature, but can we use our mobile apps to get and respond to Facebook Messages as our Page? NO. At least not yet.

Because of my position I’m having trouble seeing WHY you would use Messages instead of already proven (other) ways to communicate with your fans.
Is it just another option we need to offer because we’re too afraid someone won’t know how else to contact us?

When it comes to business I think email is still the best and most direct way for a business to communicate online.

What do you think?

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