So you’ve seen it around, heard people talk about it, but never actually used Facebook messenger. What is it, and why would it be important to your business to be using the app? That’s what I’m here to tell you. This article will give you the complete skinny on the Facebook messenger app. I’ll go through: • What is Facebook messenger • The ins and outs of the messenger app • How you can use the app • Why the messenger app is great for business
What is Facebook Messenger?
Messenger is Facebook’s very own messaging app. Do you remember MSN back in the old days? Well, it’s like that and it was released back in 2011. It came about as Facebook acquired the group messaging app Beluga. The app is now completely separate from Facebook itself, and not many people know this, but there is a completely separate website to use the messaging service too. This means you get all the good stuff, without the distraction of cat videos on your Facebook feed. Even if you don’t have a Facebook account you can simply sign into messenger with your name and phone number, meaning if you’ve deleted your Facebook account you can still use the messaging service to your heart’s content. You can download the app to your smartphone whether you have an Apple device or android, the app is downloadable from each respective app store.
How the App Works
Open the app, or go to the webpage, and you will be greeted by a login screen. You can use your Facebook login, or your phone number and name.
Once you’re in you’ll be able to see all of your chat conversations, past and present. With all your current conversations the most recent will be at the top, and there will be a preview of each conversation in chronological order. Anything you are yet to read will be in bold, whilst those you’ve read are paler. On the right hand side of each conversation you will be able to see whether the message has been sent and whether the reader has opened and read the message, or not. If the message has been sent there will be a blue circle with a white tick in the centre. If they message has been sent and seen, the person’s profile picture will occupy the circle. To create a new message you simply click the box with the pencil in on the top right hand corner, on both the app and the messaging website. Once you click this you can add as many people as you like into the conversation by simply typing their name into the search bar that appears. Type your message on the bottom text bar and you’re away. On the right hand side of the bottom text box you have four different options: • Pictures • Emoticons • GIFs • The ‘Like’ Thumb Clicking on these during an active conversation will allow you to send pictures from your phone/computer, send emoticons, GIFs and a quick thumbs up if you’re in a hurry. To delete (or archive) messages you need to: • Swipe left on the desired conversation • Select the red delete button • Choose ‘delete’ or ‘archive’ depending on whether you want to save it, or permanently delete the conversation By swiping left you are also given extra options. If you choose to ‘mute’ the conversation you will no longer receive notifications if anyone in the conversation replies. In doing this you can choose how long you mute the conversation for, handy if you’re going to be in important meetings all morning and don’t want your phone to accidentally go off! You can choose to mute the conversation for: • 15 minutes • 1 hour • 8 hours • 24 hours • Until you turn it back on Another option you are given as you swipe left is ‘more’. In clicking this button you are given the options to ‘leave group’ if you’ve been invited into a group conversation you no longer want to be a part of. You can also mark the message as ‘spam’, ‘archive’ it, or ‘mark as unread’. Why would you need to ‘mark as unread’? Well, if you don’t have time to reply to the message right away (if you’re busy or have bad reception) but don’t want to look like you’re ignoring the person who sent you the message. It is a great option to have so you can reply to the message in your own time. There are all sorts of organisational tools for the Facebook messenger app too.
You also have the ability to find out which of your friends (or phone contacts) are using the messaging app and who is online. To do this on the app you simply: • Tab along the bottom to “People” • Select “All” or “Active” • Those who use messenger will have a blue circle with an electric bolt sign • All those who are currently online will have an extra green circle on the far right On the messaging site: • There is a search bar at the top left hand side of the page • As you click in it a list of your messenger contacts will appear • Search away and start chatting
The messenger app also allows you to make voice and video calls, as long as you are connected to WiFi. On the app you will find this as the second option along on the bottom tabs. When you select the call tab you will be given a list of your recent calls and the option to search through your contacts. Once you have selected a contact you can now choose whether to voice, or video call. Oh, and the call is free, but can only be made if the other person has their phone number registered with Facebook. It’s an easy way for Facebook to tap into the phone business and is, for now, the closest thing we’re going to get to a Facebook phone.
Customize Your App
Once you’ve gotten to grips with using the messenger app you can pretty much customise it as much, or as little, as you want. On both the app and the website you can alter your settings by selecting the small gear icon. It will be on the bottom right of the app screen and the top left on the site. Through this section you can: • Change your number • View your Facebook profile • Mute your notifications • Show/hide previews to messages • Personalise your notifications • Sync your contacts • Invite people who don’t have messenger • Block someone who is bothering you • View message requests • Choose how messenger deals with photos and media • Report a problem • Get support • Read the privacy and T&C’s It’s a pretty long list, but that’s why the app is so great. You can chop and choose how you use the app. If you’re using the app for business it’s awesome because you can be notified at all times, or not at all when you’re super busy. Mute notifications for certain conversations and not for others. You can have group conversations to keep on top of what your team is up to, and choose who is able to contact you. It’s completely up to you.
Access to Your Phone
Despite the greatness of the app it did recently get a bit of bad press with an update to its terms and conditions. So let’s clear that up. There were claims made that by agreeing to the new conditions of the app Facebook would have constant access to your microphone and camera. Obviously this was concerning for you as a user. However, this is completely false.
How Facebook Uses Your Phone
In the same way lots of other apps request to have access to certain areas of your phone, Facebook do the same with your microphone and camera. They ask your permission to use these areas of your phone for ease of use. There are certain times when Facebook will need to access your microphone (for video/voice calls) and camera (to share photos). Rest assured that these are only used when you need to use them.
Why You Need the App
Facebook want to provide you the best service possible and to do that it is better for them to have the messenger app as a separate entity to Facebook. They claim people typically respond 20% quicker through the messenger app and in all honesty it is great to be able to use the app for communication without the distraction of your newsfeed.
Why Messenger is Good for You
As great as the app is for personal use it can actually be a great tool for your business. Here’s a cool info graphic for you: 800 million people, each month! That’s crazy. And it means that there will be a huge number of people out there wanting to contact your business directly. If you have a business page on Facebook the messenger app can be connected to this, giving you the ability to have a direct dialogue with customers. So whether you’re wanting to connect on a personal, or business level, Facebook messenger is providing much more than a chatting platform. They’re adapting their product to give you the best user experience possible. And a better connection means you’ll be doing better business.