Tech Watch: a look at some of Facebook’s recent updates

According to Facebook, 900 million people are using Messenger every month and over one billion of the messages sent are between businesses and customers. With numbers like this, it is important for New Zealand businesses to get amongst it – but how?

Thompson suggests using codes and usernames, two of Facebook’s latest updates to the Messenger app.

Message Codes are an adaptation of the profile picture to make a scannable code. In the same way people add friends on Snapchat, in the Messenger app users can scan the code with the phone’s camera to open up a message thread with the business.

Thompson refers to them as an “updated, much cooler QR code”.

These codes can be added into ads, websites and other marketing channels to prompt people to reach out. Thompson also points out that they can be downloaded and printed to put anywhere a business wants to encourage people to get in touch.

“You can actually download a print resolution version by going to business manager/messages and clicking on the new circle-shaped Messenger Code.”

Also helping people to make contact with businesses is the new username feature, which will soon be rolled out across Facebook profiles. Users, including businesses, will have a unique username to help people find them on Facebook and Messenger. For businesses with a relatively common name, Thompson says this will be a useful tool.

Although she says these new features are designed to make it as easy as possible for businesses and communities to talk, she says smaller businesses can’t be expected to be online all the time – a problem, Facebook has an answer for.

Soon businesses will be able to use Messenger Greetings to welcome the person reaching out and set the tone. Thompson says this feature can also be used to set up automatic “I’m away” replies, and can be useful for businesses who get a lot of the same queries coming through.

These new features are just the beginning for brands looking to take advantage of the masses using Facebook Messenger. Thompson says later this year Facebook is apparently introducing advertising to the app, so she suggests marketers wanting to take full advantage of the opportunities look at how people are using the Asian platforms WeChat and Line. Both have already incorporated advertising into the app.

For businesses looking to make Messenger a form of communication with customers, Thompson suggests considering the following:

– Are there any situations where you’d want your customers to private Facebook message you instead of calling you? Incorporating the codes at key touch-points could possibly save you time and dollars your call centre.

– Don’t restrict yourself to pain points – although it’s great to get public reviews, private, nice feedback is just as valuable and will reduce churn and build brand loyalty.

– As people find it easier to message brands directly through Facebook, you may want to think more about increasing your Facebook focused customer engagement and service team.

  • Wendy Thompson is the founder and managing director of Socialites, a full-service social media agency.


  • Tech Watch will look at a new tech update every Wednesday.
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