Have you ever tried contacting whoever is running a Facebook fanpage only to realize that the only way to do so is to post your message on the page’s wall? Private messaging is conspicuously absent when it comes to fanpages, so it’s either you broadcast your question to the world and expose yourself or just keep quiet and look for other ways to contact the page admin. .
Thankfully, Facebook has remedied this dilemma by adding the Private Messaging feature. It’s a relatively simple update, but a very powerful one. First and foremost, it gives marketers a way to connect with customers and vise versa. However, it should be noted that the page administrators cannot use this feature to initiate the contact. As such, marketers cannot use their fanpage to send out spam messages.
The real strength of the feature lies in its ability to give Facebook users a chance to ask questions privately and not publicly as would have been previously required. For example, let’s say you’re going on a vacation and you want to ask your travel agency some questions through their fanpage. Currently, the only way to do it would be to post on their wall. You’re still going to get a response if the administrator is mindful of the updates on his page. However, it would have been better if you could have asked your question privately. First and foremost, it’s safer that way. It’s unnecessary for complete strangers to know that you’re planning on traveling and posting on the fanpage’s wall does exactly that. This problem is especially compounded by the fact that Google’s search engine now crawls content from comments such as those on fanpages.
The only downside here is that page administrators could face quite a bit of trouble concerning some unruly users. After all, you don’t have to ‘like’ the page in order to send it a message. One look at a typically popular fanpage and you’re bound to see some callous comments, how much more callous could the comments get if they’re made private?
Still, the benefits of having such a nifty feature far outweigh the disadvantages. The only thing that’s really surprising is how long Facebook took to actually implement this.