The way Facebook balances content and advertising is one of the reasons the platform has been able to endure for so long. A good example of this can be seen with the rules for text in images. By limiting ad images to 20 percent text, it prevents users from having their experience interrupted by jarring advertisements. These restrictions creates challenges for business owners who want to use Facebook in more direct ways. For business owners and marketers who want speak more directly with people through Facebook Messenger, Facebook has a message subscription service that is worth considering.
A common complaint among Facebook marketers is that a business page can’t send a message to someone without them sending one first. It’s still in the beta stages, but Facebook’s Subscription Message service lets page owners send out certain kinds of messages through Facebook Messenger. It’s a good way to interact with a target audience and encourage the kind of engagement that could be used for lead generation.
Like the amount of text in images, Facebook has several rules in place that are designed to prevent the subscription service from being abused or that would make it annoying for people on Messenger. Like email marketing, in order for someone to receive a subscription message from a page, they have to opt-in first. A key limitation is that the subscription messaging can’t be used to send promotional materials. The content has to fall into one of three categories: News, Productivity, or Personal Tracking).
In practice, this means the subscription message service can be used to send out engaging content in the way that a newsletter or blog does. For marketers, the goal would be to send information that was informative and could invoke viewers to talk to the page about the subject. For example, a financial analyst could send out market updates to subscribers. This could lead readers to contact the business via Messenger for some specific financial advice or transaction.
While the News category is self-explanatory, Productivity and Personal Tracking are uses that may not be as obvious. Productivity refers to subscription content whose “primary purpose is to enable people to manage their personal productivity with tasks, such as managing calendar events, receiving reminders, and paying bills.” While it may sound sinister, personal trackers aren’t about invading privacy. Personal trackers are “integrations that enable people to receive and monitor information about themselves in categories such as fitness, health, wellness, and finance.”
After reviewing their policy for the beta, Facebook has announced some changes to how applications for the subscription service will be handled. The business page that will use the service needs to be approved by Facebook. During the review process, the page will be asked for several things. The page will be asked to provide a sample message and a brief description of how they plan to use subscription messaging. As was stated before, there are three eligible situations for using subscription messaging. Page owners will need to specify which case applies to their Facebook page subscription messaging plans.
The page will need to have several (at least two) examples of the kinds of subscription messages the Facebook page plans send. Finally, there is a user agreement and disclaimer, which confirms that the page will only send non-promotional content, and will abide by all Facebook Platform policies and community standards. Keep in mind that approval is not guaranteed for all pages, especially during the beta period.
Facebook Subscription Messaging can be a powerful tool for businesses that want to keep in contact with their target audience and use Facebook Messenger to generate more leads. For more recent news about Facebook, read this article on helpful changes to Facebook Collections.