50 Million Small Businesses Using Facebook Pages; New Communications Tools Launched

By David Cohen Comment


Facebook announced Tuesday that more than 50 million small businesses are using pages, and the social network rolled out some new communications tools for those pages.

The social network announced a host of new communications tools for pages in a Facebook for Business post, including:

  • The ability to set the average time it takes page administrators to respond to messages to “within minutes,” “within an hour,” “within hours” or “within a day.”
  • The addition of page response times to Messenger threads.
  • An away messaging status that allows page admins to designate when they are not available to respond to messages, with those designated times not counting against their response times. This feature was first spotted in August, by OneCommand social community specialist Chris Ruberg.
  • Away messages and instant replies, which join the saved replies feature Facebook introduced earlier this year.
  • A redesigned inbox that provides more context on users who are messaging pages. This feature was spotted last month by SocialTimes reader Marco Alonso.
  • A new tool under the activity tab that allows pate admins to more effectively keep track of comments on their pages.

More details on the new features follow, from the Facebook for Business post:

We’ve also created a new messaging status called “away” that allows admins to designate when they are unavailable to respond to messages. A page’s away status is visible on their page, so people know the page is unavailable to respond. For instance, if a page turns off messaging at night, people will see that the page is not responding to messages at that time and know not to expect a response right away. When this new feature is enabled, messages the page receives do not count toward the page’s response rate.

Similar to our saved replies feature that launched earlier this year, page admins can now also set away messages and instant replies. Away messages are replies to messages sent automatically when a page is set to away, and they can be used to inform people about when to expect a response or where to find other information. Instant replies are messages sent automatically to people who message the page for the first time. Businesses can use instant replies to automatically respond to incoming messages immediately, whether they say hello, thank the person for reaching out or offer them information that may help them before the business gets in touch.

We’ve also redesigned the pages inbox to be easier to use, provide more context on the people businesses message with and deliver messages in real-time. These changes help page admins keep up with messages faster and manage conversations more easily.

Now when page admins message with people, they’ll see past interactions the person has had with the page, as well as information the person shares publicly on their profile, like their current city. Admins can also add notes about the person, like current orders, past customer-service preferences or any other relevant information. Admins can also add tags to categorize conversations and make them easier to find and respond to later. Notes and tags are visible to page admins only and, especially for pages with more than one admin, empower pages to communicate with customers in a personalized and seamless way.


To help page admins keep track of comments on their page, we built a tool under the new activity tab that helps admins monitor and respond to comments on their page. This new tool offers admins a single place to view and respond to customer comments on both desktop and mobile. Admins can flag interactions for follow up, reply privately or mark them as done, helping them keep better track of comments in need of responses and eliminating the risk of skipping over a customer comment.

And, just like in the messages inbox, profile information from the people leaving comments on the page is shown in the comment management tool to give admins context about the people interacting with them on their page.


Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said in a Facebook post (embedded below):

There are now more than 50 million small businesses using Facebook pages to connect with their customers.

Pages are increasingly the mobile solution for businesses all over the world because they are the best way for businesses to reach customers where they are—on mobile. Pages make it easy for businesses and people to talk directly; every month, there are 2.5 billion comments on pages, and the number of people messaging businesses on Facebook has doubled over the last year.

Small businesses create jobs and drive growth in every economy, so when they succeed, everyone wins. We’re thrilled to be helping 50 million entrepreneurs reach their customers and grow their businesses.

And Facebook product manager for pages Michael Sharon said in an email to SocialTimes:

People can contact businesses anytime and from any device, so we’re offering new tools for pages to better manage their customer interactions. Now it’s easier than ever for pages to address both the public comments and private messages that people send them, in order to build and maintain strong relationships and grow their business.

Readers: What do you think of the new communications tools for pages?