How to Optimize Facebook Messenger for Business

With more than 1.3 billion users, Facebook Messenger is the second most popular messaging app in the world. So even though your business might not be using Messenger, there’s a good chance your customers are and your competitors soon will be.

But it’s not just customers that benefit from mobile messaging, it’s also good for your business. According to research, millennials are twice as likely to be loyal to businesses that communicate via text message. Facebook Messenger, for example, allows you to automate repetitive tasks like scheduling appointment reminders and sending custom follow-up messages.

*Note: Before you can start using Messenger you must create a Facebook Business Page. Once your Business Page is set up, you’re ready to install Messenger.

How to install Facebook Messenger

Messenger is turned off on your Facebook Page by default, so before you can get started, you need to turn it on. To turn on Messenger for your business page:

  1. Find the Settings tab on your Facebook Page
  2. Click Messages from the left-hand navigation
  3. Toggle on the Prompt Visitors to Send Messages button

You should now see the Send Message button appear next to your blue primary call-to-action just below your cover photo.

Facebook Settings changing on Messaging.

Technically, this is all you need to do to turn on Messenger, but you should also consider downloading the Messenger app to your smartphone so you can communicate with and reply to customers when you’re not using a desktop, or laptop computer. Now that Messenger is installed, you can start customizing Messenger for your business.


What is Response Assistant?

Response Assistant is a set of messaging options to help you automate repetitive communication with customers on Facebook. Response Assistant features are found at the bottom of the Messaging Settings tab. At first glance, it might seem that some of these options look very similar, but once you spend some time using them, it’s easy to see the value of each one.

Instant Replies

Facebook setting up instant reply.

What are Instant Replies?

Instant Replies are automated greetings that tell customers when to expect a response from you. Since you can’t monitor Messenger 24/7, Instant Replies are an easy way to still respond even if you’re not near your smartphone or computer.

How to set up Instant Replies

To get started, toggle Instant Replies on. Once turned on, you’ll see the generic Instant Reply message in blue and you’ll have the option to customize it.


Response Time

Facebook response time screenshot.

What is Response Time?

As long as you’re active on Facebook, you can display text telling customers exactly how quickly to expect a response from you. Facebook requires that you visit your Page at least once a week and respond to 90% of messages for response time to display on your Page.

How to set up Response Time

Response Time shows up automatically on your Page once you’ve reached the “active” threshold of responding to 90% of messages and visiting your Page weekly. For very active users, Messenger will actually let you select which text to display on your Page. Alternatively, you can ask Facebook to automatically determine which text displays based on your average response time. If you’re “very responsive” to messages, defined by Facebook as responding to 90% of messages within 15 minutes, you can even unlock the “Very responsive to messages” badge.


Greeting Text

Facebook turning on greeting text.

What is Greeting Text?

This text shows up in your customer’s Messenger app as soon as they initiate a conversation with your Page. You can use this feature to inform your customers about services you offer through Facebook Messenger, such as live customer support or appointment scheduling. You will need to turn both Instant Replies and Greeting Text on separately.

How to set up Greeting Text

You can access Greeting Text from the Messaging tab of your Facebook Business Page. Go to Settings, then Messaging. Both Instant Replies and Greeting Text have a toggle that must be checked in order to activate the features and customize your messages.

What’s the difference between Greeting Text and Instant Replies?

Greeting Text and Instant Replies are both automated responses created by Facebook Messenger’s Response Assistant. The difference is that the Greeting Text is just the first message someone will see when they initiate a conversation with you on Messenger. In contrast, Instant Replies are like an away message that is only sent when you’re offline.



Facebook messenger reminders toggle.

What are Reminders?

Reminders help you automatically notify customers of upcoming appointments. Once you’ve turned reminders on, you can create a custom reminder message or add dynamic messages based on certain user attributes like name, URL, phone number, or email address. Reminders are perfect for service-based businesses like salons, auto repair services, or medical professionals.

How to set up Reminders

To start using Reminders, toggle them on from the Messaging tab in the Settings menu. Once turned on, you’ll see an option to edit the generic reminder message. By default, reminders are sent out 24 hours before an appointment.


Follow-up Messages

Facebook follow-up settings page.

What are Follow-up Messages?

Follow-up Messages allow you to send custom messages at a predetermined number of days after a customer’s visit. Just like Reminders, Follow-up Messages allow you to customize the message based on user attributes like name, number, and email address.

How to set up Follow-up Messages

To enable, scroll to the bottom of the Messaging Settings page and toggle on Follow-up Messages. You’ll see the scheduled follow-up message and when it will be sent. If you’d like to edit either of these settings, select the Change button and make your edits.

For many local businesses, Facebook Messenger is just one piece of a much larger communication puzzle that includes an ever-increasing number of channels. The Podium Messaging Platform simplifies text, webchat, Messenger and more into a single unified inbox for seamless customer communication. In the end, setting up Facebook Messenger or similar tools for your business is not all that complicated and can quickly pay dividends for your team and your time.

Nico Dato
Nico Dato Executive Vice President of Marketing

Nico Dato is the EVP of Marketing at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers. He fuses his passion for statistics, design, and digital marketing to produce measurable results.

Adapt the way you do business. Press send.