For almost a month, page administrators have been able to communicate with fans privately by enabling direct messaging in timeline. However, 21 of the 100 largest brand pages have yet to allow this.

A closer look reveals industry-specific patterns:

  • Restaurant chains and fashion designers are most interested in hearing from their customers via Facebook private messages.
  • Automakers, retailers, cable and telecommunications providers are the least receptive to accepting private messages.

In an assessment of 10 of our largest clients’ Facebook pages:

  • Brands are receiving an average of 2.2 private messages per day for every 100,000 people who have liked a page. Television shows receive a higher-than-average volume of private messages, peaking on the day after a new episode airs.
  • Consumers send fewer private messages to retailers, but the questions that come in require greater action or specific details. Incoming messages often cover more personal subjects such as “is your new product gluten free?”
  • From our early observations, most brands will benefit from accepting private messages, since they elicit a response from customers who otherwise may have refrained from contacting the brand.

To take advantage of this new capability, brands need a well-qualified response team and established escalation process in place before inviting fans to communicate via private messages.

Consumers are catching on quickly and may soon begin to favor brands that put the effort in to accept private messages. Don’t you agree, readers? Take a look at the infographic below and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Guest writer Jeff Taylor is an associate strategist at New Media Strategies.