What Does "PM" Mean on Facebook? A Comprehensive Guide for Small Business Owners

With over 2.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a powerful platform for connecting with customers and promoting your small business. One of the most useful features on Facebook for entrepreneurs is private messaging, commonly referred to as "PM."

As a small business consultant who assists entrepreneurs with social media marketing, I‘ve seen private messaging used effectively to boost brand awareness, sales, and customer loyalty. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll explain everything small business owners need to know about Facebook PMs.

An Overview of Facebook Private Messaging

PM stands for "Private Message" and it allows you to send one-on-one, direct messages to other users on Facebook. These messages do not appear publicly on your timeline or newsfeed. Only you and the recipient can view the contents of your PMs.

According to Facebook, over 65 billion messages are sent via PMs each day. PMs drive high levels of engagement compared to public posts.

My clients often use PMs to:

  • Directly communicate with customers about orders, shipping, returns, etc.
  • Share exclusive promotions and deals not available publicly
  • Provide personalized recommendations and styling advice
  • Answer customer service questions discreetly

PMs allow small businesses to provide VIP treatment to their customers. The private, personal nature of messaging fosters loyalty and trust.

Crafting Effective PMs for Your Business

Based on my experience, here are some tips for small business owners on creating engaging PMs:

  • Be selective: Only message people who have clearly shown interest in your brand to avoid coming across as spammy.
  • Personalize your message: Use their name, purchase history, and other details to show you customized the PM.
  • Add value: Provide exclusive deals, useful info, or other incentives to motivate customers to engage.
  • Use multimedia: Incorporate photos, videos, GIFs, and links to create visually appealing messages.
  • Find the right tone: Be casual but professional. Use emojis and internet slang sparingly.
  • Prompt responses: Check messages regularly and respond swiftly to questions and concerns.
  • Fix mistakes: If you send any incorrect info or off-tone messages, politely apologize and remedy the situation.

PM Etiquette to Win Customers

While PMs create opportunities to strengthen customer relationships, they also carry risks. With the intimacy of one-on-one messaging, etiquette is crucial. Here are some common PM faux pas to avoid:

  • Pestering customers: Don‘t bombard people with constant, unwelcome messages. Take the hint if someone is not responding.
  • Using overly casual language: Balance friendliness with professionalism in your messages.
  • Talking about inappropriate topics: Keep the conversation focused on your business. Don‘t overshare personal details.
  • Making sales pitches out of context: Don‘t message random people with sales offers if they haven‘t shown interest.
  • Sharing private info publicly: Any sensitive details sent via PM should stay between you and the customer.

With messaging, a little mistake can lead to a customer service catastrophe. Make sure all staff are trained on proper PM etiquette.

Optimizing Your Facebook PM Settings

Take advantage of Facebook‘s PM privacy controls. In your settings:

  • Limit who can message you: Choose to receive PMs from "friends only" or tighter groups.
  • Turn off read receipts: Disable read receipts if you don‘t want people to see when you‘ve read their messages.
  • Block unwanted PMs: Pre-emptively block any inappropriate or disruptive message senders.
  • Use filtering tools: Messages from non-friends go to your "message requests" folder. Review them before accepting a conversation.
  • Secure your account: Enable two-factor authentication and log out on shared devices.

While Facebook has strong privacy settings for PMs, no messages are 100% secure. Avoid sending highly confidential data like credit card numbers. For transactions, point customers to your e-commerce site.

How PMs Can Grow Your Business

Used strategically, private messaging gives small businesses a chance to foster deeper connections with customers. Here are some growth opportunities:

  • Increase sales: Send special promotional codes and discounts through PMs to incentivize purchases.
  • Improve retention: Addressing issues swiftly via PMs improves customer satisfaction.
  • Drive referrals: Happy customers who‘ve had positive messaging experiences are more likely to recommend your business.
  • Gather feedback: Ask customers direct questions about their shopping experience and product needs.
  • Build anticipation: Use PMs to give sneak peeks of upcoming products and announce sales.

Savvy entrepreneurs recognize the power of one-to-one communication. Personalized interactions over PMs lead to lasting relationships.

For example, Jamie Smith, owner of The Naked Frame Gallery, told me: "Facebook messaging has allowed me to form friendships with customers from all over the world. The majority of my sales come via PMs now."

With the right approach, your small business can benefit tremendously from Facebook messaging. Just remember to always prioritize value, respect, and discretion when private messaging customers.