One way to get more communication from potential patients is to give them more ways to communicate with you. Facebook wants to help. Part of that effort is a free Messenger box feature for business pages. The Messenger box pops up like a chat box when people visit Facebook business pages, but not every business page. Facebook is being selective about which pages get this feature. For some agencies / practices, this feature can help get a few extra patients by prompting communication that might not otherwise have occurred. From the business's perspective it works like email or the contact us form on your website. From the end user's perspective, the conversation moves to the Facebook Messenger app on their phones. You even have the option of pre-programming questions for users to select in the Messenger box pop up (for example: Can I get a free in-home assessment? How quickly can you respond to referrals? Should I ask my doctor about this first? Do I have the freedom to choose any agency I want?).

Want to get this feature working for you? It is usually defaulted as active on most pages, but let's check to be sure. A person who is an admin on the Facebook page will see a "Settings" option in the white bar at the top of the page. In Settings, in the left menu, click the second option from the top, "Messaging." In Messaging, ensure that "Prompt People to Send Messages" is on. 

However, it takes more than just turning that box on. Facebook only prompts users to contact you using the chat box if they feel like your page will be responsive. As a page admin, you can see your responsiveness rating on the business page itself. They usually display the responsiveness rating in the admin info box in the left column. If your responsiveness rating is 0%, Facebook won't show the chat box to people visiting your page. Let's practice responding to messages on Facebook while boosting that rating at the same time. Have employees who are not admins on the page send messages to the page using the "send message" button. Have an admin login as the page and reply promptly. Do this a few times and watch your responsiveness rating rise. 

Additionally, Facebook is more likely to prompt its users to contact you if one of your page admins is active in Facebook simultaneously. Appoint a person or desktop station to stay logged into Facebook. Also make sure that you get notifications in the way that will get your attention – be that email, mobile push notifications, or text messages. This responsiveness will not only influence Facebook to persuade users to contact you; it will also improve close ratios with prospective patients.