Facebook is finally starting to integrate Instagram with its flagship platform. Until now the popular photo-sharing app has remained independent from its parent company (if you don’t count the fact that you need a Facebook account to activate your Instagram profile, and its cross-sharing features), but that’s all about to change — for businesses at least.
The social network announced on Tuesday that it is updating its Pages Manager mobile app with a new, unified inbox that lets page admins access their Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger interactions in one place. The new feature lets you reply to Facebook comments, visitor posts, reviews, messages and Instagram comments directly from the inbox by tapping on the content you want to answer.
In order to get started, all you have to do is connect your Facebook and Instagram accounts by tapping on the messaging icon at the bottom of your Page within the app. You’ll then be navigated to the Instagram tab where you’ll be prompted to enter your log-in details. If your accounts are already connected via Instagram adverts, you’ll receive the update automatically.
Page admins will also be able to see their customers’ publicly available Instagram and Facebook profiles by tapping the person’s name. Additionally, you can view your previous interactions with the selected user, and assign them a label to indicate how frequently they interact with you (such as “important” and “regular customer”).
The unified inbox essentially allows a business to streamline the messaging process for several of its social platforms. Facebook still isn’t offering the ability to post actual photos or videos to Instagram from its apps, but at least you can rest assured that you won’t miss another important message.
The update is aimed at small- to medium-sized businesses that may not have the resources in place to run large-scale social media strategies. Think of it as a stripped-down version of a social media management tool, such as Hootsuite. And, in theory, customers will have more of a chance of receiving a quick response to their inquiry no matter which Facebook-owned app they prefer to use. Considering Facebook’s other messaging giant WhatsApp recently announced it will begin integrating businesses later this year, we may well see another addition to the unified inbox soon.
Facebook is rolling out the update over the coming weeks, and claims it will soon be available on other devices. The company said the following in a blog post: “We’re committed to equipping businesses with the tools to have friendly, fluid conversations with people, and we want to help you save time by making that process simple and easy. We think that the updated inbox is bringing us closer to that goal.”
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