Imagine buying a bouquet of flowers for your girlfriend via Facebook Messenger. You don’t have to imagine it; you can do it with some recent updates from the king of social media.

Facebook, which has reigned supreme for some time among other social networking apps, recognizes the future of business and advertising in direct messaging.

As Facebook continues to age, so do its users. Nearly half of all Facebook users are friends with their parents.

Meanwhile, young millennials are turning to alternative apps, such as Snapchat, for conversing with friends. At least 60 percent of U.S. citizens ages 13 to 34 are living in the moment on Snapchat, which places an emphasis on messaging and story-building.

In an effort to regain some of that audience and stay relevant, the social giant released features last week to place a greater focus on its Facebook Messenger app.

Usernames

In coming weeks, businesses will start to notice usernames on their profiles, directly under business names. The username will look much like a Twitter handle, with the @ symbol in front of your business name. So, for example, @GavinAdvertising will be Gavin’s Facebook username.

Usernames will help customers to find your business directly on the Facebook Messenger app.

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Short links and codes

If customers want to message your business on a desktop or laptop, they can now do so directly by using the abbreviated link: m.me/username (m.me/gavinadvertising for Gavin). Bonus: Customers won’t get distracted by doggies and babies in their news feeds, and forget to message you.

Facebook has also created codes (similar to Snapchat) that smartphone users may take a photo of, then start a conversation with your business via Messenger.

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To access your business’s custom code, log into your business manager account on Facebook.com, select the “Messages” tab, then click the “Messenger Code” button to download your business’s code. Use it as your profile image on Facebook, share it on other social media platforms and even use it on printed marketing materials to direct traffic to the conversation.

Bots

Facebook went a step further than simply communication between businesses and customers. The social media king created a way for customers to make transactions via an automated conversation.

Developers are welcomed to create the bots and submit them for Facebook’s review.

Want an example of what your business can do on Facebook Messenger? Head to m.me/1800flowers. A bot will walk you through the entire process to purchase a bouquet. Meet the future of online shopping.