Adding the Facebook Channel to Reply Now
In our previous post we described why we decided to develop Reply Now – all in one social messaging system for businesses to communicate with their customers. We plan to have all popular social networks and messengers in Reply now, including email accounts, Viber, Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, SMS and more.
For now we have already set up integration with Facebook and Viber. This was not an easy journey as each platforms has own requirements and limitations.
Facebook was the platform we decided to start with. Facebook offers businesses to create an official company page in order to post news, increase customer engagement, grow business and reach more than 2 billion Facebook users. People can contact a Facebook page using Facebook messenger.
Facebook has a REST API that lets you send and receive messages. To do this, you must create a Facebook application on the Facebook Developer Portal. This is quite easy and costs nothing. By default Facebook only grants you basic permissions to access the person’s email address, name and profile picture.
However, we needed deeper permissions – manage pages to be able to connect a Facebook page to Reply Now, and read page mail boxes in order to get the list of messages and be able to reply to them in our interface. Obtaining these permissions requires to pass the application review process from two sides.
First, you must show how you will use the application (we provided a step by step instruction to Facebook testers on what exactly Reply Now does, together with login credentials). Second, Facebook wants to verify your business and make sure you are a company. This includes submitting company documents for review.
The review process took took two months for us to approve the application by Facebook. We did several resubmissions, clarifications and edits to comply with Facebook rules. After all, we are happy to receive the final approval from Facebook for Reply Now.
Stay tuned for our updates. In the next article we will describe how we connected Viber as the second communication channel for the Reply Now social messaging platform.