Current events have forced businesses large and small to embrace video meetings as a way of life. Once reserved for those needing to connect with offsite employees, video meetings are now being used as a replacement for face-to-face meetings, even when people are in the same building. They’re being used for sales calls, product presentations, marketing meetings, and so much more. Until recently, there were only a few options for video chats, and many had limitations on how many people you can add or required pay to play to access all the useful features. Then Facebook Messenger Rooms were introduced and changed the game. Here is everything you need to know about Facebook Messenger Rooms.

What are Facebook Messenger Rooms?

video callMessenger Rooms is a video chat room where you can use link sharing to connect to more people. Depending on your room settings, participants won’t need to download, log in to or connect on Messenger to join your call; a challenge many participants new to video chatting had with other platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meet or Go to Meeting. It is Facebook’s product offering to compete against these go-to video chat options. It offers some excellent features for small businesses who need communication options but has limited funds to invest in paid platforms. Here are a few quick facts that small business owners find especially intriguing. It is free. You can create a video chat room via Facebook or the Messenger app and invite up to 50 people to join a video call — even if they do not have a Facebook account. There are no time limits on calls.

How to create a Messenger Room on Facebook

You can create a Messenger Room from your phone or your computer. To create a room from your phone, make sure you have the latest version of Facebook and Messenger mobile apps, then follow these steps:

  1. Open the Messenger app.
  2. Tap the People tab at the bottom right of the screen.
  3. Tap Create a Room and select the people you want to join.
  4. To share a room with people who do not have a Facebook account, you can share the link with them. You can also share the room in your News Feed, Groups, and Events on Facebook.

You can join a room from your phone or computer. What is nice is that you do not need to download anything! Other platforms require a download, which some find to be a security concern.

How do Facebook’s Messenger Rooms compare to other video chat options?

One of the most significant selling points of Messenger Rooms is the unlimited time feature. Other platforms either time out after a certain amount of time on free versions, or you must pay for longer calls. If you are looking for a video chat with more than 50 people, Messenger Rooms taps out at 50 people, so if you are planning on huge meetings, you might have to look elsewhere. However, most people are not looking for an interactive video meeting with 50 or more people, so this is not such an issue for most small business owners. If you’re shopping around, Mashable did a good comparison article between Zoom, Google Meet, and Messenger Rooms. For a quick snapshot, here are Messenger Rooms features:

  • Supports up to 50 users in a single call.
  • It allows you to invite users even if they are not your Facebook friends.
  • No time limit on calls.
  • Abilities that allow you to modify your on-screen look.
  • Filters for fun visual effects.
  • The ability to share room availability with friends/colleagues, so they always know when you are available.
  • 360-degree backgrounds.
  • Custom room lighting features to help brighten up a dark feed or customize a room’s lighting color.

Security and video chat apps

securityMessenger Rooms hasn’t escaped the security concerns many people have voiced about video chat apps such as Zoom. Facebook has built-in some ability to protect the security of users, including locking calls (rooms), the ability to remove a participant, reporting issues, and blocking users. Privacy, like most platforms, is another issue. Facebook itself states, “As with other parts of Facebook, we collect data from Rooms regardless of whether you joined through one of our apps or without logging into an account.” If data mining is a concern, Messenger Rooms (and most other platforms) may not be for you. You can read Facebook’s entire statement on their privacy in Messenger Rooms here.

What is the best video chat choice for small businesses?

There really is no clear winner when it comes to video chat. Many small business owners are opting for Messenger Rooms for its simplicity but may find the more advanced (paid) features one that they need down the road. The best way to determine what is best for your company is to test them out and compare them. Messenger Rooms might be just what you need!

Patty Hughes
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