It’s Facebook Friday — each week we’ll offer one tip for leveraging Facebook to increase customer awareness of and engagement with your brand or business. This week we’ll take a look at how the addition of Messages functionality to Facebook Pages creates new opportunities for building an audience for your brand and marketing your products and services.

Back in December of last year, Facebook began testing Pages integration of the kinds of private Messages that individuals with personal profiles can send one another. The test was apparently successful, because the social network deployed the new feature to everyone along with the rollout of the Timeline for Facebook Pages.

Now that you’ve switched your Facebook Page to Timeline, you can use this feature as much as you want. It’s located in the Admin Panel at the top of your Page when you’re logged into an account that has administrative access.

Communicating With Fans

The first and most obvious usage of this new feature is to communicate privately with fans. Previously, they couldn’t message you and you couldn’t message them except in the public comments on the Facebook Page, or by referring to another channel besides the social network.

This relatively new feature enables you to follow up on contest offers, negotiate with problem users, address complaints, and privately thank people for behavior that helps the brand’s presence on Facebook. And when fans have complaints, they may send private messages instead of public comments or Timeline posts to complain — making damage control much easier for you.

Coordinating With Other Pages

There’s one more powerful method for using Messages for promotion that you might not have considered. When you have something that might be of interest to the audiences of other Pages, you can Message them directly and suggest cross-promotions.

For example, let’s say you did an exclusive interview and promotion with a celebrity who would be of interest to fans of all the movies she’s been in. You can Message the administrators of her Page as well as the Pages for her individual movies, suggesting they all promote it. It might be a longshot, but that promotion could multiply the audience that’s exposed to your brand many times over.

Just be sure and Like those other Pages as we’ve discussed in previous columns; it’s a show of good faith and a way to make sure you’re on their radar.

Was this tip helpful? Do you have any more ideas for getting the most out of Facebook? Let us know in the comments!