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Why and how businesses are using Facebook Messenger

You may have noticed a number of changes to Facebook as of late. One that has stood out to me is the messenger popup that appears when you land on some brand's pages on a desktop computer.

For a while now, many of the world's marketing thought leaders have been anticipating that marketing on messaging apps will be the next big trend. As Facebook is always anticipating the future, they’re making this trend a reality.

THE RISE OF MESSAGING APPS

You’ve read this many times if you follow our blog with any regularity, mobile use is on the rise and has become the most used form of internet browsing.

During the rise of mobile browsing many companies chose to build apps to provide a better experience for their customers. Though as mobile browsing experiences (your websites!) have gotten more sophisticated, app downloads and the overall app industry have declined.

Messaging apps have not had that same experience. In fact, studies show that people spend more time in their messaging apps than any other app or experience on their phone.

Messaging apps surpassed social media networks in active users as early as 2015 and the gap continues to widen.

THE POPULARITY OF FACEBOOK MESSENGER

Facebook Messenger is perhaps the most important messaging app for marketers. Consider that there are 183 million active daily users in the US and Canada and that 2.4 billion messages are sent monthly between business and customers on Facebook.

These staggering numbers shouldn’t feel that way, though. After all, we use these messaging apps to communicate with our friends and family everyday, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this behaviour is being replicated in our communication choices with businesses.

In a recent study, Nielsen discovered that 56% of people would rather message than call customer service and that 53% of consumers like to shop with businesses they can message. (source)

This is why it is essential that businesses need to evolve their communication outlets to include messaging apps.

FACEBOOK MESSENGER AS A COMMUNICATION CHANNEL

Facebook Messenger as a marketing and communications channel should and so far is being used differently than say your Facebook News Feed. The power of Messenger is it’s ability to deliver a customer service focus with less disruption and more problem solving.

Facebook sells Messenger as an outlet for businesses to “make suggestions, encourage purchases and offer support”

Early adopters of Messenger have used it to book appointments (Sephora), provide event schedules and updates (HubSpot) and create fun interactive experiences for fans (Tommy Hilfiger). In order to facilitate these experiences and communicate immediately with users, these companies are using bots.

HOW MARKETERS ARE USING MESSENGER

There are a couple use cases that I think are important to point out for businesses looking to start using Messenger.

Lead Generation

Many businesses have started linking their Facebook ads to Messenger instead of sending them away from the platform to a landing page. There are many benefits to this strategy including re-engagement and no forms.

To start, the re-engagement strategy goes much further than what Facebook's pixel is capable of. Once you have started a chat with a lead you have them in that chat for 24 hours. This gives you 24 hours to remind them to convert with you.

The lack of forms is also a huge bonus of Messenger. Let's face it people still wrestle with filling out forms, especially on forms. Through Messenger you an just ask them a few questions and get their contact info in an instant.

Customer Service

Many companies are notorious for providing terrible customer service and support experiences. This is where Messenger can support your business, the app allows your customers to connect quickly with your company to get the information they need.

This doesn’t have to be handled by a human, instead a Chatbot that is programmed with prebuilt answers to your companies most common frequently asked questions and concerns. If the problem grows larger than the Chatbot can handle it can simply be passed on to a support personnel.

The bonus of this functionality for customers is that they can bring their support ticket without the need to log off or out.

HOW TO GET STARTED 

Turn on Messenger and set up your Response Assistant

Create an instant reply
Create saved replies (this is a manual function but will save you time)
Personalize your messages

Engage a bot service or have a developer build a bot for you
Talk to a member of the H&C team, we'll help get you setup

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you are going to start using Facebook Messenger for lead generation and customer service without a bot, you need to have a dedicated person in your office. Messenger users expect an immediate response from businesses, that is why Chatbots are worth the investment (plus they cost less an hour than your employee).

This channel is still new to both businesses and consumers but it is growing. Get ahead of the curve now and start testing for yourselves.

Alex Blackadder

AUTHOR: Alex Blackadder

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