How to start using Facebook Messenger to keep your brand top of mind, generate sales, and improve operations
<Guest blog by Donna Queen, Convotect>
Have you interacted with a company’s Facebook page that used automated Messenger replies?
Did it make you curious about how you could do that for your business?
I first learned about Messenger automation when I was running the corporate innovation program for the company where I work. I was doing a lot of research on, well, innovation.
One of the articles I came across discussed the value of adopting automation. To prove his point, the author, constantly faced with the repetitive task of emailing articles to people who asked about them, automated this process - using Facebook Messenger!
You read that right - Facebook Messenger. Curious, I tapped the link inviting me to subscribe.
What happened next blew my mind! This virtual “being” welcomed me - by name! It asked me a question, I tapped a button to give my answer. It acknowledged then asked a related follow-up question; I again replied. It was almost like I was interacting with a human!
And what I remember most was how Ifelt - engaged, empowered, delighted even. This was more than just reading a web page or email; THIS was an EXPERIENCE. And it’s EXACTLY how people should feel when interacting with a brand.
I wasn’t the only one having this “conversation” with this author’s Messenger. Many others were having a similar conversation at the same time. So what does all of this mean for our author? Three major benefits:
- Time. By providing his audience a self-service option he saved many hours of organizing and sending emails to those who requested his podcast.
- Immediacy. This automated option is available 24/7 which means if the night owls want his latest podcast episode at midnight, they can help themselves to their midnight snack then help themselves to the podcast. All while he’s enjoying dreamland. Studies have shown many customers expect to be engaged within ten minutes or they move on.
- Data. The author can see each engagement with his Messenger and receives valuable insights about users activities and preferences. This information can be used to further personalize follow-up.
Quick Thought From Jamie: "Bots are not meant to replace human interaction. They are meant to compliment it."
Are YOU using Messenger automation? If you are, kudos! I’d love to hear what you’re doing and how it’s helping your business. If you’re not, it’s likely because it’s still fairly new and you're just starting to learn what it is and how it can help you get results.
In fact, it was only in 2016 that Facebook announced businesses could automate the Messenger function connected to their Facebook business page. As with any new technology, it takes time for people to learn how to use it and put it to the test. Many have done that and the results have been remarkable - higher open rates than email, increases in sales, and less time spent on FAQs and other customer service inquiries, to name a few!
Part of the reason for this also has to do with changing social media algorithms, overflowing email inboxes, and other competing channels, which have made it difficult for businesses to get and keep their audience’s attention.
Messaging is easy, convenient, and more intimate and personal than other channels. That said, it’s really no surprise that the use of messaging platforms surpassed social media a few years ago. The 1.3 billion active monthly Messenger users communicate frequently with friends and family and now expect businesses to use it.
And they are! Each month there are more than 40 million businesses actively using Messenger amounting to more than 20 billion (“billion” with a “B”) messages exchanged.It’s critical to be where your people are spending their time.
Messenger use continues to grow which partly explains why more businesses are turning to Messenger automation. So much so that in just one year, the number of businesses using Messenger automation has gone from 300,000 to 500,000. The good news, in terms of differentiation, is this is still a small percentage of all Facebook business pages, making it an excellent opportunity to set your brand apart (but only if you get in on the action soon!).
So, where do you begin?
1. Consider your goals and challenges.
One of my clients receives inquiries through her company’s corporate website. The challenge is that it takes many hours for the information to arrive in her office. (As I mentioned earlier, which she truly believes, there’s a HUGE risk to losing potential customers if you don’t engage them quickly). Also, the online form on the site just doesn’t provide an excellent user experience. Using Messenger automation, she now receives inquiries in her office instantly, allowing her team to act fast. In just the first month, we reduced between 150-200 hours of delay!
In another example, a car dealership used a combination of Facebook ads and Messenger automation to find out people’s favorite vehicle and how soon they wanted to make a purchase. Those with firm favorites who were ready to buy soon are exactly who the sales team followed up with, resulting in ten times the sales for that month.
2. Take stock of what you’re currently doing.
This could include social media posts and ads, sending mailers, doing presentations, attending networking events - anywhere you are communicating about your business! You can use Messenger automation to make these activities work harder for you by using a variety of links, scan codes, and even your website to begin unique and relevant conversations with your audience.
For example, let’s say you sell saddles and you go to trade shows. Two things: 1) at your booth you can have people scan a Messenger code which immediately adds them to your Messenger list to receive information and offers from you and 2) you can use the codes with your saddles to provide your visitors with product information and the ability to mark “favorites.”Imagine that!
3. Try other chatbots for ideas and inspiration.
There are more than 500,000 pages using Messenger automation. This includes brands like Lego, Sephora, Harvard Business Review, and Tony Robbins along with numerous small businesses across all industries. Some are good; some are not so good.
The good ones anticipate the users' needs, helping them easily locate information or accomplish a task. They are also conversational, have a bit of a “personality”, and use a variety of content - text, buttons, images, gifs, and maybe even video or audio files.
4. Decide whether you’d like to do it yourself or hire someone.
Once you automate your Facebook Messenger function, the possibilities are endless for connecting and engaging your audience. However, to get the most value it should be integrated into your marketing and communications strategy and campaigns.
Messenger automation platforms such as Chatfuel and ManyChat can be configured for simple and complex builds and require zero coding skills. You can also hire someone to design, develop, and/or manage your platform and campaigns.
If you’re one of the 60 million businesses with a Facebook page, you can automate the powerful Messenger platform to keep your brand top of mind, generate sales, and improve operations.
For my readers only!
If you'd like to discuss ideas for using Messenger automation in your business or have Donna review your chatbot, she will schedule a free 30-minute call with you. Interested?
--->Just tap here to complete the request (opens in Messenger - it's her chatbot!). You can also email her directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donna is the founder and CEO of Convotect, a full-service chatbot agency helping businesses use Messenger automation to create experiences that make their brand stand out, drive sales, and increase efficiency. When she’s not building chatbots, you can find her enjoying the butterflies in her flower garden, bicycling on country backroads with her husband, and increasing her X count in shooting competitions..