If you think that Facebook is just a social media platform, think again. Based on their recent announcement at the F8 conference in San Francisco, it looks like Facebook is positioning itself to become a one-stop-shop for all things internet.
The new Facebook Messenger updates could be a major development for social B2C and B2B marketing. Messenger has gone from a chat service to a full-blown marketing platform that reaches beyond what any social channel has been able to achieve thus far.
Facebook users can opt in to receive customized messages from your brand, and automated bots make it easy to interact and do business with all of your customers individually. As Mark Zuckerberg puts it, the new Messenger is “helping people communicate more naturally with businesses.”
This could be a serious game changer. Connecting the 50 million businesses on Facebook with its nearly 1 billion users is leading to what Verge says could be “the biggest gold rush in software development since Apple opened the App Store.”
How to drive your sales & engagement with the new Messenger
Messenger has seen increasing applications as a marketing and sales tool for brands over the past year, but after the recent announcement in Silicon Valley, it sealed its “F8” as a universal business platform. So how can it help your business now?
1. Build a unique relationship with each customer
Once people opt in to communicate with your brand, you will have a direct pipeline to your audience, and you can start one-on-one conversations through Messenger.
“It’s about brands being able to further reduce the friction of serving more customers with lightweight, service-oriented interactions.” – Michael Richardson, co-founder, Urban Airship
2. Learn more about your audience
Not only can you reach customers, but you can gather emails, social pattern data and other information for your database. This allows you, with the help of automated bots, to send relevant links, custom suggestions and information tailored to each individual.
3. Make buying your products easier
People have been able to transfer money between one another on the platform for over a year. The new Messenger now allows customers to buy products and services directly.
When your customers don’t have to stop what they’re doing to make a purchase, they may be more inclined to follow through with a sale.
4. Don’t miss a single question
Automated bots respond to new messages instantly, allowing your business to be more responsive and build trust.
When you don’t have to respond manually to inquiries, it gives you more time to focus on the customers that need more personal attention.
5. Provide a quality experience
Not only can bots process and respond to a greater volume of inquiries than any team of humans, but they are also able to understand the conversational and natural semantics of customer language. High-quality bot responses will appeal to customers and make your brand more accessible.
6. Target mobile users with time- and location-based offers
The mobile-first approach streamlines the sales process even further. Brands can message users with a limited time offer, and the users the have the option to reply and buy right away. Small businesses may also be able to geotarget their customers and push customized, relevant sales opportunities.
7. Answer customers’ questions while they’re shopping
Messenger is a great place for a brand to communicate the vital information that users want and need to know before they make a purchase, much like having a personal shopper.
Using the new Messenger platform, brands can answer questions as users shop, allowing for a frictionless sales process all within one platform. This is not limited to product sales, either, as there are opportunities for virtually any business.
“Book taxis, check in for flights, play games, buy cinema tickets, manage banking, reserve doctors’ appointments, donate to charity and video-conference all without leaving…” – Wired, on possible uses for the new service
8. Go deeper than traditional customer service
Your company can field questions that users wouldn’t enter into a search engine, such as hyper-personal, local, time-sensitive inquiries about products or services. Being able to provide highly specific answers will keep customers coming back to you instead of seeking answers through a Google search, where they could wind up choosing a competitor.
“One day, there will be companies built on Messenger, and we are at the beginning of that ecosystem.” – Julien Codorniou, Facebook’s director of platform partnerships
We’re excited to see what happens with this platform. As it unfolds, we will keep you updated.