Social networks present a huge marketing opportunity to businesses and are fast becoming the preferred way to reach customers. However, making waves across Facebook and Twitter requires much more than simply creating a profile. An effective campaign needs a considered strategy, as well as an element of persistence, if you are to achieve results that will drive your business forward.
As the digital landscape evolves, the social media marketing arena grows with it, with new tools and mobile applications being introduced every week. One particular area that has sparked interest across industries, thanks to its exponential growth in usage over the past couple of years, is messenger platforms and chatbots – so, how can businesses and marketers use this to their advantage?
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Getting the message
Social chatting has well and truly overtaken traditional forms of communication and usage is increasing across the globe. There are currently over one billion people on Facebook Messenger each month who not only log on to message friends, but do so to connect with businesses and brands. The number of mobile messaging app users in total has skyrocketed to over 2 billion users worldwide, with predictions it will only grow even more over the next few years.
Consumers are moving away from texts and phone calls to quicker, easier and more convenient ways to reach people, so it’s little wonder that messenger apps are a hot topic among marketers. Bots on Facebook Messenger in particular enable one-on-one communication with potential leads, can amplify your level of customer service and allow the kind of interaction that converts.
Not only are messenger apps praised for their high engagement rates, they have much less friction than email or text – the user experience is seamless and the apps are perceived as a safer and more familiar place to communicate.
Messenger bots: step-by-step
Facebook has the largest chat platform and user base on the market, so it’s the best place to start if you’re considering a trial of messenger marketing or building a bot. There are currently over 100,000 bots available on Facebook Messenger, which engage with and service customers who use the platform. So, how do we get started with messenger bots and what are the dos and don’ts of making them a success?
- Build a welcome message
Well-designed chat bots will always carry a welcome message that explains exactly what its intentions are and what it can do. It’s the most important message you can send as it will kick off interaction between your bot and your consumers. As it’s one of the first things visitors to your page will see, don’t be too robotic, give the message some personality and differentiate it from a generic message you might see on another company page. Use it as an opportunity to list options for your visitors, so they don’t waste time interacting with the bot if it can’t help them.
- Determine the voice
Don’t think just because another business or competitor is using bots that you need to build one into your marketing strategy. A bot needs to be designed around the specific needs of your business – it cannot be an imitation. Start by determining the voice and purpose of the bot and consider what role it will play in your marketing strategy. Do you need it to be helpful, informative or reassuring?
Consider the style and tone and if it fits in with your brand, before launching something that may not follow your existing brand voice. Using consistent imagery can also help to build your brand’s identity into the bot’s interface.
- Create a script
Start by thinking about all of the possible questions a customer might ask you. You may even have an existing list of frequently asked questions that you can build into your bot. The next step is to think about the answers and possible interactions that could come from those questions – this will enable customers to get an automated and instant response to their query.
- Start small
Buttons and instant replies can help to guide workflow and are much easier to build than a fully conversational bot. You can add quick links to the buttons to lead your audience to landing pages, a blog, purchase page or, for further information, to an FAQ or ‘contact us’ section of your website. An even simpler response could be a simple thank you – let your customer know you appreciate the message and give them a timescale for a response.
- Select your tool
Building a chat bot doesn’t have to be expensive or complex. Several tools have launched to help you get started – even if you have no coding experience whatsoever. Chatfuel, Botsify, Converse AI and It’s Alive all offer free trials and plans to get started on your messenger marketing journey, and when you want to take it a step further, paid versions – such as the Microsoft Bot Framework or API.ai – will help you to take your chat bot to the next level.
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