If you’ve been paying enough attention to what’s going on in the digital sphere, you would’ve already heard about the growing opportunities in Facebook marketing. Over the past couple of years, the social network has made several breakthroughs on the business side of its clientele. Our social experts at Alkries LLC invite you to explore these exciting developments.
Rise of the Bots
You’re probably expecting us to talk about Facebook Ads. While this advertising platform has its merits, this blog will touch on the one we use every day to connect with our peers, share online or private content, or publish stories: Facebook Messenger. Chatbots, in particular.
Years ago, Facebook and social media were regarded as merely a last push to check up on leads inching to convert or engage with current customers. Now, with the global growth of mobile app messaging on an upward trend, business leaders with sharp foresight are using it as a go-to platform for their core marketing efforts.
Aware that the standard for convenience will go nowhere but up, these businesses now enjoy the first-mover advantage (FMA), in the form of intelligent chatbots, sponsored messages, and personalized games.
But it’s not just established brands; almost everyone doing business online is on Facebook Messenger, simply because their customers are there, too. And those that have devoted enough time and resources to it can say that using chatbots and other related activities have led to increased click-through rates (CTR) and conversions.
While regular posts and social ads can grow your audience, instant messaging can grow your business. Even more than email marketing. In fact, messaging apps have surpassed social networks in terms of usage.
What all this means is that, if you’re not making the most of Facebook Messenger and treating it as your go-to marketing channel, you’re missing out. Here’s why:
The Numbers Don’t Lie
In a Facebook IQ study on the rapid rise of mobile messaging, it’s revealed that:
- 59 percent of people say they are messaging more now than they did two years ago, and more than half say they expect their messaging to increase further
- 56 percent would rather message than call a business for customer service
- 53 percent are more likely to shop with a business they can message
- More than 50 percent are more likely to shop with a business they can message (did we say that twice?) Yes, we did. Because it's that important.
What’s more interesting for marketers, though, is that messaging individually or with a group appeals across generations. With an average open rate of 88 percent and a click-through rate of 56 percent, instant messaging offers a wealth of opportunities for marketers to drive awareness and sales and enhance customer service. Also, this approach has the lowest bounced traffic rate of all digital channels.
On top of these metrics, the same study reveals that people also say chatting with a business fosters more positive sentiments from customers (63 percent). Fifty-five percent are more likely to trust a business they can chat, with 59 percent saying that instant messaging is a clear sign that the business cares about them.
That said, Facebook Messenger is no longer just an avenue to connect and provide customer support, it makes commerce personal. It means that it’s useful for pushing content to followers and turn clicks into leads or deals, which leads us to the question:
Is Facebook Messenger the New Email?
A HubSpot report found that Facebook Messenger is a more popular alternative to email. It has a 242 percent higher open rate and a 619 percent higher click rate compared to email, a channel once believed to be the most effective.
People prefer accessing content via Facebook Messenger not only because they use it every day, but also because browsing from it is seamless and convenient. You can easily click on a site and read an article using your mobile phone. You can share and consume photos and videos, go live, play games, send text messages, make regular calls or video calls, and so on – all without leaving the platform.
Unlike email, the platform not only allows for real-time interaction, but it also provides diverse content and experiences. A win-win for both customers and marketers.
Chatbots with Personality – Breaking Down Facebook’s Persona-Chat
There are over 900 million people on Facebook Messenger, and 61 percent of them like personalized messages from businesses.
Any business of a considerable size can’t simply attend to the needs of each prospect in an instant. One of the best functionalities of the platform is its ability to integrate chatbots.
Personality is the key to interesting conversations. This framework has helped address the problem with bots having none. You can now train bots to exhibit certain traits so they can contribute to the conversation and keep it going.
Free Chatbots: Limitations
Instant messaging doesn’t scale, especially if you don’t have the manpower to do it. Hiring more people to address the growing volumes of messages you receive will add up and hurt your revenue. This is where chatbots step in.
Over the years, developers, and AI innovators, including those at Facebook, have been continuously finding new ways to create the smartest, most intuitive bot.
The only problem is that they’re not perfect.
Chatbots can only go so far as to churn out templated answers to questions based on patterns in huge data sets. They can be trained to show consistent personality when making small talk, but they would easily go haywire when faced with a question that hasn’t been programmed. They don’t have the ability to remember what they or their conversational partners have said in the past.
What’s Possible with Chatbots?
Despite these limitations, bots can be a powerful tool to attract, convert, and nurture more customers.
Today’s chatbots have considerably evolved. From stock phrases, bots can now engage in small talk, show consistent personality, and perform several automated activities. Facebook’s Persona-Chat is a massive directory consisting of 160,000 lines of dialogue datasets used to train and evaluate AI models. The goal of this directory is to teach AI-based assistants to make more human conversations. This framework allows bots to chat about personal interests and hobbies, past experiences, and get to know their conversational partners.
Marketers and bot developers with advanced skills use deep learning to recreate normal human-to-human conversation. Instead of mapping out pre-programmed questions and answers, they train their chatbots to have meandering dialogues or, at the very least, engage in chitchat.
Some contemporary bots would take dialogue from movie scripts or take the dataset approach.
Creating a Lead Generation Machine with Chatbots
All this AI talk may be intimidating at first, especially to small businesses with limited resources. The good thing is that the web has a massive community of developers that offer free tools and are willing to help anyone out. Here are some tips you can apply right away:
Leverage free chatbot builders
You can easily find free, robust chatbot building platforms to get started. These templates come with extensive features and functionalities, requiring limited to zero coding skills.
Explore these builders and find out what you can do with them:
- Motion.ai (Acquired by Hubspot)
- Octane AI
- Many Xo
- Dialogflow (formerly Api.ai)
Use Facebook Messenger as a content delivery channel
As mentioned, there’s more to the platform than instant messaging. Explore the many ways you can share helpful and varying content to your followers. The golden rule is to be non-intrusive and keep your content personalized to your target audience.
Integrate a hybrid strategy
Facebook Messenger, games, and chatbots make for a supercharged marketing mix. Assemble a hybrid strategy so that your prospects and customers have several options to connect with your brand. The platform has all the tools and templates you need to make this possible.
Invest in sponsored messages
You can run sponsored messages or ads-funded content on Messenger. Find a way to insert native ads in some of your programmed questions and responses so that you’re utilizing the space wisely and making the most of your interaction with a customer.
Create subscriber lists
Much like email marketing, Messenger marketing lets you build lists so you can broadcast your messaging more easily. List-building will also help you customize your content and get the conversation going pre-messenger. As you build your list, make an effort to segment your audiences and get to know their interests, goals, pain points, and so on. This way, your chatbot efforts will appear tailored to the right people.
Explore hyper-contextual advertising
You can transform a bot into a well-rounded personal concierge. By getting to know your audience, you can train your bot to offer complementary content, such as tips, lists, or other helpful content on the web. This helps you nurture active customer relationships or provide more guidance to rescue customers who didn’t convert or make any repeat purchases. If possible, direct them to promos or discounts to recapture their interest.
Again, consumers crave authentic, real-time interactions with brands, so you shouldn’t rely on bots alone. And what better way to do that than by using Messenger LiveChat? This easy-to-use plugin lets you provide face-to-face customer support. Adopt it, especially for loyal customers or leads that are a heartbeat away from converting.
Engage event participants
If you have an upcoming event, you can train your bot to send out reminders to participants before the occasion. You can also program it to send out real-time updates during the event and follow up for feedback after. HubSpot created an experiment to show you it’s effective.
Integrate an appointment set-up tool
Is closing sales your main objective? Then be clear about it with your chatbot. Customize your bot to prompt call-to-actions, free demos, or buttons that lead to your e-commerce site or appointment-booking tool.
Promote your chatbot
If you’re confident that your chatbot can do wonders to your conversions, don’t forget to prompt it using your Facebook Page’s Action Button and promote it through Facebook Messenger and Facebook Ads. This will help you get more people to chat with your bot without being too intrusive. You can even use retargeting tools so that bounced traffic can still find its way to your bot. Just don’t pursue them too much. Facebook offers a step-by-step guide on how you can pull this off with ease. Check it out.
Monitor and measure
The only way to know if your chatbot campaigns are effective is if you track them. Monitor the traffic and conversions you’re getting using the Messenger Engagement metric in your Ads Manager. This will also give you insights into which campaigns push customers away.
For more detailed tips for turning your chatbot into a marketing powerhouse, Sprout Social has created a comprehensive, easy-to-follow guide.
People are naturally less inclined to make meaningful conversations with chatbots, let alone get along with them. Still, make an effort to unlock its potential.
Make sure that your AI assistant makes an authentic introduction at the beginning of the conversation and let users decide whether to engage or not. From the get-go, show your prospects that your bot is ready to help or educate them and that they’ll get something out of it.
Apply these Facebook Messenger and chatbot marketing best practices to achieve better results:
- Treat your chatbot like a content marketing machine
- Be clear about the value exchange right away
- Make sure your website or content materials are mobile-responsive
- Let your customers know how and where to reach you
- Provide timely responses
- Don’t overstep or overstay
Facebook Messenger and chatbots are set to become the main communication and marketing channels in the next few years. With mobile taking the lead over desktop in terms of traffic and usage, businesses should use them as their main lever for forging customer relationships and nurturing leads.
Messaging is a personal form of interaction, with mobile devices being the modern emblem for intimacy and privacy. If a potential customer allows you into that space, don’t put it to waste.
Craft a Messenger experience that opens up a conversation and delivers a new level of relevance. Be thoughtful and careful, but also direct and genuine. With the stakes so high, make one wrong move, and you’ll face backlash or a stain on your brand’s image across the social community.
The keyword here is inbound. Social media marketing falls under that category of marketing that draws people in through relevant and valuable content, not shoving content to their faces. So keep that in mind when opting for in-bot advertising. Facebook Messenger is a marketing touchpoint that’s highly delicate but brimming with opportunities. Maximize its value by investing in a hybrid, intuitive, content-rich chatbot.
Get experienced help with your social media efforts or anything digital marketing in Virginia, and get in touch with Alkries LLC today.