How brand managers use Facebook Messenger to woo customers

Facebook Messenger can be a crucial tool for customer service efforts. Here’s how to make use of the feature primed for chatbot success.

Gone are the days where customer questions, complaints and commentary reach businesses via phone, email or even Twitter.

Facebook Messenger for business has been around since 2015, but recently, both customers and brands have really started adopting the service in a big way.

According to Facebook, 20 million Facebook Pages are active on Messenger. With 1.2 billion people using Facebook Messenger each month, it is likely that your customers expect (or will begin to expect) your organization to be responsive to them via Messenger when they have a question that needs to be answered or issue to be resolved.

Facebook has made it incredibly easy for customers and potential customers to message businesses, and the platform even goes so far as to prompt users to message a business when they visit its Facebook page.

Large brands and organizations are investing now in teams and technology to deal with the increased volume of messages they are receiving. Automation (aka chat bots) holds the key to managing hundreds or even thousands of inbound messages each day, which will ultimately free up social media and customer care teams so that they can respond to the messages that can’t or shouldn’t be automated.

What can you automate?

Tools like ManyChat, ChatFuel and Flow XO are affordable (and in some cases free) options for organizations that are looking get into the chatbot game. If your organization’s inbox on social is overwhelming or straining your capacity to respond, consider automating some of the most common questions. This will help free up your team, so they can respond to inquiries that require a human touch. For example, consider automating questions related to business hours, your physical address and other helpful information.

Beyond customer service, how can automating messaging and bots help marketers?

StitchFix and HubSpot are two brands that are using automated Facebook messaging to help generate business.

StitchFix created the Style Shuffle – a quiz modeled after Tinder’s platform that encourages users to share more about their personal likes and dislikes when it comes to particular pieces of clothing. The quiz incentivizes users to play the game by offering reward points and feeds the information back to StitchFix so that stylists can personalize the customer’s next order.

HubSpot used automated messaging to drive signups for its recent Four Days of Facebook promotion—a free virtual webinar series featuring a few big-name industry leaders.

Instead of sending potential registrants to a landing page for more information, HubSpot made its pitch inside Facebook Messenger and then prompted interested users to provide the kind of information you’d ask for on a traditional webinar landing page.

With more than 200 million Americans on Facebook—and time on the site rising, largely thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices—it’s inevitable that Facebook will increasingly become a transactional platform. For consumers, Facebook Messenger is the most logical place to start, which is why brands (and their bots) should be prepared to respond.

Kelsey Leavey works for the Hodges Partnership. A version of this article originally appeared on the Gong blog .

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