Facebook is still a hugely powerful network for businesses to reach their audience. But by constantly moving the goalposts, many businesses find it tough to reach people. Even those who’ve developed a large following often fail to get their posts seen by the people who elected to keep up to date.
Other social networks are available. But as we’re talking about automation marketing, I’ll focus on Facebook Messenger Chatbots (Messenger Marketing).
Messenger Marketing faces some common objections so I’ve addressed the most regular in order to help businesses and fellow bot builders.
Above all, the question I get asked the most is:
I like this description:
“An interactive software that communicates with users via social messaging platforms”.
However, I think that does the technology a disservice. It leaves out the incredible opportunities to build a better and more profitable business.
So tell me what it is…
It’s a marketing automation tool – similar to email marketing, but used on social media platforms. Further though, Chatbots allow a more interactive experience in a platform that the user feels more comfortable using. In fact, 1.3 billion people around the globe use Facebook Messenger. That makes it the world’s most popular instant messaging communication platform
The real-time nature of the interactions, combined with the comfort and ease of the conversational flow within the Messenger platform leads to:
A chatbot can be as personalized as the amount of time and money you have to spend on making it so. If a user has a particular question which the bot isn’t programmed for, then of course it’s possible to trigger alerts and hand the conversation over to a real person. But the main focus really is to find out what kind of questions your customers are going to ask. It’s never going to be 100% ready for everything from the beginning. It takes time, and is an ever-evolving process.
As business owners, we don’t always know exactly what the customer wants to know. So it’s an opportunity to learn, and begin to improve this important part of online customer service. Once you start to get that right – it’s a much quicker, more efficient way to deal with customer queries, ultimately leading to a greater customer experience. And great customer experience is my biggest motivating factor.
Well firstly, I congratulate you for having as many visitors to your website as Facebook has. Outstanding job. 😉
But seriously. Because of the platform we’re really talking about here – Facebook – then you have an opportunity to communicate directly with an unlimited number of potential customers….
And I need to highlight this part….
ON AN APP THEY USE TO TALK TO THEIR FRIENDS. ⬅⬅⬅⬅
So their guard is down. They’re relaxed and comfortable.
ALSO ON AN APP WHICH MOST BUSINESSES ARE NOT YET USING ⬅⬅⬅⬅
So it’s not a saturated market like email marketing is.
Or like posting on social media feeds which are overcrowded and get skipped.
In fact, because of those very things, you’re almost definitely going to have your messages read, clicked and engaged with.
If that’s not enough to persuade you that it’s an entirely different proposition from a website, then let’s again visit the nature of the users’ journey.
Can your website really deliver a conversational experience in real time? Can your website store user preferences and use that data to personalize your marketing endeavours? Can it get to know each person in order to improve those communications? Or, as I suspect, is your website built for MANY people, not specifically tailored to individuals? It’s almost certainly built to offer a few ways to navigate around and discover information, which will always offer the same experience no matter how often a person visits that site, or what they care about.
Websites are still important. But they are very different entities. I’d go so far as to suggest that a chatbot offers everything your website can’t.
This can take a lot of time and money, and may not necessarily be what you actually need. In fact, having the chatbot explain that it’s an automated system – even giving the bot a name and their own ‘personality’ can encourage interaction much more than trying to fake a real conversation.
Remember, it’s important not to try to trick people, or treat them as if they’re stupid. I suggest going all in on the opportunity to entertain and engage customers through automation. Give them a fun and informative experience. The customer doesn’t always need a full conversation – they just want to get what they require in a fun and fast way. And you want them to remember you. Consumers really just want to be satisfied with how they arrive at their destination in their interaction with your business.
Let’s make one thing clear. This IS going to happen. If you have a huge audience, it’s going to happen a lot. Whilst there is an element of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to this marketing technology, it is not sentient.
So how do we handle that?
I’ll leave aside the ability to pre-program a variety of phrases which trigger certain actions at this point… To get an AI bot performing well enough to cover any eventuality is a huge task.
I think it’s ok lead the interaction back to what chatbots do best. Not to replace one human in all tasks, but to replace many tasks for an unlimited amount of human workers.
Reminding the user that it’s an automated system, offer a concise, user-friendly array of options to choose from. Remember, they can still talk to somebody if they choose that option. They can even choose to write a message which can be sent to an email address. But the main aim here is to guide people to the information they want – quickly, and to give them a great experience, and finally to drive sales.
Within a messenger bot – you can take care of the majority of tasks which require some form of interaction, or encouragement to buy – without the prospect even having to leave the Facebook/Messenger platform.
This isn’t actually a new technology. But it is only beginning to become popular within social media. And don’t forget my earlier point:
Because few businesses have adopted this, it is still an incredible marketing opportunity!
Imagine being one of the first businesses to have their own iPhone app. When people were desperate to download any app and try it. Messenger Marketing is a similar opportunity. I think the sooner a business adopts the technology the better. You have an opportunity to amaze an audience and gather valuable data – and develop a valuable relationship. In two years, it will be a crowded marketplace and you’ll be fighting for attention.
If you’ve already optimized performance of your chatbot, got an insight into customers’ behaviour and preferences, then you’ll be leading the race.
The reason chatbots are becoming popular is that they’re shown to increase customer engagement, improve customer experience, and drive an increase in sales and brand awareness.
When you really think about it, what else is important?
If you’re still wary, then think about the biggest problems you have on social media.
Is there one thing which demands the most time from your staff? Is there no connection with your audience, and no insight into their behaviour? Or maybe you have a huge following, but low engagement on your business page?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.