If you were to make a list of the top forecasted marketing trends in 2019, Facebook Messenger marketing would definitely make the cut.
Currently, some 1.3 billion people use Messenger every month! This fact highlights just how it important it is for businesses to be active and engaged on their Facebook page. Online users message brands to inquire about products and services, schedule and hours, or to give feedback and/or receive support for previous purchases and experiences.
By neglecting your Messenger inbox, you may not only be missing out on tremendous marketing opportunities, but you also risk upsetting your existing audience. Now I will share with you 5 ways you can leverage Messenger to delight your customers and grow your practice!
1. Be Active and Responsive in Your Messenger Inbox
The first, most obvious way to utilize Messenger as part of your social media marketing strategy is to be present and ready to respond to all incoming messages promptly. Facebook is the focus of this article, but if you are going to have live social profiles on other social networks, it’s important to keep a close eye and stay active on those as well.
People are spending a great deal of time on social media channels every day, and they expect to be able to communicate with businesses for information and support. In fact, most people actually prefer to use social media as their primary means for customer care. Also, they expect a response in a timely manner, typically within just a couple hours.
It’s easy to see how social media has become an important channel for customer service. Maintaining an active presence on social media shows people that you care about connecting with them.
2. Include Messenger Placements in Your Ad Campaigns
Facebook added a Messenger ad placement to their offerings somewhat recently. When creating Facebook ads, take a look at the placement settings in the Ad Set level. You have the option to show your ads both in the Messenger Inbox or within Facebook and Instagram Stories. You also have the ability to send Sponsored Messages, which I will discuss more in a moment.
Remember those 1.3 billion people I mentioned earlier? This represents a massive potential reach for ads displayed in Messenger.
When running ads in Messenger, all of the targeting options for Facebook Ads still apply. You can target your ads to be served to all people within a chosen set of criteria, whether they match a specific demographic/geographic/behavioral profile, or have completed certain actions such as visiting pages of your website or viewing a set percentage of your Facebook videos. When those people are in their Messenger inbox on a desktop device or using the Messenger app on a mobile device, they will be served your ads.
3. Use Messenger as the Destination for Your Ads
Not only can you show your ads to people using Messenger, but you can actually use Messenger as the “landing page” of sorts for your ads. Choosing to run this type of campaign will prompt Facebook to optimize ad delivery to maximize the number of incoming messages and prioritize showing ads to people most likely to send a message.
You can also simply use Messenger as the destination in the more standard Traffic campaign type, or from the Boosted Post interface found on each post on your actual Facebook Page. This option is a good quick choice if you don’t need all the Messenger Ad features, or don’t intend to use a bot.
When someone clicks on your ad in the Newsfeed or any other placement you’ve chosen, it will commence a Messenger conversation with your business. This is a very powerful tool to start connecting with as many relevant people as possible, without them ever having to leave Facebook! The ads themselves will utilize a “Message Us” CTA, so make sure the language in your ad copy is congruent with this action you are encouraging people to complete.
The final Messenger ad placement type is Sponsored Messages, as I briefly mentioned earlier. These are messages that are delivered directly to a person when they have an existing conversation with your in Messenger. You could theoretically create a two-tiered, “funneled” Facebook ad campaign of sorts. Run one set of ads to a broader, top-of-the-funnel audience that prompts people to begin a Messenger conversation with your practice. Then run a second narrower, middle or bottom-of-funnel campaign that re-targets people that have already messaged your Page, and sends them a special offer directly to their inbox. The possibilities for experimentation are endless!
4. Use Messenger Chatbots to Provide Support and Guidance
The topic of Messenger Chatbots deserves an entire blog post of its own (or several, rather). This has been a huge area of development over the past year. A Messenger bot essentially allows you to automate your interactions with people, and make sure that no one is left without a response.
When setting up a chatbot, you essentially create a mini “choose your own adventure” sequence, comprising key info, common questions and answers, links to important sections of your website, and even downloadable guides. The goal is to streamline many of the common interactions that take place on your page and help direct people to the right information. It’s like having customer support on call 24/7, without needing an actual person constantly monitoring the Page. Here is what a typical chatbot workflow might look like:
The very word “bot” and the idea of automating your interactions might stir up a negative connotation, but rest assured that, unlike other webcrawling bots out there, Messenger bots are benign, and even benevolent in nature. There are definitely such things as good and bad bots! Within your bot sequence, you can include an option like, “to speak with a human, click here” or “...please call XXX-XXXX now!” The idea is not to “trick” people into thinking they are interacting with a real person. In this day and age, most people expect some degree of automation. You can even say something along the lines of “Hi! I am a bot, designed to help you find the right information!”, if you so choose.
Ultimately, we must accept the fact that automation and AI are taking over. Rather than run from this technology, we should embrace it, but find ways to utilize it in the best ways possible.
5. Consider Facebook's Subscription-Based Messaging
This final method is by far the most complex and advanced means to utilize Messenger for marketing purposes. This is a new feature in Facebook, and many of the policies surrounding it are still in flux.
Subscription Messaging is essentially a more elaborate version of a Messenger bot in which you are actually proactively sending out messages to people. Think of it almost like an email newsletter subscription, but instead of sending emails, you are sending Facebook messages.
What’s really cool is that many marketers are reporting extremely high open and click-thru rates on their branded Facebook messages, far higher than what you’d see in an email marketing campaign!
Similar to email marketing, people must first opt-in, and can opt-out from receiving the messages at any time. You can create and add a Facebook Messenger chat plugin to your website for free by adding a just a few lines of code via a tag management solution such as Google Tag Manager. This is a great way to get more people to start messaging your Page and opt-in to your subscription messages.
If you plan to use Subscription Messaging, there are several important things to note. First of all, Page admins that wish to take advantage of subscription-based messaging have to manually apply for access to it at the Page level. Follow the process outlined here if you wish to enable this feature on your Page:
Also, the messages must not be promotional, but rather be educational in nature such as sharing news or useful information. This feature is also well suited to be connected to apps and Pages that use some sort of productivity/personal tracker, e.g. a smart app that sends reminders to pay bills or keeping track of personal fitness goals. I’ve seen a number of businesses using subscription messages to successfully stay top-of-mind in people’s inbox without being overtly promotional. With a little creativity, there are plenty of ways you can utilize this feature to grow your practice while staying in accordance with Facebook’s policies.
You can read more about the requirements and rules surrounding Subscription Messaging on the Facebook Developer Blog. If you have any further questions related to Facebook Messenger Marketing, get in touch with a Page 1 Solutions IMC by calling (303) 233-3886!