The clock strikes midnight — it’s January 1, 2018. Maybe you just started your business and are looking into marketing it online, or you’ve had your business for a while and simply want to grow your online presence. Whatever the case, you’ve set your eyes on social media like Facebook and Twitter as the next frontier, right? Wrong. Well, sorta.
It’s not that social media is dying or anything. After all, Facebook’s active user population is still rising and now has over 2 billion active users. Plus if teens are your audience, it’s the place to be: over 70 percent of teens in the United States use Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. But before putting all your resources into social media networks, there is something else you should consider — chat apps may be a much better opportunity.
Messenger apps have more users
Social media is changing rapidly. And with every new app, the way people interact changes also. With all of that happening, every business needs to adapt accordingly. That means when consumers move to messenger apps, businesses need to move there too. After all, there is a reason why Facebook heavily invests in their Facebook Messenger — don’t forget they own WhatsApp too. And the reason for this is that people want more personal communication.
People want more personal communication
These days, it seems like everyone is selling something to you, especially on social media. Whether it’s themselves — like the foods they eat and the activities they partake in — or actual companies promoting their brands and products, the end result is the same: social media is filled with people frantically throwing promotions at users. And users understand that.
Thus, they move to one-to-one communications channels, such as messengers. These channels give them total control over the information they receive and a platform dedicated to personal communication. This does not mean that people refuse advertising and brand engagement altogether. Rather, they prefer to receive it through messenger apps.
Creating marketing campaigns around messenger apps allows for a much more personalized engagement. The platform opens up an opportunity for creative storytelling, whereby the business creates an open-ended story and gives people the necessary tools to finish it. In turn, the individual is able to become an integral part of the campaign, personalizing it around themselves and the brand.
Unlike traditional marketing messages, this campaign is able to appeal not to the biggest target audience, but to every single person engaging with it. For example, those who wanted to win a ticket to Absolut Vodka’s exclusive party had to convince Sven, a virtual bouncer, by messaging him on WhatsApp. Over 600 contacts tried to convince Sven. The campaign was successful because it was designed with the individual at the center of it.
And people not only are open to sending messages but to receiving them too. The open rate of emails? 22 percent. The open rate of SMS text messages? 98 percent. Sure, the high open rate can be due to the fact that most people have their mobile notifications on. But this is not just high we are talking about, this is 98 percent. And their notifications are turned on because they want to receive messages and they want to read them. In fact, 67 percent of people expect to communicate more with businesses through text messaging over the next two years. Consumers have moved to text messaging and they expect businesses to follow suit.
This is not rocket science, it’s simply observing and listening. By focusing on messenger apps, not only will you reach more people, but you will reach them through the means they want to be reached. Happy customers mean happy businesses, right?
It is logical to claim ‘everyone is using messenger apps, so you should too’. That’s true — you shouldn’t fall behind the times. But the real reason you shouldn’t ignore messenger app is because they make your business better in a number of ways.
1) Customer Service
How many times have you called customer support only to be left waiting on the line? How many times have you had a question, so you had to look through dozens of forums and find everything and anything except the answer to your question? Getting help should be easy, but in most cases, it’s not. Calls can be long and inconvenient, emails are not in real-time and you never know how long you’d have to wait for an answer, and forums rarely have relevant information.
Now we have messenger apps. And now you can give much better customer service. People don’t want to call you; people want to get an answer to their question fast and simple. They want convenience. By incorporating chat apps into your customer service, you give customers exactly what they want, exactly where they want it — right in their messengers, where they do everything else. Plain and simple.
What if you don’t have the resources and people to sustain a live chat 24/7 for your customers? Don’t worry, you can and should use chatbots. Chatbots are bots created either based on rules or artificial intelligence in order to complete a certain task through a chat interface: bots can help book a hotel room (Expedia), bots can tell you the weather forecast, bots can help buy groceries, bots can even help you to deal with depression and anxiety (Woebot).
Chatbots are customizable for your need and for the messenger platform of your choice. And since customers prefer messenger apps, chatbots are the perfect solution for automating some of your services. Remember plain and simple is what customers want. And it’s plain and simple for you too — the chatbot does everything it needs to do without your help. You can even use it to capture new leads into your sales pipeline automatically if you integrate messenger apps with your CRM.
The popularity of messenger apps also means good things for marketing and sales. Personalization might be an obvious feature since chatting directly with a customer means you can personalize according to them — even explaining this feels redundant. But there is something else important concerning personalized messages: building a trustworthy brand. Why? Because research shows that the ability to chat with a company makes them trust the business more, plus they are more likely to purchase when they can message a business directly. Why’s that? Because it allows for personal communication, and that’s what people are looking for.
We already know that people are moving to messenger apps because it allows for more personal communication. And when a business moves to messenger apps, it tells people that the business is just like them — it wants a closer bond with customers. That is exactly where the connection between a brand and a consumer occurs.
Not only does having a top class messaging game mean people trust your brand more, but they are also more likely to buy from you! Isn’t that what every business wants — loyal customers buying your products and services again and again?
The customer engagement landscape is rapidly changing and evolving, and it’s crucial for businesses to follow the trends and adapt accordingly. To utilize the full potential of your business in 2018, you need to adopt the practice of messenger apps one way or another. Don’t be scared to experiment. Use our Product Selection Tool to narrow down your social collaboration software search. The main thing is reaching your leads and customers where they are: Observe and adapt.
David Beriev is a marketing specialist at amoCRM. amoCRM is an easy-to-use, yet powerful CRM solution for teams who make data-driven decisions and love their customers. David is passionate about helping businesses gain competitive advantage through innovation and creativity.