Direct Messenger services like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram’s Direct Message service are rising as legitimate business contact channels. In this post we break down what these services do, how they can benefit your business, and how you can utilise them in your digital marketing efforts.
What is Direct Messaging?
Direct messaging services include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram’s Direct Message feature. Many of us are familiar with these apps as a quick and cost-effective way to keep in touch with friends and family, and now we see them developing as a communications channel for consumer-facing businesses. Messaging services are providing new uses for business; allowing direct one-to-one communication with customers and prospective customers. And their use is only growing.
The Growth of Messaging for Business:
Direct messaging apps like those above are one of the fastest-growing areas in digital, with an estimated 2.3 billion mobile messaging app users predicted by 2020.
Messaging means business – in the UK, 32% of shoppers said they messaged a business during last year’s Christmas shopping season.
Among people surveyed who message businesses the majority say that being able to message a business helps them feel more confident about the brand.
51% of people say that messaging has replaced other forms of communication. This is especially important with customer service channels in mind.
How Messaging Can Help Your Business
Direct message services can help acquire new customers and simplify customer service by providing a direct, conversational way for people to respond where they already spend their time – on their mobile devices.
Building a presence on Messenger helps grow awareness of a brand, product or service and gets it in front of more people.
It shows customers that you care – integrating Messenger into a customer service strategy allows customers to communicate with your business on their terms. No more waiting on hold or keeping website windows open. And the conversation stays in Messenger, an easily accessible spot for questions and re-engagement.
Messaging can even enable transactions – allowing people to browse your products and services, and purchase them directly “in the conversation.”
The growth in direct messaging also marks a switch in how social media is beginning to be used for businesses. It marks the start of a move away from public comments and feedback, to a more direct one-to-one approach between customers and businesses. Note, this doesn’t mean that comments and public social media feedback will disappear, just that consumers are starting to expect a direct, personal, and private responses from the businesses they engage with.
Customers see messaging services as a legitimate communications channel with businesses. Whereas in the past customers may have called or emailed, more and more consumers are preferring to simply message businesses directly. This can be great, but it means that a firm’s direct messaging platform must be managed in the same manner that you would a phone line for the business.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen too often – Facebook Pages or websites with messaging enabled, where customers’ direct messages are not being responded to. These are legitimate leads and enquiries that are being missed, so it’s imperative that Messenger is monitored and responded too quickly.
How To Start Using Messaging Services For Your Business
Getting started with using messenger services is relatively simple.
- Begin by deciding which direct messaging platform/s are most suitable for your business.
Facebook Messenger is the biggie, of course, and has the advantage of tying into your existing Facebook Page. Messenger can also be used as a response in Facebook ads. Other options to consider are Instagram’s Direct Message service and WhatsApp (also owned by Facebook). WhatsApp can also be used as a call to action response in Facebook ads.
- Work out who and how your direct messaging responses are going to work.
Who will respond on behalf of the company?
When will the service be monitored by staff and when will you need to use an auto-responder?
- Decide on how customer services queries will be handled, and how team members can respond to these.
- Set up the service and test it on a limited basis to learn how your customers are likely to use it. Perhaps experiment with Facebook Messenger as a customer service portal during office hours to begin with.
- Measure its effectiveness, adjust, and continue!
The growth in messenger use by consumers means businesses need to step up now to build their presence on Messenger or other direct messaging platforms.
Is your business or brand using direct messaging as effectively as possible?
Message us today to chat with one of our team about how messaging services can benefit your business.