Tag Archives: strategy

Facebook Messenger Bots and Your Marketing Roadmap

5 Key Considerations for Marketing Bot Success

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According to stats shared by Facebook at its annual F8 conference, more than 60 billion messages are sent per day through its two chat products, WhatsApp and Messenger. That’s three times the number of traditional SMS text messages sent per day. Couple that with the facts that Messenger has 900 million monthly users and over 50 million companies are on Facebook itself, and the idea of facilitating real-time communication between people and brands via Messenger crystallizes quickly.

Hence Facebook’s announcement of the Messenger Platform which now provides brands with APIs to create their own natural language bots that can communicate with people for sales, service, and more via Messenger. Having helped grow this market space for years now, I can tell you that we are fans of this announcement as the marriage makes great sense or marketers.

As illustrated by the figures above, Facebook Messenger is a natural platform for chatbots because it is trusted by both consumers and brands for conversation and conversion. As consumer attention moves from social networks to private 1:1 communications, it’s becoming imminently important for brands to have a presence in the new dark social paradigm.

However, simply having a presence is not enough. Marketing organizations really need to think through and build several key considerations into their chatbot roadmaps. Specifically:

1. Utility & User Experience: While enabling consumers to engage with your natural language bot is a step forward in user experience, organizations should challenge themselves to create a better experience driven by the utility that modern consumers demand, and by which they measure today’s brands.

For brands to be successful engaging consumers with chatbots, they will need to connect the interface to meaningful experiences, back end business processes, and consumer programs that already exist within the organization.

2. Loyalty: Loyalty programs are an ideal example of an existing program designed for utility as program members can engage deeply inside messaging apps. Providing this level of utility allows your most loyal customers to interact with the brand in ways that are meaningful to them and encourages a symbiotic relationship with points and/or other rewards in exchange for participation.

3. Conversion: One of the commonly cited hurdles of chatbots is that they are reactive in nature and attempts to be proactive can come off as pushy or trying too hard at best. Chirpify helps brands with this issue by allowing marketers to activate offline media like television, events and in-store calls-to-action to conversion using chat, thus increasing the effectiveness of all channels involved.

4. The Right Mix of Automation and Moderation: Automating 1:1 consumer marketing communications and conversion inside messaging apps like Messenger can be a boon to your marketing efforts. However, as I shared earlier, it is important that brands determine their strategy for balancing personalization empowered by a smart rules-engine with human moderation backed by automation.

For example, a brand may choose to let a bot interact with a consumer if they are activating a campaign call-to-action to enter a contest. While brands may elect to moderate conversations that require greater knowledge (e.g. past transaction history with the brand) and personalization, such as a request for a hotel upgrade.

5. Data: I mentioned backend systems above, but it’s worth its own callout as it is really important to tie chat identity, demographics, and other first party data to email and other information in your CRM and/or marketing database. Being able to connect the dots on this information not only gives your team more extensive knowledge of your customers but also serves to provide a significant competitive advantage.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new interface – especially one that is as disruptive as this. Yet, I encourage marketers to think about Messenger Platform bots (and chatbots more generally) as an opportunity to build a customer experience focused on utility that can convert. Brands across industries and client types can benefit by thinking about existing, internal programs such as loyalty that are a natural fit for extending customer relationships to maximize customer lifetime value.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Social Direct Response

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A central part of any social media strategist’s job is to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in newsfeed algorithms, analytics features and paid post programs. After managing social programs for a wide variety of brands, I’ve discovered that the best strategy is not to be reactive to these changes, but rather to authentically engage with users.

That means that, instead of seeking to take advantage of the latest loophole, engage to the point where customers — or potential customers — actually want to share their data (name, email address, zip code, etc.) because they are genuinely interested and want to participate. There are three important steps to achieving success in generated social direct response:

1) Engagement

Think of engagement as the foundation upon which you build your strategy. Approach your effort across screens and marketing vehicles so that your message reaches your target audience both offline and online. Remember, the consumer is looking for an easy and consistent experience when taking the time to engage with you, so allow your marketing messages to prompt a consumer action no matter where they see your messaging.

For example, Sprint recently partnered with The Voice to give fans of the TV show a chance to unlock exclusive, behind-the-scenes videos of the contestants. Fans had the opportunity to express interest, and Sprint responded by providing access to the content. This sort of interaction creates dialogue between brand and consumer while executing a data/content trade off. This balance between benefit received and information given allowed Sprint and the Voice to achieve specific awareness and conversion goals.

2) Conversion

Conversion can mean a sale, but it is so much more. Being able to learn about your core audience – those who consistently engage with your brand — will allow you to test and improve what you offer on each channel. To be able to connect offline (quiet) channels to social ones amplifies your brand message in a public way while giving consumers the ability to get something in return.

There is already so much time, creativity and money that goes into the content brands create — particularly with real-time social strategy during large events or holidays — that it’s time to make content that converts in an action-oriented way. You’re probably doing it already, so why not exchange valuable content that consumers want for additional information about them, which will allow you to further tailor future conversion campaigns as well.

Per our example above, Sprint and The Voice were able to capture social handle information in exchange for exclusive content. The consumer is happy sharing the data, because they get delivered to them exactly what they are asking for, on the channel they are active in. In return, the brand knows more about which channel and which consumers are willing to take action with the brand for particular marketing initiatives.

3) Measurement

Set KPIs at the outset of your campaigns and measure against them. It’s time to move beyond engagement and impressions to focus on metrics and calls-to-action that map to specific business goals. Use your metrics as a way to assess and improve. Social direct response provides terrific feedback mechanisms, allowing marketers to measure and answer key questions in new ways, such as, “What messages resonate most with which customers in which social channels?” and “What activation mechanisms are most effective for our target market?” Take advantage of the opportunity to measure, test and improve your results.

There is a lot to keep up with in social. The good news is that you can build a strategy with social direct response that, while watching the latest changes to the social networks, doesn’t mean you have to constantly change your strategy. Your decisions are based on your specific audience and what they are willing to do, not what everyone else is doing. While your individual tactics may change, keeping an eye on higher-level goals that drive higher interest and intention from consumers will keep your marketing programs running efficiently and effectively while returning dividends to the business.