Facebook Messenger's golden opportunities for retailers

Facebook Messenger offers some exciting options for marketers and, judging by the extensive coverage the product received at F8 back in April, it seems Facebook knows it.

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After all, it’s far more original than Stories and has so many use cases it can be considered the Swiss Army knife in their arsenal. Although a lot of functionality is yet to be rolled out, there are simple ways in which businesses can leverage the channel which, if nothing else, has the potential to drastically improve customer service.

It’s not all about bots

Anyone can enable messages on any Facebook pages they have. Simply access your ‘Settings’ – edit next to ‘Messages’ and then tick the box ‘Allow people to contact my page privately’. This can be done on a desktop or on the Pages Manager app.

There are five different kinds of automatic responses which you can set up, namely:

Away Status – this appears in the 'About' section of your page letting consumers know you’re not available for 12 hours at a time, e.g. at night. Note that whilst this is on, responded messages do not count against your response rate.

Away Message – think of this like an out of office on an email, an instant response to any Facebook messages you receive whilst you are in 'Away' mode.

Instant Replies – this is what consumers receive the first time they message you.

Saved Replies – this answers FAQs for you. For example, if people ask your open hours or location often, you can set up a response to this.

Greeting – this is when someone opens a thread (i.e. is about to send a message to you in Facebook Messenger).

There’s an ad for that

Click to Messenger ads on Facebook mean that you can drive consumers to converse directly with your brand. These ads can literally start one-to-one conversations thanks to the content you can set up using 'Quick Creation' (self-service) or 'JSON Creation' (if you are working with a developer). Why would you do this you ask? The best use I have seen is in offering discount codes, straight to the user’s Messenger for safe keeping.

It’s great for social CRM

If consumers have previously engaged with you via Facebook Messenger, you can send them what’s known as a sponsored message. Plus, if you plan on creating a custom audience for ‘people who have interacted with my page’, all consumers who have Facebook messaged you will be included in this. So it’s a great way to get more traction from your custom audiences too.

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The future of Facebook Messenger

Features which will be incorporated into the Facebook Messenger platform in the near future include an app store just for Messenger bots, a distinct drive to reinvigorate the least sexy piece of tech ever invented – the QR code, chat extensions through Spotify and Apple music, in-Messenger gaming and an AI bot called M who can make restaurant recommendations and similarly creepy functionality.

As far as practical implications go, as with embarking on any new social avenue, it’s recommended that you estimate volume of queries and allocate these to an individual or team to address and set up an escalation procedure ahead of time. However, if your brand is looking to enhance its social presence, it’s a very viable avenue to pursue ahead of starting a new platform altogether.

I would love to hear your brand’s experience with Facebook Messenger! Feel free to contact me or ask questions at m.me/megshollis.
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About Megan Hollis

Megan is the Head of Strategy at Techsys Digital. She is passionate about all things digital, especially social media, eCRM and paid media.