What's the Deal with Facebook Chatbots?

Right this moment, there are over 2 billion people on Facebook. Chasing its heels comes Facebook’s messenger app, Messenger, at 1.23 billion and rapidly growing. While many marketers have noted the importance of Facebook as a social media platform and a great place for digital ads in recent years, far too few have capitalized upon the opportunity to interact with customers more directly, through chat and messaging.

Facebook intends to change this, however, by pushing robust tools for marketing messages across Facebook and its rapidly growing chat app—most notably, Facebook Messenger bots. With messages showing roughly 700% higher open rates than email, it’s not something modern marketers can continue to ignore.

The Benefits of Live Chat for Businesses

Before we talk about bots, let’s ask a simpler question: Why use direct messages to chat with your customers at all? There are plenty of other ways to reach out to customers and prospects. What advantages do chat-style interactions offer?

Segment your audience

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of market segmentation lay in collecting adequate information on a particular customer to identify which audience group or groups they belong to. This makes the messenger platform of particular value, because the quick back and forth through a messenger conversation makes it extremely effective and efficient in data collection. Just a few exchanges with a prospect can provide enough points of data to accurately place that prospect in a segment.

From there, it’s quite easy not only for your customer service agents to engage that customer accordingly, but to leverage that information in all other interactions and ads with the customer in the future.

Funnel customer service issues to the right associate

In the same way that you can use live chat to quickly identify market segments based on interactions with a prospect or customer, you can easily use the same categorization tools to place incoming customer service contact with the appropriate member of your team. Virtual receptionist tools, self-directed customer service calls, and other methods of connecting customers with customer service personnel simply aren’t as effective or as efficient as a real person quickly vetting the issue and passing it along to the right person. Not only does this create a much more efficient program for your customer service representatives, but it makes a better experience for your users as well.

Build a relationship with your customer

LiveChat takes far less investment of time or resources from the prospect than most forms of interaction with a company, meaning it’s very easy to get someone talking to one of your employees via LiveChat than other channels. This may not seem especially valuable if you’re manning LiveChat with general support staff relying heavily on scripts and guidance rather than top notch sales personnel, but any interaction with real people helps create and nurture a relationship with the customer.

Facebook?

Now, we understand how natural interactions over chatbot programs can help our marketing, but that’s just the beginning of the puzzle. As effective as using real people to chat with every prospect may be, it’s not scalable or cost efficient enough to be viable for many markets—which brings us, as always, to automation.

Facebook Messenger bots have grown rapidly in sophistication, as most chat bots have in recent years. It’s relatively easy for a savvy team to leverage widely available tools to produce chat bots capable of some really astounding back and forth interactions. As with any form of automation, you’re going to lose some degree of versatility and customization when cutting humans from the equation, but it’s going to be far less than you might expect if you put the effort into proper setup.

Clean up your message box

Using a Facebook Messenger bot can do a lot of good for managing response from customers, especially if you set up reception to be sorted according to segment. It can produce a clean, well-organized source of data for your marketing team to pore over at their leisure.

Keep your audience engaged with your brand

Being able to consistently communicate with prospects at any time based on any action taken gives you a ton of power in maintaining brand engagement. So long as you use this power responsibly and intelligently, you can integrate messages from your bot into the life of every prospect.

In many cases, you’ll have more trouble avoiding oversaturation and annoyance than anything. Make sure you test to figure out healthy contact rates for your different market segments.

Easily stay consistent with your brand messaging.

Introducing automation to any form of interaction with customers presents a great opportunity to organize your communication with those customers. In other words, you won’t need to sift through chat logs when you engage customers down the line, because you’ll know what they’ve read thus far. You won’t have to guess and check on interactions because they’re consistent per market segment. What you lose in the flexibility of human chatters you gain in predictability for your real sales agents down the line.

Facebook Messenger, while not a new app for users is an emerging artificial intelligence to use in terms of advertisements and customer service. For digital marketers, staying on top of trends is a great way to break into digital marketing. If you're considering creating a Facebook marketing strategy, feel free to schedule an appointment with us and we can help you create a sound strategy.

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About the Author: Sarah Laoyan

Sarah Laoyan

Sarah is the Marketing Coordinator at 41 Orange. She recently graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Journalism, with an emphasis in advertising.

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