Facebook used their F8 developer conference to announce Facebook Businesses on Messenger: a more personal way for brands and consumers to message.
Brands will be able to use Facebook Messenger to connect directly with (opt-in) consumers post-purchase to distribute practical information, provide customer service, and sell more products. The brand messages will appear next to messages from friends; users can receive a notification in the smartphone lockscreen in the same way they receive notifications about messages from friends.
This presents an excellent opportunity to make brands top-of-mind and easily accessible for consumers. Think of it as a way more sexy and effective form of email marketing.
How can Facebook Businesses on Messenger be used?
- Distribute practical information: receipt delivery, multimedia-rich shipping information, and order updates.
- Customer service: this will be a blessing or a nightmare, depending on how top-notch your customer service team is. Facebook has partnered with Zendesk and will use their Zopim chat product to ensure scalable and responsive service via the messaging app. Of course, your company will need the significant human resource, training and financial investment to bring this technology to life. FastCompany predicts the unreliable human element will eventually be replaced with artificial intelligence as the technology becomes better at natural language processing.
- Sell, sell, sell: this new functionality puts a big onus on brands to consider the user experience when developing their communication strategies for the channel. There is simultaneously an opportunity for brands to share product news / discounts / special offers AND a risk for brands to bombard the user with too much irrelevant information, thereby driving customers away from engaging on the platform. Brands will need to start softly and test and learn for most effective volume, cadence, and style of communication.
David Marcus, Head of Facebook Messenger, when explaining the new functionality said “we wanted businesses to be first-class citizens, like people.”
Let’s remember that citizenship comes with guiding principles and a responsibility to respect and be considerate of other citizens. Marketers: if you are going to accept this citizenship then make sure you understand, and abide by, the (unwritten) rules.
How do you start?
Facebook Businesses on Messenger is currently only available to retailers Everlane and Zulily. Sign up here to be the first to know when the functionality is available more broadly.
Will you use Facebook Businesses on Messenger?
As a marketer? As a user? What do you think of the announcement? Let me know in the comments below.
Photo credit: messenger.com/business