The #1 Thing You Must Do Right Now

If you are a Facebook page Admin, listen up and take some notes. Changes are coming to the Facebook Messenger platform starting in January 2019 and they may not have reached you yet, but trust me – you’ll be glad that we did!

As of 1 January 2019, only approved Facebook pages will be able to send non-promotional subscription messages through Messenger. With Messenger proving itself in terms cut through, this is an important feature to have in the medium term.

If you haven’t applied or been approved for subscription messaging permissions by the time the new year rolls around, now is the time to do it!

What is subscription messaging and why should you care? 

We’re glad you asked. 😏

Facebook subscription messaging allows you to send messages to users directly into their Messenger inbox. Users must opt-in before you can contact them, but this is simple as they are considered “opted-in” once they send you a first message.

Subscription messaging is one of the 17 different types of messaging allowed on the Messenger platform and it consists of three different aspects: News, Productivity, and Personal Trackers.

  • For news, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Use this to send information updates and recent events.
  • Use the productivity aspect to allow users to manage their personal productivity. This could include things such as paying bills, completing personal tasks, and receiving reminders.
  • Personal Tracker messages should be used to inform people about things such as their personal health and fitness.

Subscription messages cannot include promotional content. This means that sending sale announcements, coupons, deals, or anything similar is off the table.

However, if you run a business where you regularly send out newsletters through email, ie. if you are B2B, you should definitely apply for subscription messaging permissions on Facebook before it’s too late. Being able to send your audience content on a regular basis ensures you’ll stay at the front of their minds, just like you do with email, the difference is – that people actually open them on Messenger!

We are not dissing email marketing here, it’s just that Facebook Messenger marketing is outperforming email in terms of open rates and engagement. Read on to discover just how Facebook Messenger can bring value to your business and what steps you need to take to bring it to life.

Get Subscription Messaging Set Up

Applying takes no more than a few minutes and is simple. Head over to your Facebook page to get started.

Click on your page SettingsMessenger Platform. Scroll down to Advanced Messaging Features and click on Request.

Facebook settingsSubscription messaging

You will be taken to an application with the following questions:

  1. Select the type of messages your Page will send from the three options: news, productivity or personal tracker.
  2. Provide additional details, describing the information and updates services your chatbot provides.
  3. Give 2 examples of subscription messages your Page will send.

 

Just make sure the examples you provide do not include promotional material as you probably won’t get approved if you do.

Your request will be sent off to be reviewed by a real person at Facebook so it might take some time to get approved. All the more reason to get this done right away and not just before the deadline of 31 December! If you don’t get approved, try again! It might take a few tries to get the application right.

So now that you know all about Facebook subscription messaging, time to get familiar with the new benefits of Facebook Messenger Marketing.

As technology changes, so does consumer behaviour. This means that businesses must evolve as well if they want to capture the shifting preferences of their audience. Now more than ever, people want convenience and speed, especially when searching for information. This is where Facebook Messenger Bots come in.

What are Facebook Messenger Bots?

Don’t let the name put you off! They are the single most powerful way of reigniting your Facebook audience, and to simulate real 1-2-1 conversation, at scale.

Facebook Messenger bots live on the Facebook Messenger platform and they are used by switched-on businesses to automatically communicate with their audience using AI (artificial intelligence).

Why use Facebook Messenger Bots?

1. Like Email – Only Better.

Enjoy open rates like the 1990’s!

Messenger bots can be programmed to respond to questions immediately and with personalised answers so that it feels like a human conversation. Or, they can be used to drip feed messaging directly into people’s Facebook inboxes, rather like an email newsletter.  The difference is that Messenger gets an average open rate of 80% versus 20-25% for most emails. There are roughly 1.3 billion active users on Facebook Messenger every month so being able to reach your customers and have real-time conversations with them without leaving the platform is extremely beneficial.

email vs messenger open rates

One of the other major benefits of Facebook Messenger bots is that you can use them to build your list of subscribers. When a user sends you a message, it is essentially them opting-in to receive sponsored ads from you. Anyone can benefit from this list-building method, but it is especially helpful for those of you who boast a sizeable Facebook audience, but don’t have email lists yet.

2. Customer Service

Nowadays, we tend to want more, while giving up less to get it. People want to be able to find answers to their problems quickly but without having to search for themselves. Messenger bots can provide that element of immediate customer support, while still letting the user feel like they’re in control of a self-serve process. Consumers want both this feeling of independence and to feel taken care of by a company.

Bots can also help cut down on time spent answering the same basic questions over and over again, leaving more time and availability for actual human-to-human customer support to tackle the more complicated questions that might come up.

Messenger bots can not only answer questions, but they can also be used to sell products and services as well. They can be useful at all stages of the purchase process, from making product recommendations based on browsing behaviour to allowing you to make purchases directly from Messenger. As great as Messenger bots are though, make sure you’re not relying on them (and only them!) for customer support. They should supplement your support strategy, not completely take it over! (It’s rather like social media – it’s should be part of your marketing strategy, but not the sole way of reaching your audience)

3. Break Through The Noise

Because Messenger bots are still relatively new, there are only around 300,000 chatbots in operation, out of the 70 million business pages on Facebook, which means that early adopters are able to break through the noise in their markets, reach their audience directly, without facing a ton of competition.

Are you an early adopter? I think you are!

4. They’re Fun!

Another great reason to use bots is because they are fun! Sephora’s chatbot has gained a lot of attention recently because of the interactive try-on feature which lets users see what specific make-up products will look like on them.

Sephora messenger bot

5. They’re Smart!

Marketers can use bots to make offers more effectively by analysing past purchasing behaviour and tailoring offers to complement user activity. For example, if  someone has booked a hotel around Christmas in the past, a messenger bot is able to contact them with an offer for hotels and travel in the weeks leading up to the December. Because the entire chatbot interaction with customers takes place on Messenger, it feels more personal and less like a marketing and sales message, which can come off as disingenuous.

commerce bot chatbot

So are you ready to get on board the Messenger bus early?

Just do it!

The good news is that you don’t need to be an experienced coder to build a bot that will take your Facebook page to the next level. As more and more businesses are seeing the benefit of messenger bots, bot-building tools are emerging. Some, like ManyChat, were first to market, are cheap, and somewhat easy to set up. On ManyChat, you simply drag and drop different elements into the chatbot builder and within minutes you will have a functioning bot. This tool has a free version but the Pro version offers more useful features and it’s still very affordable at $15/month.

ManyChat bot builder

Here at Brightspark, we like MobileMonkey. It’s a platform built for marketers to build bots, so it’s more than drag and drop, it offers machine learning to really hone the language used by your audience. Simply drag-and-drop question types, forms, gifs, videos, or any other element offered, into the bot-builder. MobileMonkey will take you to the next step in seamlessly building an interactive bot based on the type of widget you select. It will let you know of any errors you make along the way to help build a bot that’s both easy to make and use.

Tip: if you sign up for any of the MobileMonkey webinars, you’ll usually get offered a discount for annual subscription that works out around $9 a month! Or you could just go on to the platform now and pay $19 a month.

Early Evolving Best Practice For Bots

  • Be transparent about the fact that you are using a bot. While you want the interaction to be human-like, don’t try to conceal from people that they are not actually talking to a human.
  • When building your bot, keep in mind that one of the major reasons people like bots is the speed at which they can find the information they’re searching for. The user shouldn’t have to go through tons of layers of questions to get to their answer so lead your customer to the point quickly.
  • Keep your text messages short.  1 or 2 sentences max.
Some of the best bot examples we’ve found…

Sephora – through three different Messenger Bots, Sephora’s chatbots let users book makeovers, get product reviews and recommendations, virtually “try-on” different makeup products, and much more. Sephora reports an 11% increase in makeover bookings and high engagement with the bots, and their continued evolution shows that the make-up retail giant is deriving substantial benefits from bots.

sephora chatbot

Smoke BBQ – this restaurant in Athlone, Ireland uses its chatbot to highlight the menu, make reservations, and showcase yummy food porn pictures. If the user likes what they see, they can make a booking without ever leaving Messenger!

Smoke bbq botsmoke bbq chatbotsmoke bbq

Note that this is something we did for our client, it’s fun, and brand evocative, and is a great way to show interested customers images that will confirm their wish to book.

Travelocity – With this chatbot, you can book, manage, or simply search for travel information and accommodation. The bot makes it quick and convenient for users to find options that work for them.

travelocity bottravel chatbottravelocity bot

 

With so many easy-to-use tools available and different ways to integrate it, there is no reason to put off making a Messenger bot for your Facebook page. With more and more people disengaging from the Facebook news feed, nimble companies are moving to Messenger to keep their business in front of mind of target users. Not only will bots provide value, but jumping on now will make you one of the early adopters in this fast-growing marketing channel.

You heard it here first!

If you think bots are for you, but you’d like a little help getting set up, why not get in touch with us and let’s have a chat about what you have in mind.

We’ll always get back to you within one business day.

 

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