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Sending the right message: How brands are using Facebook Messenger

Big brands such as Lego, Sephora and Qantas are now embracing Facebook Messenger as a platform to connect with customers, as 73 per cent of Australians have communicated with businesses via direct messaging and 29 per cent have contacted a brand to find information they couldn’t view on their website

According to new stats from the social media giant, 700,000 local businesses are active on Messenger each month and in October last year, 10 billion messages were sent each month between businesses and people, which has since doubled in the last six months.

“Say you want to go out and find information from a retailer and you can’t be arsed getting on the phone, because it’s a nuisance and it takes forever and you don’t have time to go to the store. Messenger takes that friction away,” group industry director at Facebook Paul McCrory told Inside Retail.

“You can quickly connect, get your answers, be serviced, buy the product or whatever it may be. People are dictating what’s happening in the platform because they don’t want friction in their lives for processes that they can get easier service on.”

According to Facebook. Australia has one of the highest percentages of people using both Facebook and Messenger. Similarly, the volume of the messages sent either as businesses or people is one of the highest in the world on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, 27 per cent have messaged a business prior to making a purchase in the past month and 27 per cent have messaged to receive an immediate response to a query.

“Now is the new norm. We’re busy, we’re on the go, we want stuff now and so the expectation is that if you message a business, that you have an adequate response time. If the business gets back to you instantly, you’re hooked in. Straight away, you’ve got a great impression,” said McCrory.

“If they say they’ll get back to you within the hour and they do, again, that’s an expectation.

But if someone messages a business and you don’t have that expectation built in, you’ve kind of lost the person.”

How to make it work for you

While brands are able to use Facebook Messenger as a way to simply answer customer queries, other options also include creating chatbots, Click to Messenger ads or Messenger ads to connect with customers.

Streetwear brand Culture Kings recently used Facebook Messenger to not only respond to customer service enquiries, but to create two advertising campaigns to promote Black Friday and Click Frenzy, specifically aimed at their Messenger audiences.

“What we expected to achieve for this campaign was a 1200 per cent ROI, which was what we usually receive through any other campaign,” said James Wastell, social media co-ordinator at Culture Kings.

“But to achieve a 5000 per cent ROI was really something that blew our minds. Hands down, the personalisation is my favourite factor and if you’re looking to market in the future, being able to personalise to your market one-to-one is extremely important.”

Meanwhile, Lego created a chatbot called Ralph the Giftbot on top of Facebook Messenger, which navigates customers through their sales journey by offering personalised recommendations and seamless transactions within the platform, rather than customers needing to click through the brand’s website.

To reach holiday shoppers, Lego ran click-to-messenger ads on Facebook and Instagram and as a result, the return was six times the ad spend in certain markets, the conversion rate was three times higher than other conversion-based ads and the campaign was 33 per cent lower per conversion compared to other ads.

Sephora created a booking interface to help drive traffic for in-store events and required five fewer steps for shoppers to make schedule an appointment. This led to an 11 per cent higher booking rate.

A human experience

While some believe that customers still prefer to talk to humans rather than chatbots, especially when it comes to more complicated requests, many companies use chatbots to handle simple, frequently asked questions, said McCrory. Once the bot gets to a certain point, a (human) customer service agent usually takes over.

“It’s important to be where your customers are and your customers are in Messenger. Most retailers are there already, they’re getting more sophisticated and building more experiences now. Ask yourself, what is your business challenge? Then built the Messenger experience around that,” suggested McCrory.

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