Direct messaging is rapidly emerging as a valuable channel to address service issues, support peer-to-peer communications and create stronger relationships with brands.
Often overshadowed by social media, messaging and chat have the benefit of establishing a direct digital contact between consumer and company, whether to deal with a cable outage, modify an overseas travel itinerary, notify someone a package arrived or pass along timely information to a colleague.
Email has most of the same virtues, but users associate messaging with immediacy. While people periodically check their email, they tend to respond more quickly to messaging apps. That explains why Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp both boast 1.3 billion monthly active users and Slack is used by 3 million people daily.
The evolution of messaging, including as a business channel, is evidenced by Facebook’s growing investment in Messenger, which is now host for 65 million businesses.
Dylan Sellberg of Hubspot in a blog post on Medium wrote, “2018 is the year for businesses to engage with customers through messaging. Because it’s not about what your business wants – it’s about what your customers want.” Sellberg shared examples of how companies are leveraging Messenger:
- Sephora uses Facebook Messenger to streamline their booking process and secure more bookings.
- Soul Space Media generated 11,000 Facebook Messenger subscribers for 13 cents each.
- 1–800-Flowers found that 70 percent of its chatbot orders were from first-time customers.
- Electro house DJ Hardwell teases new songs, livestreams events and engage with fans through Facebook Messenger, which is his brand’s top traffic driver.
- Love Your Melon announced its new line of caps via sponsored posts on Messenger, and saw a 14X return on investment.
- Hur Nusrat, a Bangladeshi fashion retailer running its business exclusively through Facebook, used Messenger to triple monthly sales in the course of a year.
The four assets Sellberg sees in messaging include speed, familiarity, convenience and industry forces, which he says are pushing consumers away from traditional channels such as disruptive technology, social media algorithms and concerns about false-flag players. Tine Thygesen, writing for Forbes, added that in addition to convenient, messaging is “inexpensive, personal and instant.” For businesses, it is also cost-effective.
“Offering messaging in service situations enables a customer service representative to answer questions pertinent to the purchase decision and give personal and timely response to time-critical questions,” according to Thygesen. “As the nature of messaging communication is to-the-point, it is much less time consuming than phone calls, also because they are able to communicate with multiple customers at the same time.” Increasing numbers of consumers regard direct messaging as an important service for brands to offer.
The immediacy of messaging matches well with mobile devices, which increasingly is the platform consumers use to engage with brands. Marketers can take some heart that messaging relies on direct contact, not fresh content.
“Messaging has arrived,” Sellberg advises brands, “and it’s time to determine how to leverage it to your business’ advantage.”