We all know the old saying, “Don’t shoot the messenger” a term founded in times of war to protect the safety of those delivering and receiving enemy communications. Today it has less of a life-threatening implication, but a boss reacting badly to difficult news might still be responsible for corporate collateral damage.

Fire Up FB Messenger & WhatsApp

Enough of the negative talk though, this is an entirely positive reference to current communication trends and how I believe we are mostly failing to capitalise on the power of the latest messaging tools.

In private, we all use SMS text, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and DM via Twitter or send a note privately via Instagram. We’re comfortable chatting digitally with family and friends in this way, sharing photos, amusing gifs (technically pronounced Jiffs don’t you know) to punctuate a particular mood and generally allow others to participate in the minutiae of our daily lives.  It’s true to say we’re far more comfortable with digital communications and this has somewhat marginalised good old e-mail and for personal communication somewhat left it out in the cold.

Talking of cold, GDPR heralded something of a frosty wake up call for businesses who’d become rather complacent about their flabby, irregularly checked and verified e-mail lists. Some of you may have faced the daunting task of “starting again” to build your prospect database or at best felt obliged to send one of those…”I know you’re sick of these e-mails but…” communique’s flagging up the shiny new privacy policy. I’m not suggesting that e-mail has had its day, it still shoulders a huge workload for businesses across the globe. I’m certain it will continue to do so for some time to come and it will be a long while before we wave goodbye to the overflowing inboxes, spam and oversized attachments that clog up our portion of the cloud.

So, what’s the point of this article? I hear you ask.

The point is there are a number of very positive developments happening within the aforementioned world of messenger apps and they are certainly worth considering for your business.

WhatsApp – Is launching a new feature for group admins which allows you to simply broadcast messages without the fear of being embroiled in a days-worth of small talk. This is an ideal option for any business that wants to communicate with trusted customers, clients. You could send discrete special offers, news or technical information to improve their experience. Equally powerful if you have multiple channels, sectors to communicate with and each sector head could take responsibility for sending tailored messages to their respective groups. By way of specific example a law firm could create a WhatsApp Group for HR managers to share breaking news covering updates affecting employment legislation. That’s just one example, I’m sure you can think of many others relevant to your business.

How to: To enable this setting, open “Group Info,” tap Group Settings > Send Messages and select “Only Admins.” This setting is rolling out to all users around the world on the latest supported versions of the app. [WhatsApp]

Facebook Messenger – FBM has many commercial applications, from adverts to autobot responders but if you’re planning an event and want to increase the reach of your invitation you may consider Facebook’s messengers code.

To introduce the prospect of communicating on Facebook messenger for the first time your contact e-mail list could be issued with your own FB messenger code, (that QR code looking circle around a profile picture). Once scanned the code can provide all the details they need to sign up for the event and receive updates via the Zuckerberg Express. I know they’ve had some bad press recently but you’ll be knocked out by the response rates once customers migrate from e-mail.

How to: Messenger Codes are codes people can scan to start a conversation with your business on Messenger.

You can create a Messenger Code from your Facebook Page or Profile, and you can share them in several places:

  • Your website
  • EMail
  • Your Facebook Pages
  • Fliers, posters and stickers
  • Anywhere you often market your Page or business

You can find your Messenger Code in two ways:

For FB profiles:

  • Open Messenger on your iOS or Android phone.
  • Tap People and then tap All.
  • Tap Scan Code.
  • Tap My Code to view your code.
  • To scan a code, tap People and then tap Scan Code.

For FB Pages:

  • Go to your Page.
  • Click Messages.
  • Click the tool tip to download and share your Messenger code

The stats are stark. Typical open rates for e-mail sit at around 20-25% for a good campaign. Compare this to Facebook messenger campaigns that regularly achieve a 90% open rate. With the opportunity to secure invites via the app and then share useful information just prior, even during and certainly afterwards its one way to engage.

These are just two examples of how the messenger apps are developing and evolving to cater for the commercial world. As long as the communications stay relevant, not spammy, or too hard sell you should be able to develop stronger, loyal connections through these apps. Handle with care and the return will be worth it.

If you’d like to discuss these or other marketing ideas please feel free to connect on WhatsApp and you can join a group I’ve created called Marketing Matters.

Don’t Shoot….Fire Up the Messenger
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