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How to leverage Facebook Messenger for your business

How to leverage Facebook Messenger for your business

When it comes to managing Facebook for your business there’s a lot that can go wrong or be overlooked. Facebook is a platform that’s constantly changing its features and switching the algorithm, almost on a daily basis. Even savvy business owners can find this quite exhausting. But there’s one very important feature that, if left unattended, could cost you a good bit of business – the Facebook Messenger.

If you use Facebook on a personal basis you probably use Facebook Messenger often. It’s a separate app entirely devoted to instant messaging your friends, or in your company’s case, your audience. Although it’s primarily used between friends, more and more customers are opting to message businesses directly to ask questions and resolve issues in a more discreet and timely manner. If you want your business to be more responsive to customers and potentially increase goodwill and leads, then follow these actionable tips.

Use Automatic Messages

Facebook rewards businesses that respond their messages in a timely matter. You might have seen the text on a business’ Facebook page under the About Us heading that reads “typically replies within hour/minutes/etc”. Facebook gathers the average response rate and if it’s 75% or higher they will list it on your page. If you respond less frequently it won’t be made known to the public. It’s beneficial to have your response rate and timing listed because customers will know the average time it will take to reach you. Without that information they may not reach out to you.

Using an auto-responder will not only help you manage incoming messages quickly and professionally, but it will also help keep your response rate and time to desirable levels. There are three auto-responder or messaging features Facebook offers: the “Away Message”, the “Instant Reply” and a “Messenger Greeting”. To get to these options, click on the Messages tab on the top left of your page then go to Settings on the top right. It will then take you to a page that gives you the option to enable these messages.

The Away Message (it’s under the “Stay responsive when you can’t get to your computer or phone”) will let your customers know you are away but will get back to them in a timely matter. You can also turn off the chat in this settings page, so you can be away from the chat for as long as 12 hours. This feature will allow you to maintain a rapid response time while still being able to take a break when needed. However, this is a feature you shouldn’t use too frequently because you want to be perceived as an approachable source.

When you are not away from your phone or computer, consider using an Instant Reply auto-responder. A simple message expressing thanks for reaching out and that you’ve received the message will keep a desired response time but also give you the opportunity to look into their issue and craft a correct answer to their issue.

The Messenger Greeting gives you the ability to personalize the first message a customer will see when they pull up the chat box to message you. If used correctly these automated messages should feel like anything but. When crafting the right message, be sure to use personal details like the customer’s first name, your company’s website or your phone number. Just click the “Add Personalization” button to insert these details. The customized message will make your exchange feel more human to your customer, which is something consumers crave in this highly impersonal digital era. And it’s a very effective way to extend your brand’s image.

Be agile

If your customers are on mobile devices, you should be as well. Be sure to have the Facebook Page Manager downloaded onto your phone. That way you can reach your messages when you are on the go. This is especially helpful for business owners who are not glued to their computer all day.

The Page Manager app is nearly as fully functional as the desktop site. You can schedule posts, go live on Facebook and track analytics.  So adding this app to your phone will not only help you respond to comments within a timely manner (we strongly suggest responding within 24 hours) but it will also allow you to post and interact with fans while you are in the field.

Respond as though others are watching

It might be the case that someone might reach out to your business with a negative review or comment over Facebook messenger. It may be because they want to really let loose or it’s a big enough problem they’d like a direct 1-to-1 conversation with nobody else seeing how it’s being handled. But just because it’s not visible to your entire audience doesn’t mean it can never be. Treat every customer as though the conversation was public, keeping in mind that one bad screen shot can go viral.

If someone from your team is in charge of your company’s Facebook page, make sure they are trained to know when to escalate certain comments or concerns.  You want to provide your customers with relevant and correct information at all times, and sometimes the person responding doesn’t always know the right answer. As long as you’re transparent and willing to help your customers will appreciate you.

Why bother with Facebook Messenger?

Just as responding to your reviews on Facebook we think it’s vital to respond to private messages quickly and professionally. If you want to establish yourself as a thought leader and leading industry professional merely providing great content may not be enough evidence. You need to back up your expertise with an approachable attitude and helpful responses. Without those elements, you’re losing out on connecting with your customers, which is one of the primary goals and benefits of  using social media. Many people, particularly millennials, look for the way in which a company responds to customer issues, complaints and concerns. Unresponsive companies can lose a lot of business, regardless of how talented their staff might be.

If you haven’t figured it out already, social media at its core brings people together to interact and socialize. It’s not just about shouting your message into the internet abyss, it’s also a conversation between you and your audience. Private messages are just another tool with which to communication. If you follow these simple tips, you are well on your way to creating loyalty and strengthening the bond between you and your customers.

Do you struggle to keep up with your Facebook messages and reviews? Does your business need an image overhaul? Call Sara and Rhonda at 610.937.5187 or email info@contentandcreativity.com and the team at C&C can help you manage your reputation and reviews online.

Facebook vs. Periscope: Figuring Out the Right App For Your Live Streams

Facebook vs. Periscope: Figuring Out the Right App For Your Live Streams

Whether you want to document an important event, share a quick tutorial about a new product, or even just field some questions from your audience, live video is a valuable tool for nearly every business. There are a lot of programs and apps out there, but many have fizzled out or left the market entirely, like the once buzz worthy Meerkat app. A few heavy hitters in the live video trend remain – Periscope and Facebook Live Streaming are the most notable. It can be a difficult decision to determine which app would be the most useful for your business, but we will try to help you make sense of it all by comparing these two live broadcasting apps.

Periscope

Periscope is a highly popular app devoted strictly to live streaming video. Users note that it’s easy to use and has features not usually available on other apps. These unique qualities could be the reason for its popularity and over 200 million streams in its first year. After six weeks of being live, Twitter bought Periscope for $86 million dollars.
Users can find your video content by entering your username or finding your stream via a world map. You can stream a video either on your phone or through a GoPro HD camera. Also, you can sketch on the screen while broadcasting. This can help when describing a topic or pointing things out for the audience.
After a live stream, the video is automatically archived on your Periscope profile for 24 hours for replay.

Facebook

Facebook’s live video feature is just one facet of this juggernaut. It’s pretty simple and similar to the usability of Periscope: you record yourself via a smart phone for your followers to tune in and watch. The video of your broadcast will be streamed natively onto Facebook, and whether the user is on a smart phone or computer they will be able to see it.
Most people are aware of how big Facebook has become. As of 2016, there are over 1.7 billion active users using the website, phone or tablet app.

So which one is better?

Facebook and Periscope are both very powerful, but we think one clearly dominates the other. Let’s go over a few features and discuss facets of live video and which app is superior.

Reach – Facebook

This one’s a no-brainer. Facebook is the winner by far! Although Periscope has some serious video stream numbers, their active viewer count is at about the 1 million mark. That’s a low number for a social media platform. The cause of this could be that when people use Periscope they are using it to tune into a specific user. If they only follow a handful of users, they may only use the app a few times a month at most.
The great thing about Facebook is that once you start live streaming, all the followers of your business page will get a notification that you have gone live. Unlike posting video, graphic or text content that garners maybe 7% reach per post, you will alert 100% of your followers of what you’re doing once you live broadcast. This gives you a greater chance to reach and engage followers who may not always see your content.

Customization – Periscope

Periscope allows you to sketch on the video as well as record on other high definition video devices. This is great for those who want to capture higher quality videos. Facebook live video is currently on smart phone only, but will soon be offered on your web browser as well. Still, that might not produce high definition quality videos, and depending upon your business this might be very important.

Archive Ability – Facebook

Periscope only allows you to archive your videos for up to 24 hours on your page. Many users download their video content afterwards and upload them to YouTube to either monetize them or simply just to have them on hand.
On the other hand, Facebook gives you the ability to not only download the video after completion but also allows you to save the video so it will always be on your Facebook page. If you want to keep it strictly as a once watched live-only event, you have that ability as well. These features make Facebook the winner.

Convenience – Facebook

Think of those 1.7 billion active users on Facebook. Now think of the likelihood that most of your fans are on Facebook. If you want to reach the largest chunk of your audience, wouldn’t you want to use Facebook? Using a different app to live stream video might potentially dilute the success of your broadcast.
If you are convinced you need to use Periscope, the one benefit is that you do not need an account to view the live stream. So you can link your Periscope on Facebook and your users can find it there.

Staying Power – Facebook

Let’s face it: Apps may come and go, but Facebook proves to be eternal. Many users have been on Facebook for 10 years and upwards, so to consider it going under anytime soon is highly unlikely. As previously stated, Periscope has a low active user count plus it is owned by a currently flailing Twitter. If it doesn’t become more successful soon, it may fail. When Twitter is sold (soon) Periscope might be dissolved and somehow integrated into Twitter, a la Facebook live video. There are many “IFs” in the future of Periscope that do not apply to Facebook.

Final Verdict

We suggest using the Facebook live video feature. Although it may not have the customizable features Periscope may have, there are many more benefits that make up for what it is lacking.
If you are still curious about Periscope, don’t be afraid to try it out. Periscope may very well be worth it for you and your business. Although we have made an assessment about the app, social media takes a lot of testing and experimenting to find the right marketing mix for your business. So never be afraid to be curious, creative and bold. Good luck!

Ten Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram

Ten Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram

If your business doesn’t have a presence on Instagram, it’s time to reconsider your social media strategy. Here are the top ten reasons why Instagram is right for you.

  1. You need a new way to market to Millennials

The majority of users are in the 18-29 age group and chances are your business services Millennials, whether you know it or not. Due to everyone and their mother (in my case, literally my mother) joining Facebook that platform’s popularity has waned for both the Millennials and Generation Z. It’s not uncommon for members of my generation to be exclusively on Instagram, and since Instagram now has 400 million users and counting this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing anytime soon. So if you don’t have a considerable presence on Instagram you are not effectively reaching the Millennial market.

  1. If you’re looking for more engagement online, visual content is how to get it.

It’s a fact that visual content on any platform receives more likes, comments and shares than plain text. On Instagram visual content, whether it be graphics or video, is paramount. Of course, the caption for the photo or video is very important, but most often a “double tap” happens because the viewer likes what they see.

  1. In need of a digital portfolio? You’re in luck.

Instagram can work for many different types of business’ and industries, whether they offer products or services. For example, many hairdressers and makeup artists use Instagram extensively by posting photos and videos of their work and relevant tips. Ultimately, it turns into an easily accessible, free portfolio for those in the personal services industry.  With the help of relevant hashtags you can easily promote yourself and your work and gain not only a following of potential clients but connect with other colleagues around the world.

These Insta-folios are so effective, that it’s even landed someone a job or two.

  1. You want to connect to your audience, but don’t have a lot of time.

With the help of scheduling software like HootSuite it’s become even easier to create a full range of content for your followers to enjoy. Now you can post from a desktop computer, whereas before Instagram was a purely mobile app.

  1. You want to connect with other businesses in your area (and beyond).

Big businesses often team up on Instagram to expand brand awareness and engagement for both companies. (See #BlueApronXZola!). This is something small businesses should take advantage of as well. Contact other complimentary local or national businesses and ask if they’d be interested in cross promoting. The most popular way of cross promoting is a one-day “Account Takeover”. A takeover usually involves the complimentary business creating branded posts for your Instagram page and visa versa. This can be a win-win for both companies because it creates awareness of your brand in a different but relevant audience.

  1. Uninspired? Get insta-spired.

Instagram is full of inspiring quotes in attractive graphics. Whether you catch one on your photo feed or find one in the explore tab, there’s a quote graphic for everyone! If I’m ever experiencing the dreaded creative block I look to Instagram to find content to curate on my account. Apps like Repost are available for both on Apple and Android. Repost allows you to screenshot the original photo and copy the caption. That way you have a steady flow of content but you’re not stealing someone else’s work.

  1. Need quick and real feedback? Instagram can do that.

With the help of relevant hashtags feedback is just a post away. The best way to get feedback on your Instagram posts, your products, or anything else is to simply ask.

  1. It’s the perfect platform to reach niche markets

It is becoming more and more difficult to get your business noticed on Facebook everyday. If you’re looking for a bigger range of exposure you are required to pony up some cash for it. Fortunately that’s not the case with Instagram. Since such a low percentage of small business owners even Instagram, this platform is wide open for promotions and can provide a wealth of opportunities for your brand.

  1. Looking for more leads?

According to Shopify, Instagram has the second largest average order value.  Simply put, Instagram users are buying more high ticket items than every other social platform other than Polyvore.  So if you are struggling get leads that turn into sales, Instagram would be the platform for you to try. Not only do Instagram users buy more often than almost other platform users, but they spend more money as well.

  1. You can (finally) advertise on Instagram.

Instagram was bought out by Facebook in 2012, but just recently has Instagram started to venture into paid advertisements and posts. Advertising on Instagram is now available for all businesses, no matter what size and budget, through Facebook’s Power Editor. This is a great advantage for businesses who want to advertise on Instagram and Facebook concurrently since you will be able to view the metrics of both ads on the same platform. There are three different types of advertising spots: a carousel ad (multiple photos you can swipe left to see more), a single photo and a 30 second video. Like Facebook’s ads there are different projected goals and budgets to choose from.

 

So now you know the reasons why Instagram is right for your business. Are you still unsure you have enough time to use it to your business’ full potential? Then it’s time to call Content + Creativity! Our seasoned team will help you craft a clever, cohesive brand message that will span all your social platforms. Call us at 610.937.5178 or email us at info@contentandcreativity.com and we can discuss a custom plan to fit your business’ needs.