From small one-man businesses, through to large multi-nationals, Facebook Messenger is single-handily the most important app for businesses to connect with clientele. Messenger allows businesses to provide customer service, build trust, build community, generate leads and convert to sales.
It is estimated that each month businesses exchange 20 billion messages via Facebook Messenger. On top of this, a global survey found that 75% of Facebook and Instagram users want to be able to message a business and 64% of people across all age groups have said they would prefer to connect with a business via Messenger over phone or email1. In the past 12 months alone, business to customer engagement on Messenger grew by 40%, and this figure is only expected to rise, exponentially1.
With the recent Apple iOS changes and the challenge Facebook and Instagram advertising has when users move beyond these platforms, it makes sense that Facebook want Businesses and Marketers to keep clientele and prospective clientele inhouse. At last week’s Facebook F8 Refresh Conference (their annual Developers conference), exciting announcements about new soon-to-be-released tools and features centred largely around Messenger for Businesses.
“Our vision is for messaging to be the primary way people and businesses communicate,” Facebook’s VP of Business Messaging, Emile Litvak @ F8 Refresh, June 2nd, 2021.
Facebook acknowledges to grow in this area it needs to be as “…convenient, unobtrusive, and personalized as possible.”
So, expect to see new features rolling out over the coming months including new technology called ‘Facebook Connect’ which minimises login steps users make to converse with businesses, and new Messenger templates, to help improve the customer experience.
With all the time and money that the Facebook team are dedicating to this space, there is no doubt that the future of commerce is conversational. So as a business owner, you need to ensure you are using Messenger to its full potential to keep with competition and meet user’s expectations.
Some Tips to improve Messenger for your Club
Are you currently utilizing Facebook Messenger to connect with both your current clientele and prospective clientele?
Here are some quick things you can action immediately to up your Messenger game and tap into the 75% of Facebook and Instagram users that want to connect with Businesses like yours, via this platform.
1. The ‘Send Message Button’
Set the ‘Send Message’ button on your Facebook Business page (the Message button is automatically placed on your Instagram profile). That way, when someone lands on your page they easily see how to connect with you to fulfil their enquiry.
- Hover over the button underneath your cover photo
- Click ‘Edit’ and click ‘Send Messages’
- You will then be promoted to set some ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ and their automated replies. Consider questions such as ‘Can I see the latest group fitness timetable?’ or ‘Can I book in for a reassessment?’ for current members, but also questions such as ‘What are your membership prices?’ and ‘How do I sign up to your gym?’ for prospective members too.
2. Call To Action
Make sure the Send Message button is on every post.
If it’s an organic post aimed at current members, encourage those members to converse with you, to ask questions/receive advice, encouragement, support, or to just be able to share a quick gif or meme and feel that they are a valued member of a community.
If it’s a paid posts being deployed to prospective members, using the Messenger Objective and ‘Send Message‘ CTA to garner and nurture leads (rather than pushing them offsite) is a great strategy. As mentioned earlier, with the iOS updates it is increasingly difficult to track users beyond the Facebook and Instagram platforms, especially when using third party websites. So keep those leads inhouse and convert them from interested in your club to signed members through Messenger conversations by being friendly, welcoming and non-intimidating.
3. Quick Replies
This is possibly the greatest challenge for small business owners. Managing a work life balance, as well as Social Media engagement 24/7. But there is no denying the fact, that quick replies convert.
Most users expect Messenger to be ‘chat like’ and for their queries to be responded to within 15 minutes. And, in the health and fitness industry we know that it is a very small window between a hot lead and a cold one.
Unfortunately, as more businesses use Messenger and bigger businesses with more man or tech power, there will higher expectations from users that they receive responses quickly.
When not available you can set auto messages (see more on that below). This is acceptable for out-of-hours. But during business and shoulder hours of 6am to 9am and 6pm to 9pm consider ways you can ensure messages can responded to quickly. Be it rostering on staff members or outsourcing to a Social Media Community Manager.
We recommend the Facebook Business Suite App so you can receive messages, real-time, on your mobile device to allow you to field enquiries as they are received.
4. Auto Replies
Facebook and Instagram Messenger auto replies can be helpful for beginning conversations, potential customers (for paid ads), frequently asked questions and out-of-hours auto replies. Note that Facebook and Instagram Messages can all be managed (including auto replies) in the one space. Ensure you have correctly connected these via your inbox.
Go to your Facebook Inbox and click on Automatic Replies. Ensure each of these are all personalised to your club or service, your hours, your facilities, what you have to offer, etc. It’s amazing how many businesses have never tailored these and have ill-fitting auto replies, which is often the first interaction for potential clientele.
Understand though, that auto-replies (and third-party bots) at this stage cannot fully replicate the ‘human’ experience, especially in the health and fitness industry where questions and queries are widely varied and rarely generic.
And remember, all our current clients have FREE access to the help of our Digital Marketing Team between campaigns. If you need help ensuring your Messenger is optimised or need help with strategies to covert messenger leads to sales, please be in touch.
written by Hannah Robertson, Head of Social Media @ CFM