Let's start with a reality check. The reality is that, no matter what business you're in or what position you hold within a company, the many challenges of 2020 and the resulting changes in the economy post-pandemic will not allow for things to stay the same. The key is to accept this new reality and to embrace and implement a simple concept of ABC: Always be consuming…whether that means you are consuming new knowledge, new technical skills, or relevant data points, ABC. It is as simple as that.
A board member at one of the companies we invested in asked where they should focus their ad budget for the next year. I responded that one area that you can consume a new skill set and new knowledge is around the use of Social Media for more than just checking in and catching up. For example, many people don't realize the power behind Facebook Messenger and how it gives brands the chance to interact one-on-one in a direct conversation with their current and prospective audiences on a large scale. And there are several other platforms from Instagram to LinkedIn he could in a similar manner. Still, I suggested focusing on Facebook Messenger based on my understanding of their audience and the demographics behind it.
It's Not Just for Lead-Gen Anymore
Businesses should understand and embrace these technologies as an enhancement to the whole brand's relationship with their audience, not just as a lead generation or customer feedback tool.
When considering a Messenger integration into your company's brand strategy, follow these steps for the highest level of success:
Target new potential customers using a variety of audience data, including Facebook's audience targeting, or by working with a people-based marketing partner, like Oracle or BrandLync. Both use Identity Resolution to build hyper-local and highly-targeted audiences that can be uploaded and focused on Facebook. And the best part is that you can invite these audiences to contact your brand directly through Messenger.
The best part about using a service like this is consumer privacy and security that comes with it. Any matched or targeted data will be returned and encrypted into a secure "SHA256 HASH", which is Facebook's current standard for encrypted uploads, and will make it easier to locate your audience online across many platforms, not just Facebook.
Once you've got all the above pieces in place and the communication begins, the easiest way to win rapport with people who interact with your Messenger is for the chat representative to become their advocate. They need to speak in a language congruent with your brand identity. The chat representative should take the customer's side if there's a support issue to ensure the people messaging you feel heard.
Finally, people are very forthcoming with giving information and permission to market to them in a setting like Messenger. This permission is an excellent way for businesses to interact with people who are often happy to give you their email addresses or phone numbers to be contacted by a member of a sales team. You must send the Messenger transcript or relevant notes to the salesperson who will be contacting your customers. Require them to review it before reaching out to the customer, so they can continue the same dialog and not have to repeat things that have already been asked and answered in the Messenger conversation. Consumers find this very irritating, and it can do more harm than good.
Remember, when consumers feel heard by an empathetic ear or when they are delivered an alternative solution that solves their needs, the brand impressions and micro-moments of relevance are enhanced. The entire interaction leads to more reliable and longer-lasting brand awareness and consideration. And that leads to stronger topline and bottom-line revenue.
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