Will Facebook messenger for business make it harder for brands to convert customers?

Mobile messaging is currently booming, so taking full advantage of it is becoming increasingly important. E-marketers have predicted double digit growth for mobile messaging users by 2018. Currently, Facebook claims that 900 million people are using Facebook messenger each month, and over 1 billion messages are being sent between people and businesses every month.

As usual, Facebook is at the forefront of this tread. They are continuously integrating user friendly tools and features into Messenger to make it easier for customers to connect with the businesses they love.

The most recent updates to Facebook Messenger include:

  • Usernames
  • Messenger links
  • Messenger codes
  • Messenger greetings

Usernames

Facebook is now taking the unique and familiar parts of Twitter and Snapchat and applying it to messenger for business. Pages will now have unique usernames that will appear under their title page. Like a Twitter handle, they will begin with an @ symbol. Usernames will make it easier for people to find their favorite brands and businesses on messenger.

Messenger Links

These usernames will also act as a clickable link that will immediately open a message thread with your business to promote easy and convenient communication on a messaging platform that people are already comfortable and familiar with.

Messenger Codes

Messenger codes work in the same way by incorporating Snapchat-like scannable codes. People will also be able to scan the code with the camera in their phones wherever you place it – websites, tv advertisements, billboards, etc. This feature will also immediately open a message thread with your business.

Messenger Greetings 

Also new are messenger greetings. These greetings are customizable notes that give businesses a humanistic tone, and encourage communication with the brand. These greetings will appear in the thread even before any messages are sent, welcoming the connection between customer and business.

The common theme of these features is convenience, and ease. In fact, words relating to convenience, ease, and speed were used over 10 times in the short [Facebook post] explaining the new features.

The increase in communication, and convenience is likely to boost competition amongst brands, making it harder for one brand to convince loyal consumers of another brand to make the switch. Businesses who engage with their customers are more likely build loyalty. If all brands begin strengthening the bonds with their customers at the same time, you can see where things will begin to get tricky for e-marketers.

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Twitter poll times are now customizable

Gone are the days when Twitter polls would last 24 hours by default with no option to shorten or extend them. The newest Twitter update, available on their android, iOS and web services, allows users to customize the time frame in which polls run. Users can choose a poll length as short as 5 minutes for immediate audience opinions, or one that lasts up to seven days for more serious inquiries.

Twitter first launched the polls feature back in October of last year without the option to customize the length before publishing. Since then, Twitter has claimed the polls feature has been incredibly popular even despite its falling stock price. Since the feature as been added, 1.7 billion votes have been cast in total.

The best part about the update is that creating the poll is done in exactly the same way as before. So do not worry about having to relearn the process of building one of these new customizable polls. The only difference now is a small clock icon, found at the bottom of the app, that allows you to set your desired poll time. In addition to customizable poll times, the feature also gives you the option to include a minimum or 2 and a maximum of 4 answer choices for your poll question.

Here is a quick snapshot (taken from my own iOS Twitter app) of what the new feature looks like:

screenshop

To be honest, the update is not really that groundbreaking. In fact, it really is just a minimal change. However, what’s important to remember here is that companies need to be aware of the benefits of incorporating polls into their regular tweets – especially if they are not already.

For one, polls (with our without time customization) provide an easy way to interact with your followers and boost engagement. Polls make the fans of your brand feel like their opinions matter – and they do matter! They are a fantastic research tool to gather insight as to what will make your followers happy. Whether its planning an event and gaining a perception of the number of people who are planning to attend, to what sort of food they would like to see served, to their opinion on a new product. The data brands can gather from creating simple poll can be incredibly helpful.

Polls can also help to increase your number of Twitter followers, which ultimately leads to an increase in brand visibility and presence on social media. Because the polls stand out from regular tweets, users who are searching amongst endless tweets and hashtags will be drawn to your poll based on appearance alone.

So my only advice at the moment is to go out and create a poll to see what sort of buzz you can create amongst your followers. Even if it asks them what sort of content they would like to see you tweet about more.

Speaking of, lets do a little poll of our own, shall we?
What platform updates do you like hearing about most? Post your answer the comments below.

Will Facebook’s Canvas transform Facebook ads?

Canvas is the exciting new advertising tool built directly into Facebook. It allows marketers to create media-rich advertisements that submerge the viewer into a unique, full-screen, interactive experience. It literally combines all the elements that qualify as good advertising in a single place that nearly 167 million North Americans visit daily.

The self-serve tool is designed specifically with mobile phones, and advertisers in mind. The best part about it is that its incredibly user friendly giving advertisers the chance to really get creative without getting too technical.

From the viewers side, Canvas ads can be identified by a small upwards pointing arrow that will switch to the full-screen experience when clicked.

The Canvas ad experience will add a whole new dimension to advertising with Facebook, so it’s crucial that marketers take full advantage of its capabilities. Honestly, they have no reason not to because its completely free to use. On top of that, it is Flexible for any objective. Canvas gives brands have the ability to creatively achieve any objective they’ve defined for themselves. And by using such quick loading, media-rich content, viewers are more likely to remember Canvas ads.

Early tests by Facebook have shown that users view Canvas ads longer than traditional Facebook advertisements with 53% of users viewing at least half of it. Also, like regular Facebook ads, different versions of the tool can be used to target different demographics.

This video gives a brief insight as to what Canvas ads look like if you haven’t already seen one.

Share your experiences using Canvas or viewing Canvas ads in a comment below.

Snapchat speaks to niche markets with On-Demand Geofilters

Users love Snapchat for its authenticity, and exclusivity making it an incredibly effective social media marketing tool. With the app, brands are able to form emotional connections with their fans by posting raw and uncut content. They are also able create excitement and buzz with things like secret promo-codes and perks for users who view their stories.

Recently, Snapchat has added to its uniqueness as a marketing tool by announcing a feature called On-Demand Geofilters. The feature basically gets users to do your advertising for you.

What it is:

On-Demand Geofilters are personally designed sticker filters that can be added to users’ snap images and videos as a way of promoting businesses, places, or events. The filters can be purchased for as little as $5, but vary based on different factors like size, duration, and geographic area.

How to use it:

According to Snapchat’s blog and the following video, using the new feature is quite simple. First you create a filter using an image editor. Templates for creating a design are also available for those of us, like myself, who are a bit less Photoshop savvy. Next, you map out the geographic area, dates, and times in which the filter will become available to users. Finally, before anything goes live, you must submit your Geofilter for review by the Snapchat team, and if everything goes according to plan they will handle the rest.

Submission guidelines can be found here.

Why its important to SMM:

Say you are opening a new restaurant and want as many people as possible to know about it. By using On-Demand Geofilters, users who are already aware of your opening will be able to add snaps of your food, drink etc., and add the filter you’ve created. This really is the ultimate word of mouth advertising, as snaps hold the possibility of being seen by numerous other users.

I have yet to actually encounter one, myself, but my Snapchat addiction says its only a matter of time.

Has anyone witnessed any Geofilters yet? Leave a comment below!