According to Facebook, this year, more than 330 million people connected with a small business on Messenger for the first time. Facebook calls that a good start.
Just in time for Small Business Saturday, November 25, Facebook Messenger has launched several new small and medium-size business-focused initiatives including a chatbot makeover contest — supported by data about the increase in messaging and its effectiveness in connecting with customers and driving results.
To show the effectiveness of chatbots and Messenger, Facebook commissioned Nielsen research, which found that messaging is now the most frequently used form of communication across regions. Messenger is the only messaging app used by more than half the population across all age-groups, with 58% of people who use Messenger saying they use the app every day.
A blog post further explains the SMB initiatives, including the bot makeover contest:
Messenger for Small Businesses: Making Business Personal
One of the things that makes small businesses so special is how personal they are. When you walk into your local bakery or stop by your corner bodega, it’s not just about the box of cookies you need for your last-minute dinner party or the carton of milk you’re picking up for your morning coffee, it’s about the people behind the business, and the relationship you have built with them over the years.
While many small businesses still have a community of local, loyal customers who frequent their establishment regularly, many others rely heavily on technology to reach their audience, with an increasing number of small businesses building their livelihoods entirely online. Technology has helped businesses large and small reach more people than ever before, but sometimes digital marketing can feel like it’s missing that personal connection. Messaging changes that.
We are also seeing certain industries really take off on the platform, with professional services, retail, public good and local entertainment taking the lead.
Today we are announcing the launch of Messenger’s first ‘bot makeover contest’ in partnership with bot development platform ManyChat.
Three winners will receive a makeover to their Messenger experience courtesy of ManyChat, along with consultation from our team of Messenger experts here at Facebook. Each winner will also receive $5,000 in ad credits to be used to drive discovery of their new and improved Messenger experience. Submissions are open from November 20, 2017 through Monday, December 4, 2017 at 8:00pm PST/11:00pm EST, with the winners being announced in mid-December.
Businesses looking to enhance their Messenger experience can:
• Turn messaging on for your Facebook Page by visiting Page Settings and consider adding the Send Message call-to-action button to your Page.
• Respond to customers using Pages Manager App, and set up instant replies and away messages to manage expectations of your customers.
• Use the customer chat plug-in to connect with customers on your site and in Messenger. It’s free to use and easy to install. • Simply integrate the customer chat plugin into your site, and start chatting.
• Once set up, small businesses can encourage conversation using organic and paid entry-points.
• Submit your Messenger experience to be included in the Discover tab, a place where people can browse and find the businesses they love.
• Use Messenger codes to help people discover your business. • • Print out your code and let customers scan it to start a conversation.
• Use ads to drive discovery; a little investment can go a long way. Click-to-Messenger ads can run on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger to open conversations, while sponsored messages help you re-engage customers you’re already chatting with on Messenger.