From the acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014 to forced downloads of Messenger as a stand-alone app, Facebook has been pushing messaging for a long time. And for years, we’ve been wondering why they continued to find small ways to disrupt how we use their services.
But now, with over one billion active Messenger users, messaging is finally having its moment. Through Nielsen, Facebook uncovered the metrics to support that while the “why” and “how” behind messaging habits may vary, “the global growth of messaging is undeniable.”
Facebook is constantly evolving Messenger to make it the center point of how we communicate with others, as humans and as brands.
In April, Facebook introduced bots, which gave businesses the ability to provide automated customer support. Now, with the newly rolled out functionality to complete purchases natively through Messenger, Facebook is slowly but surely eliminating the need to navigate away from the platform.
So what does all of this mean for brands?
Community management on social media is changing, dramatically and rapidly. It’s not a coincidence that Digiday recently released an article on the demise of war rooms and real-time marketing.
For months, we at FSC have been sensing a major shift from the always-on approach of tapping into the zeitgeist to achieve 15 minutes of brand fame, to smartly and strategically using our resources to approach our clients’ goals of long-term success and stand-out customer service.
Messenger is encouraging us to shift priorities. We can move our attention away from the lightning-fast response rate, and focus on setting expectations with tools such as bots and away messages. Our audiences know immediately when our brands will get back to them with a thorough, thought-out, personalized response to their needs.
Twitter’s recent and highly-publicized troubles only further prove this point: there is less value in immediacy than there once was. Brands need to be using social media as a means to communicate effectively, not trend.
Mark Zuckerberg’s intention for Facebook and Messenger is to create “the best possible experiences in modern day communications.” Meaning, Messenger is poised to do so much more than just change the way brands communicate.
Facebook recently revealed that over 300 million people are actively using Messenger for video and voice calling each month. They also recently rolled out a polling feature, creating a more seamless decision-making experience for group chats.
Additionally, Facebook unveiled its Messenger Platform beta program in April, theoretically giving all businesses the tools to develop bots based on their goals and communication needs.
There was a time when all a company needed to be perceived as cutting edge was a website. Then came social media. Pretty soon, bots will be a necessity for all businesses who want to efficiently and successfully communicate with their online audience. Digiday said it best, “social media is growing up.” Luckily, agile agencies and forward-thinking brands are growing with it.