Another Upbeat Agency blog, another set of Messenger changes! That’s right folks, we can’t quite believe it ourselves. It seems as though every time we breathe a sigh of relief that we’ve modified our Chat Bot Marketing strategy, we’re hit with more policy changes. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered; this blog will get you ready to hit the ground running with Chat Bot Marketing in the new year.
First things first, let’s tackle the why. Facebook is an ever-evolving platform, some of you may have heard about their latest logo redesign for the umbrella company that will house their family of apps. Messenger is making these changes with the end-user in mind, the everyday person who uses it as a means of contact. By protecting its users from unwanted spam and abuse, a business can achieve more effective outcomes from a channel that people trust, a word that doesn’t often spring to mind where Facebook is concerned! By being compliant and ensuring we’re not spammy or abusive we can make meaningful connections with customers to nurture a mutually beneficial relationship. Less spam means Messenger users stay using the platform, increasing the number of people you can reach.
In our last Messenger blog, we outlined that Messenger was reducing the available message tags from 17 down to a mere 4 and they were removing the ‘+1’ element of their 24+1 messaging period. The big thing to note here is that all messages sent outside of the 24-hour period must be tagged. Failure to comply could lead to Messenger banning your page from using its broadcasting function, or unpublishing your page entirely! Stay in Facebook and Messenger’s good books is highly recommended.
Insider tip: to find out if your page is close to being unpublished, head over to your business’ Facebook page and on the top menu click ‘Page Quality’. If the you’re greeted with a green message, there are no problems. Hurrah! If it’s red, however, time to rethink that Messenger strategy.
Message tags are one of the tools in place for Messenger to prevent its users get spam messages from irresponsible businesses. ALL messages that are sent outside of the 24-hour messaging period must be tagged relevant to the message tag it falls under. Below is an in-depth look at each of the 4 different message tags and what instance they should be used.
To prepare for the changes coming it is important that all existing ChatBot flows are modified. Facebook will not take pity on you just because it is an old flow, if the message is sent then you are liable to punishment. This means that any sequences, rules, smart delays or other API integration that could mean a message is sent outside of the 24-hour period need to be reviewed.
If this blog has you flustered and all this talk of message tags is daunting, don’t worry. There are other steps you can take to prepare. In the event that the message you want to send doesn’t fit under 1 of the 4 message tags you have a few options: send an SMS, send an email or send a sponsored message. Starting to collect customer SMS and email information is going to be vital for when the new changes come into effect in early 2020. What’s great is that SMS and email can be seamlessly weaved into existing flows, the flows themselves simply need to be modified to accommodate the user. As with collecting consent to be sent messages in Messenger, you must do the same for SMS and email.
The 24-hour interaction rule must always be in the back of your mind when creating flows, so user conditions are going to be your best friend here. First find out their preferred channel of contact, record this in their customer profile and then you can use this to dictate where you send them messages going forward. Even though you are doing this to avoid being penalised by Facebook, ultimately, it’s going to create more valuable relationships with customers when you contact them via their channel of choice. This will have to be taken into consideration when building future flows, ensuring that users get messages from their preferred platform. It is also worth noting that the message you are sending may itself dictate the channel you use. For example, rich media typically works better on Messenger whereas a flash sale may just need a simple SMS message.
Benefits of SMS
Modifying your Chat Bot Marketing plan to be inclusive of SMS and email does not have to be all doom and gloom. “But wait a second Upbeat,” I hear you cry, “didn’t you say that with Messenger you could achieve 80%+ open rates?!”. Yes, we did. You can, however, use SMS and email as a means to re-engage subscribers and restart their 24-hour interaction period. Simply including a link in the message that redirects subscribers to Messenger means you can then send them all the messages you want for 24 hours. This means you can then send them a message in Messenger and achieve those sensational open and engagement rates that we promised you. Think about it, almost EVERYONE knows the second they receive a text. Whether it be from a small vibration or the most iconic of ringtones, the second your phone goes off you answer.
Another benefit of SMS messaging is the ability to send broadcasts outside of the 24-hour window. Be careful though, just because you’re now outside of Messenger does not mean you can spam subscribers. Untimely or inappropriate content will likely be met with displeasure.
You’ll be glad to hear that all the amazing things you could do with Chat Bot Marketing have remained, such as setting keywords. Keywords meant that if a customer sent that specific keyword as a message a specific action was then taken. This applies to SMS as well, allowing you to set up all these same keywords for your SMS subscribers. Worried about losing the ability to live chat with customers? Think again! Simply send them a link to Messenger and you can chat in real-time like good old times.
Back to email?!
I know what you’re thinking… Hasn’t email become largely ineffective amongst the huge mass of businesses sending emails daily?!
As always, we recommend using each of these channels as part of your wider marketing strategy. You shouldn’t become reliant on just one for the exact reason we’re writing this blog, the rules can be changed and therefore you need to be armed with multiple ways of reaching your customers. The obvious benefit of email is the character allowance. If you have a longer, more meaningful message that needs to be sent then email is your best friend. Similar to SMS, email can also be used to get subscribers back to Messenger.
In situations like this, it’s easy to see the downsides. Yes, Messenger are not making things easy for businesses but when there is a will there is a way! We recommend modifying your Chat Bot Marketing plans as soon as possible so when the time comes you are not liable to punishment from Facebook. In the long run, a switch to an omnichannel marketing strategy will likely benefit your business and by catering to your customer’s preferences you increase their overall satisfaction. Something we can all agree is never a bad thing.