When Mark Zuckerberg has a message, we listen. According to the godfather of social media, users are sending almost 60 billion messages a day via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp (both apps owned by Facebook). At this years F8 summit, he unveiled a plan to move the app beyond just chatting with friends.
Facebook Messenger was the fastest growing app in 2015, above even Facebook itself. It is the second most popular app on iOS, with 900 million monthly active users. Just last year, Facebook opened up Messenger for business use, allowing users to chat with companies. More than one billion messages are sent between businesses and users within the app, but Zuckerberg’s vision surpasses this already mammoth number.
How will bots change the way we do business?
Simply put, bots are automated and conversationally geared reps with the ability to do everything from administrative tasks to selling you a pair of Jordan’s. The ultimate goal of the bots will be geared toward boosting profits for business by driving more customers to their services within the app. When it comes to branding, it’s all about uniformity and creating user loyalty, so for those with small businesses or niches, bots have the potential to create a sense of trust and establish an emotional connection through their conversational tone.
The app now allows brands the opportunity to build small artificial intelligence software that interacts with Messenger users. With the Send/Receive software tool, now available to developers, businesses can build “bots” that can send and receive text, images, and emojis. But it doesn’t stop there: a customer-matching feature enables businesses to respond to customers with phone numbers on record.
With Facebook’s Messenger bots, it’s now a reality to do business without any direct human contact. When on the app, a bot would appear just like a friend, but there to assist with a purchase, give you instructions, or direct you to a business.
A paradigm shift in the way we communicate
Texting has been increasing in popularity since its inception on the flip phone. Millennials seem to spend a lot of time on their phones, but they’re not talking! The younger generation actually spends half as much time talking on the phone as their predecessors. Social media has opened up vast possibilities in communicating without ever hearing another person’s voice.
In this brave new era of texting and tweeting, it’s more important than ever to streamline everything you type, share, tweet, post, and like on brand. Conversations are being modernized by social media and soon, businesses will have the ability to speak to their customers without ever uttering a word. Businesses and individuals must learn to market themselves in a way that is always pushing them to the next level in the game.
The kinks are still being worked out, with bigger conglomerates like CNN and 1-800-FLOWERS using the bots for everything from ordering spring bouquets to checking abbreviated forms of breaking news. But will users actually embrace this new technology? Only time will tell.
What are your thoughts on Messenger Bots? Can you see a way to use them in your business?