As the typical consumer spends more and more time on mobile devices, behaviors and social platforms are shifting to more effectively meet users where they are. The end result? The rise of messaging apps worldwide.
And it’s not quite as simple as an instant messenger—features from social media channels are bleeding into messenger apps, providing opportunities for brands to get in on the action.
Here are three ways you can jump in—with a few best practices to consider before getting started.
Building the Right Bot
Your bot might help lighten the load of your community management and customer service teams. Or, it might aim to entertain consumers, providing curated content and acting as seamless extension of your customer reps. Or maybe its purpose is to help consumers make purchasing decisions.
The excess of possibilities can be tricky for brands to navigate. As with any social strategy, your messenger or bot plan should have clear, concrete goals. In fact, the intimacy of chat apps makes having a defined purpose even more essential. The best messenger bots either solve a specific customer problem or provide a genuinely rewarding experience for your audience.
Think carefully about where your bot fits in the customer journey of your brand—it’s important to determine who your bot is really for, and to establish when and why they would want to use it.
Slap a Sticker on It
Sticker packs present a chance to quite literally insert your brand into the conversation. After becoming a phenomenon on international messengers such as Line and WeChat, stickers are slowly beginning to take hold in the United States. Apple’s recent iOS 10 update added fuel to the fire by including sticker support along with a suite of features available in an iMessage-specific store within the app.
While some brands have already taken the bait, it’s important to consider context before rushing to fill iMessage with images of your product. The most popular sticker packs clearly convey emotions and go beyond words to communicate ideas. If the majority of your stickers overwhelmingly focus on logos and products, they probably won’t make their way into your audiences’ chat boxes. Instead, take care to make sure your stickers are new assets designed specifically for the platforms they will be used on.
Tell Your Story
The most familiar way to interact with users on messaging apps is the increasingly popular “Stories” functionality, which has made its way to such services as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Line, and WeChat. Birthed by Snapchat and shamelessly duped by its competition (most notably Instagram), “Story” content is only accessible for 24 hours before it disappears. The feature inspires more casual sharing, without the pressure of lingering future access.
While it may be still early for Messenger Day and WhatsApp Status, it’s safe to assume that your Instagram and Snapchat story strategy should apply. Teasers and behind-the-scenes content are an easy fit, in addition to influencer takeovers and event coverage. Giveaways and exclusive promotions can draw in an audience as users begin to engage with brands on these apps. If you have a bot, consider how the two tools can work together to accomplish your goals.