This recent Facebook update turns your brand’s Facebook Messenger conversations into unique shareable digital content you can use on and off the social platform. This is BIG!
As a former Digital Marketing Manager for a resort hotel, I’ve been impressed with the growing utility of Facebook Messenger for brand pages, especially for hotels. Previously, I had to juggle front desk / call center duties with the important tasks like performance reporting of our hotel’s digital marketing campaigns. But these recent changes make it easier for business owners and marketing managers alike.
If you’ve been out of the loop, I’ll get you up to speed, starting with Facebook's big messenger push in 2015.
Pre-Programmed Facebook Responses
Not long ago, Facebook began allowing us to use pre-programmed responses at the click of a button. This was very useful for questions like “Is there snow yet?” which we used to get all the time at our New York resort. This feature allowed me to create a beautifully tailored marketing response, such as:
“No, not yet- but don’t let that stop you. Here are a few recent pictures of our mountaintop. As you can see we still offer ice skating and we are beginning to make our own snow. Here are some of the performance acts coming in the next few days [LINK]. Are you interested in a promo code for 20% off your stay for this week? Here is a link to our current specials: [LINK TO CURRENT SPECIALS]”
“Yes, there is beautiful snow on our Mountaintop. Here are a few pictures. We wish we could make it stick around, but we can’t guarantee that - so make sure to come up soon. What dates were you planning on staying? Rooms go fast during our beautiful winter snow season. I recommend calling us at XXX-XXX-XXXX to book right away.”
Seamlessly blending our marketing communication into these messages made being at the controls more worth it. But I still had to read each question and select a pre-determined response from my list.
Then Facebook released an update to messenger that allowed its artificial intelligence to read and begin trying to comprehend what was being said in Messenger with near-human ability.
On April 12, 2016, Zuckerberg revealed his 10 year plan for Facebook in a keynote address. His speech outlined his vision, which was centered around three main pillars: artificial intelligence, increased connectivity around the world and virtual and augmented reality. He also announced a new Facebook Messenger platform, which now has developers creating bots that are able to engage in automatic interactions with customers. In June 2016 Facebook announced Deep Text, a natural language processing AI which will learn user intent and context in 20 languages.
Here is an example of Deep Text in action today:
Above the customer's message, you can see how Facebook's Artificial Intelligence is actually reading the message, saying "Is this about business hours?" and helping to predict a response.
Innovation happens fast. In November 2016, Facebook now allows referral code content, which means the bots would know something about the person chatting with them without even saying anything.
Now the bot can be like a concierge, who with just a glance and without asking any questions can immediately distinguish between a family of 4 dressed casually vs a couple dressed formally for a night out. The bot can tailor its suggestions, and its tone, depending on that “referral” information coming through.
The growing trend, the data confirms Millennials prefer to stay off voice, and prefer to text rather than call, (see this 2015 article in Forbes). Meanwhile, Facebook has been seeking to reward brand pages for becoming quick-response customer service portals.
Depending on the volume of incoming messages to your brand page, it could be a wise investment to create a pre-programmed bot to deal with the ever-increasing volume of customer service requests through the Facebook channel. Use it as an opportunity to create a marketing perfect call center to market and sell, and of course - track!
Oh My! Metrics Data-Driven Content Idea
So you can imagine how quickly our wheels started turning here at Oh My! Metrics, when on March 1st 2017, Octane AI released their feature that allows you to create a shareable “episode” featuring your very own chat conversation.
It's called "Convos" which allow you to create predefined text, photos, photo galleries, videos, audio, and buttons to respond to anyone who chats with your messenger bot. The conversation is 100% controlled by you (think choose-your-adventure book) with options you choose, or they can pull up a main menu, all leading to the same predetermined outcomes.
Yes, you can share the content on Facebook as native content, or even off Facebook.
We liked Tim Peterson’s thinking: “a cosmetics brand could convert a step-by-step makeup tutorial into a series of text messages walking someone through the application. Or a media company could produce fictional or non-fictional stories, a la popular podcast ‘Serial,’ that play out as weekly series of conversational episodes.” (via this post on marketingland)
If you're a hotel marketer, you could try:
- Creating a series of brand stories.
- Creating a conversation to promote an upcoming event and share it as native content
- Creating a forked conversation that can act as a concierge for family travelers, romantic getaways… share an example of its use as native content and encourage people to try it
What do you think about this new opportunity? Do you think you'll apply it to your content strategy this year?
If you were working with Oh My! Metrics we'd pair you with a content strategy using this tool only if your data showed it would directly lead to ROI.
Right now, Oh My! Metrics is teaming up with a limited number of hotels, providing a free Google Analytics audit. By participating, you'll get a taste of membership in our Pro level plan, no strings attached. Interested? Reach out to Rob at email@example.com