Ready For Facebook the Messenger Customer Service Revolution? 6 Steps Every Business Needs To Take Now

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Do you use Facebook to handle customer service? The Messenger app is fast becoming the centre of the action for customer interaction on Facebook, and your business needs to be ready.

Facebook Messenger is huge, and growing. At the most recent count in April 2016, it boasted over 900 million monthly active users (up from 700 million just a year earlier), and and over 1 billion messages are now sent between people and businesses each month.

As you probably already are aware, people are increasingly turning to social media to resolve customer service queries and now Facebook wants brands to use it as the cornerstone of their customer service efforts online, making Messenger a one-stop destination for businesses to connect with customers - and it's rolling out the changes thick and fast. If you have messaging enabled for your Facebook Page, fans will get in touch and they expect a response.

In this blog post, I'll show you the 6 big steps you need to get your business ready for customer service via Facebook Messenger.

1. Download and share your Facebook Messenger Code

A Messenger Code is a image (like a QR code or Snapchat's snapcode) that users can scan with their mobile's camera (within the Messenger app) to quickly start a chat with you, saving them having to search for your business manually. You can place it on your website, print it onto your marketing material, or anywhere a customer might want to prompt you with a message. Here's how to get yours:

Visit the Messages section of your Facebook Page and, at the bottom, look for a prompt to download and share your Messenger Code. Click the icon next to it.

Click the Download button to save your unique Messenger Code in one of three sizes: 300, 600, or 1000 pixels.

Before you place your code anywhere the public might scan it, test it in the Facebook Messenger app. In the People menu, tap Scan Code. Hover your camera over the code and, if it works correctly, a new Messenger conversation will pop-up instantly.

2. Set and share your Facebook Page username

To make it simpler for customers to find and contact businesses, Facebook is making usernames central to a Page's identity. In addition to a business name (your business may have duplicates or similar throughout the world), your unique username can be used to search for your business in Messenger. What's your Page's username? If you already have a vanity URL for your Facebook Page (e.g. facebook.com/500socialmediatips), then the bit after the forward slash becomes your @username, e.g. @500socialmediatips.

3. Manage your Message Response Times

People who send you a message via Messenger or your Page like to know, in advance, how long they can expect to wait for a reply. Obviously the quicker you are, the better. If you visit your Page at least once a week (who doesn't?!) and reply to 90% or more of your messages, your response time will appear in your Page's About section, and at the top of the conversation window in Messenger.

There are several options to help you manage your Response Time. Facebook recommends that you let it display your average response time automatically. Otherwise, you can choose a manual response time (ranging from "typically replies in minutes" to "typically replies in a day." If you choose one of the latter fixed options, you'll really need to be strict about meeting them so not to upset customers.

Set up your Messenger Greeting in the Messaging section of your Page Settings.

4. Write and save your Messenger Greeting

A Messenger Greeting is a short (maximum 160 characters) message that will appear to greet someone the first time they start a conversation with you on Messenger. It's a way of saying hello, letting people know what they can ask. Here's the greeting I have set up:

"Hi! Thanks for getting in touch with me on Messenger. Please send me any questions you may have and I'll get back to you as quickly as I can."

Set up your Messenger Greeting in the Messaging section of your Page Settings.

5. Write and save Instant Replies

Instant Replies are a way to send an automatic first response when someone messages your Page. There's some overlap here between Instant Replies and the Messenger Greeting, and you don't want an automatic message fired back to come across as cold or impersonal. 

Where I can see Instant Replies as being handy is to point customers in the direction of other sources of help (such as website FAQs) while they wait, or as a way to quickly respond to large numbers of customers asking the same question in the event of a customer service crisis.

Set up your Messenger Greeting in the Messaging section of your Page Settings.

6. Write and setup Saved Replies

Saved replies let you create and save a reply for later use, search through older replies to re-purpose it, and the ability to personalise replies instantly with your name, the customer name, your address, website, and more. They're like Instant Replies - perfect for answering common questions quickly - but with added customisation. Here's how to set them up:

Visit the Messages section of your Page and click on the speech bubble icon at the bottom.

Click on Manage Replies to edit your replies, or create a new one.

Here, I've mocked up a reply for a fictional company with a "quick reply" for people who ask about its delivery window. It's looking a bit impersonal, though.

Click "Personalize" for a quick way to add some personal touches to your Saved Replies. Here, you'll be able to add a a variety of automatically-generated "placeholder" elements to your messages. Importantly, you'll want to place your cursor at the part of the message that you want to insert the element, as that's where it will appear when chosen.

Here's how the personalization looks once it's been added. I've also uploaded an image from my computer. The placeholders will show you the preview of a message - in this case, I've used person's last name (Clinton) and Admin's first name.

Over to you

Will you be using Messenger to handle more of your customer service issues? Do you prefer it over other methods? Let me know in the comments below!


Andrew Macarthy is a social media consultant and the author of the #1 Amazon Web Marketing Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.

Buy 500 Social Media Marketing Tips
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007L50HE6
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007L50HE6

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9 Killer Quotes and Insights for Brands By the Pros At Social Media Marketing World 2016 #SMMW16

9 Killer Quotes and Insights for Brands By the Pros At Social Media Marketing World 2016 #SMMW16

9 Killer Quotes and Insights for Brands By the Pros At Social Media Marketing World 2016 #SMMW16

April 17-19th this year saw Social Media Marketing World 2016 take place in San Diego, California. Organized by Social Media Examiner, it is one of the world's biggest gatherings of social media marketers and experts. If you want the scoop on everything to make the most of social media marketing for business - the cutting edge of what's happening in the industry, you'll find it there.

In this blog post, I've compiled 9 of the juiciest advice and insights from Social Media Marketing World 2016, together with quotes that I encourage you to share! Some of the insights are new, some are reminders of the cornerstones of effective social media marketing, but all are important! Let's get going:

1. Make it easy for people to share your content

Readers to your blog are busy people and time poor. They want to share your work if it is valuable, but if you don't make it easy for them, they'll move on without a second's thought. Take some time to re-evaluate the style and positioning of your share buttons. Test them out. Is sharing from your website quick and pain-free?

2. Never stand still

Social media marketing strategies change and evolve all the time; stand still and you will quickly get left behind. Be open to accepting new opportunities, and stay ahead of the curve. For example, one of the biggest emerging trends this year is live video.

3. Give more to receive

This one's a point I make very often. You have to earn the right to be listened to, trusted, and build a loyal following on social media, you have to give more than you take. In other words, be prepared to offer valuable content that your fans want to see in their news feeds. The type of stuff that makes them want to invest in your brand, without the need for constant promotion.

4 and 5. Be brave and always experiment

These two quotes both hit a similar point, but in an environment where businesses are increasingly struggling to gain traction (especially non-paid), it is imperative that brands don't stand still. If you've tried one strategy and for a while and it isn't working, don't be afraid to change it up and try something new, even if it doesn't work either - better that than stick doggedly to one tired strategy in the hope that your fortunes change. What's more, you need to be offering unique and creative ideas to stand out from the crowd and capture your fans' imagination; to rise above the relentless clutter.

6. Always reply

One of the biggest UK energy companies, British Gas, announced just this week that it was to close one of its contact centres, with the loss of nearly 700 jobs. The prime reason? More people turning online to get their queries dealt with, including via social media.

Sites like Twitter and Facebook make contact with brands more easy and immediate than ever, and customers expect a response. If you haven't yet put the groundwork down to manage customer service on social media effectively, then now really is the time. Search Twitter for mentions of your brand now. How many customers have you neglected to reply to?

7. The magic of Snapchat

There was big buzz around Snapchat at SMMW16. It's a platform that the majority of brands have yet to exploit, for a variety of reasons: not sure how to use it effectively or if it will work for business, unaware if their audience is there, etc. Snapchat offers a unique opportunity for brands who work to its strengths - it is arguably the best way to humanise your brand while interacting with an audience - and arguably offers a more compelling opportunity to connect with fans than any other social network or app.

8. Embrace live video

As well as Snapchat, live video was touted as one of the biggest emerging trends in social media marketing. The likes of Periscope and Meerkat started it off in earnest last year, but with the global rollout of Facebook Live (and the opportunities that live video brings), the consensus is that all brands should experiment with what it can do for them - one of which, embracing the unpredictability of live video. Sometimes an unscripted chat, with little advanced planning, can make for the most engaging experience.

9. Build a loyal, targeted audience

Every business is on the chase for meaningful engagement on social media, but this lesson - to never overlook the quality of your audience in favour of quantity - stood out at SMMW. A small, dedicated audience is always going to be more valuable to you than a large one that doesn't really care about your brand. Focus on building trust and loyalty amongst your fans.


Over to you

Did you attend SMMW16? What do you think of the key takeaways listed above? Will you be implementing any of these strategies for your brand? Let me know in the comments below!

9 Eye-Catching Photo Ideas For Instagram That Your Business Needs to Try (With Real Examples)

9 Eye-Catching Photo Ideas For Instagram That Your Business Needs to Try (With Real Examples)

9 Eye-Catching Photo Ideas For Instagram That Your Business Needs to Try (With Real Examples)

Has your Instagram marketing stalled? Looking for fresh new ideas to spark the attention of your audience? Read on.

If there's one social network where one-upmanship rules more than any other, it's Instagram - a hub for creative, eye-catching content creators - brands included. With the recent algorithm change forcing brands to rock their Instagram game more than ever before, here are 9 Captivating Photo Ideas For Instagram That Your Business Should Try.

1. Multiple product shots, multiple angles, one line

When an Instagram user sees your content in their feed, or in search, you'd hope that they'll click through to your full profile to see what else you have to offer. With this in mind, take advantage of Instagram's three-across photo layout to showcase a product in multiple angles.

Rolex consistently uses this approach to showcase its fancy timepieces, as you can see in the example above.

2. Multiple separate posts, one huge image banner

For a twist on the the multiple-posts-for-bigger-impact approach, it is possible to post multiple photos, which don't mean much on their own, but form one large banner ad in your Instagram's profile feed when viewed all together. In the above example, K-Swiss uses this technique to promote one of its products. Each caption of the 6 separate images provides a different piece of trivia about K-Swiss' history.

Of course, you could extend this approach as far as you like. Beware, though, that you could risk spamming your followers with unfathomable content if you go too far with it. 6 is a good target, and I'd say 9 - a nice square, is acceptable, too.

3. Disrupt with white space

In my book, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips, I advise against making your Instagram feed look like the pages of a catalogue; full of bland product images and price tags. However, the odd snap that disrupts the norm and catches the eye as a result of its simplicity - like in the example from BIRIM above - I have plenty of time for. Sometimes less is definitely more. 

4. Intrigue with ultra close-ups

5. Introduce a mascot

Just over half-way through, and here's a weird one for you. Mascots can come across as pretty naff and try-hard, but catered to your audience in the right way (subtle is probably best!), they might just become a much-loved and compelling element of your branding. Just look how cute Paint Zen's is... 

When you're shooting a product, the most natural idea is to plonk it in the middle of the frame in a nice, staged setting, and snap away. This approach definitely has a place, but when you're catering to a mobile audience, sometimes an ultra close-up - to highlight one particular feature, the material, craftsmanship, etc. can make more of an impact. Why not combine a close-up shot with several other angles to make an across-line collage from tip number one?

6. Split-screen collage

This one - combining two photos to make one cohesive image is tricky to pull of - I'm not even sure if Starbucks has managed it above, to be honest. But if the idea is there and the execution is spot-on, split-screening can go quite some way to impressing your fanbase.

7. 4-way split

chopsticks for the brave. forks for the eager. spoons for the slurpers #decisionsdecisions

A photo posted by wagamama_uk (@wagamama_uk) on

I actually think the four-way split is a little underused by brands. Sure, the ideas for one won't come as naturally as for a single image, but done right - as a way to tell a story via each individual frame, give options to a question (for fans to answer in the comments), etc., it can really work well.

8. A consistent blueprint

This tip is kind of Instagram 101, but I had to include it in the list. If you are able to conjure up a photo idea that resonates with your audience - and repeat it consistently - chances are that your images will jump out at them in their feeds: make yourself known for it. Check out how Pura Vida Bracelets utilizes this technique above. They never post these themed images in a row (always mix it up with other photos), but when they do, the pattern is the same - top down, wrist across, shoes in view.

9. Play with texture

Happy Friday! We're celebrating the start of a long weekend with these ☁️ treats.

A photo posted by Salesforce (@salesforce) on

Experimenting with texture in the odd post can add some variety and interest your Instagram feed, particularly if it goes against the pre-conceived notions of your brand. In the above example, Salesforce (powerful work apps for business) uses cakes to add playfulness to its end-of-week post.

Over to you

Have these ideas inspired you to up your Instagram game? Will you be experimenting with some of them, or do you have others to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Andrew Macarthy is a social media consultant and the author of the #1 Amazon Web Marketing Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.

Buy 500 Social Media Marketing Tips
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007L50HE6
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007L50HE6

Follow Me:

www.facebook.com/500socialmediatips
www.twitter.com/500socialmediatips
www.instagram.com/500socialmedia
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www.youtube.com/500socialmediatips

5 New Instagram Features Every Business Needs to Know About (April 2016)

Do you use Instagram for business? Want the scoop on all of the newest updates your business needs to know about?

Since being bought by Facebook, Instagram has evolved at a quicker pace than any time in its history, and the changes continue to come - this time, with at least one real big shift that will impact marketers hugely. Let's take a look at 5 New Instagram Updates Every Business Needs to Know About:

1. Instagram's BIG algorithm change

Some people are really not happy about this. Until now, posts in the feeds of Instagram users by people who they follow had appeared in strict chronological order. Now, however, Instagram will still show all of the posts from people you follow but plans to do so in an order based on how relevant and timely they are to you.

Instagram says that the change is in response to users missing, on average, 70% of posts in their feed - so it wants to make sure you don't mistakenly overlook the content that best resonates with you. For brands, it's a Facebook-ification of the Instagram algorithm, and a clear signal that your content needs to drive engagement, or it may be missed (without paid promotion, at least).

 

Instagram promises that the change isn't going to be immediate, but better to know and be prepared, right?

2. Switching between multiple accounts

For a feature that users have been desperate to see for years, Instagram sure took its time introducing the ability to switch between multiple accounts. But it's here, and if you manage multiple Instagram profiles, it makes navigating between them - without the annoyance of signing in and out - super easy. Add a new account within settings, then switch by tapping your username at the top of the app's home screen (as in the picture above).

3. Video length limit increased to 60 seconds

In the last six months, the time people spent watching video on Instagram has increased by more than 40 percent. In order to deliver a more rich and engaging experience, the video length limit has been increased from 30 seconds to 60 seconds. Also, video posts now display the number of views they have received - a quick and handy indicator for businesses, and a sign of popularity amongst your audience.

4. The return of multiple clip choice from Library

Once a staple of Instagram (and removed for some reason or another), the ability to upload and stitch together multiple video clips from your Library has returned. Choose your first clip, then upload more via the Scissor icon. You can also trim, re-order or delete clips from here.

5. Notifications and Explore for desktop

Take a look at the top of your Instagram account on desktop, and you'll notice two new icons at the top of the page - Explore and Notifications. They're exactly the same as what you'll see in the app, but handy nonetheless.

The Notifications tab will alert you to likes and comments on your posts. Clicking one will open the post, where you can add, reply to, or delete comments.

The Explore tab will automatically generate people who Instagram thinks you might be interested in, based on your activity within the app. Use it to find new customers to engage with, reach out to new influencers, and even spy on the competition.

Over to you

What do you think about the latest changes to Instagram? In particular, do you think the decision to change the algorithm was a good one? Let me know in the comments below!


Andrew Macarthy is a social media consultant and the author of the #1 Amazon Web Marketing Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.

Buy 500 Social Media Marketing Tips
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007L50HE6
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007L50HE6

Follow Me:

www.facebook.com/500socialmediatips
www.twitter.com/500socialmediatips
www.instagram.com/500socialmedia
www.pinterest.com/500socialmedia
www.youtube.com/500socialmediatips

How to Bulk Upload And Schedule Posts to Buffer WITH IMAGES Using BulkPublish

Do you use Buffer to schedule your social media posts? Would you like to bulk upload your content to post text AND images at the same time? In this post, I will show you how.

Using BulkPublish to upload text and images to Buffer

At the time of writing, the official Buffer website does not allow you to bulk upload with images (just text), but the third party tool BulkPublish - which sends a prepared file of your content to your official Buffer account - does.

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