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Here’s How to Choose the Best Messaging App to Boost Your Business

April 27, 2018

Messaging apps are the biggest platforms connecting us today. According to a recent report by HubSpot, the top messaging apps have over 5 billion monthly active users combined, and this number isn’t slowing down any time soon. And this is a market that a huge majority of businesses simply haven’t begun to tap into yet; a report by Buffer found that barely 20% of companies are making the most of messaging platforms.

messaging app usage stats

But how do you know which chat app to use for your type of business to connect with your specific audience?

Firstly, you have to understand what users want. According to a recent Facebook-Nielsen report, from a survey of users on messaging apps:

  • 61% appreciate when businesses send personalized messages
  • 63% value the ability to make a purchase or pay a bill with a messaging app
  • Over 50% of users are more likely to interact with a business if they can message it

So can we expect to see social media popularity fall behind messaging app popularity? Current trends say yes, especially with the most recent issues surrounding Facebook and an online push towards keeping information private again.

messaging apps versus social media

Via Business Insider

Any business that wants to stay relevant and engage clients should step up their game when it comes to messaging apps. Use the information below to find which app would work best for you.

Slack

Slack may be the best platform for B2B companies for a number of reasons. Slack reported a while back that 77% of Fortune 100 companies make use of their platform. That roughly translates to nine million weekly active users, most from the ages of 25 to 54. A report from iDataLabs found that a majority of businesses in the United States prefer Slack.

Here’s how you can make better business use of Slack.

Slack Tip #1: Build a community for potential partners and clients

The great thing about building on active and growing platforms is that the clients and partners that you want to find are most likely already on the platform. And this is why Slack has so much potential to boost your business: by simply creating a community where potential clients can contact you, you can better establish the bridge between your business and other businesses.

There are thousands of active Slack groups and communities with hundreds of members each, with more hitting that number every day.

slack communities

Slack Tip #2: Build a community for your existing partners and clients

Wistia is a B2B company that gives growing businesses access to an easy-to-integrate video platform. Two years ago, Wistia announced that they were moving their community operations from an online forum to a Slack channel. According to Chris Savage, Wistia made this switch primarily to grow their community:

“The new Wistia Community is already starting to hop, and we are seeing way more conversations and stronger bonds between community members. We believe that part of the reason this is the case is because many of us are already in Slack, and it's much easier to hop into the community and ask a question than it's ever been before.”

So what can we learn from this?

  • Customers and businesses alike love realtime and active communication
  • Stay in the loop with a variety of channels for all the different areas of your business

Facebook Messenger

A report by TechCrunch found that Facebook Messenger hosts activity from 1.2 billion users every month. The simple interface, attractive design, and the fact that for most people, it might be the only messaging app they know, all combine to create a behemoth in the messaging app world.

facebook messenger app marketing

As a B2C company, there’s no better place to connect with your customers worldwide than Messenger.

But what’s the best way to engage your customers on Messenger? Perhaps it might not involve you at all, but a chatbot.

Neil Patel has made a bold statement that with Facebook Messenger chatbots, he could help a campaign achieve 88% open rates. According to Patel, the reason is that customers don’t have the same “email fatigue” or “banner blindness” that have made us resistant to other means of marketing. Instead, we’re open to the idea of using bots to get what we want. Why?

Simply because a bot is designed to give the user “exactly what they’re looking for, and nothing more.” HubSpot reported that 47% of shoppers are open to buying items from a bot, and this number will only continue to increase as they realize that bots are now much more sophisticated than they once were.

Here are three ways you can use Messenger chatbots to reach out to your audience:

1) Deliver Content

A popular online marketer, Josh Fetcher, found a great way to make use of his Messenger chatbot. On top of sending his clients the weekly emails that they subscribed to, Josh also used the chatbot to send the same message through Messenger. 

messenger apps chatbots

Via Sendible

While he hasn’t shared his open rate, we can only assume that it is much higher than the average open rate for his email newsletter.

2) Boost Participant Engagement During Events

There’s no reason why you should stick to bland, reactive uses of your chatbot. You can also use the chatbot to boost participant or customer engagement during events launched by your business. For example, ahead of the launch of the latest Call of Duty video game, the parent company Activision created a bot that mimicked the personality of a popular character, Lt. Reyes.

facebook messenger marketing

Via CMO

This bot was highly successful, with over 6 million messages sent back and forth with excited customers.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp opens your doors to a huge market: With 1.5 billion monthly users and 60 billion messages sent daily, there’s more than enough reason to start promoting on WhatsApp. What makes WhatsApp different from Facebook Messenger is the target audience. WhatsApp is generally more widely used in developing nations, giving you access to a new market unavailable on Messenger.

WhatsApp Tip #1: One-on-one Messaging

Since WhatsApp doesn’t allow chatbots like Messenger, businesses have to find more active methods to connect with their customers. One business did just that: Agent Provocateur, a high-end lingerie brand, launched the Ménage à Trois campaign.

With this, WhatsApp users could message Agent Provocateur’s WhatsApp and talk to an AP Agent who would help them figure out the best raunchy Christmas wish list for them and their partner.

WhatsApp Tip #2: Make the Most of the Status Feature

Hundreds of millions of users update their status on WhatsApp every day. These statuses can be text, images, or videos, which are automatically wiped after a day. The best use of this feature was probably done by a popular Indian restaurant called Cafe TC.

They called it the liquor ticker, and it would show the latest updates and promotions from the cafe in the status and profile pic. But instead of the status, it would display as a blinking sticker, and the profile pic, a moving GIF.

They did this by creating a custom API, turning pics into gifs and statuses into stickers. There’s no better way to catch your customers’ attention while they’re scrolling through WhatsApp.

Kik

Kik is relatively new to the messaging app game, which is why its user base is much younger than other platforms: according to an update from Kik, the users on Kik are between the ages of 13 and 24. But that doesn’t mean it’s a small population of users; about a third of all US teenagers are active on the app.

So if you are running a brand that needs to target the younger generation in the US, Kik is your best bet.

But how?

The Indianapolis Colts actually found a way to promote on Kik, hoping to reach their youngest fans. Kik sells Promoted Chats to advertisers, and also allows businesses to buy branded GIFs which are sent to their users.

With the Promoted Chat feature, the NFL team designed a chat game that would “take followers through seven levels of a choose-your-own adventure story about rising through the football ranks from high school player to the pros.”

kik marketing

By creating a chatbot that would engage with the users and take them on a step by step guide alongside the Colts, they managed to turn thousands of casual young fans into potential lifelong supporters of the team.

Snapchat

If you are trying to target millennials, Snapchat is the perfect messaging platform for your business. There are over 158 million daily users on the platform, and nearly 75% of them users are under the age of 25; whatever ad you might have on Snapchat will have a millennial-heavy audience.

Snapchat Tip #1: Partner with influencers

When looking for a great example of a Snapchat influencer who knows his stuff, you have to look no further than DJ Khaled, the self-proclaimed “King of Snapchat”. Khaled is always in demand for influencer partnerships with brands who want to promote on Snapchat.

One brand that partnered with Khaled was Stride Gum, which launched a series of Snapchat-friendly images that Khaled shared to his followers.

snapchat messaging app marketing

Via HubSpot

Khaled took over their Snapchat for 24 hours while they released a series of videos to help rebrand to a younger and more intense image. If you can find the right influencer with an audience that fits your market, you can hit a goldmine of engagement and activity.

Snapchat Tip #2: Use Everything They Offer

When advertising on Snapchat, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go all out. Here’s what they offer:

  • Snap ads: Short 10-second clips that will be found in your followers’ Discover panel
  • Sponsored Lenses: Lenses or picture modifiers that allow users to change their image with your business’ branded content
  • Sponsored Geofilters: Allowing users to find your promotions in certain locations

One way a “boring” business turned itself fun was Cisco’s “Day in the Life of an Account Manager” series. Cisco made their own custom lenses while showcasing quick and quirky videos of their account manager as he went through an average day.

What can we learn from this? You don’t have to be a young or youthful brand to be exciting on these younger platforms. Just think outside the box, and find a new way to present who you are as a business.

SMS

Text messaging may be a decade or two older than most messaging apps out there, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t pack a punch with the right marketing campaign. There are a couple ways that an SMS marketing campaign can reach better results than a messaging app campaign.

What’s great about texts is that they are fast and they require no internet connection. This gives it some unique functionality that messaging apps can’t do. For example, you might be better off with an SMS marketing campaign for these situations:

1) Fast Campaigns

People love relevance; there’s nothing better than knowing that something is going on right here, right now. Impermanence is always attractive (which is why we love “limited time only” campaigns), and texting is a great way to create that “rush” campaign.

For example, one Australian football club called the Essendon Bombers texted all of their fans on a game day that they were having a rush sale on merchandise inside the stadium.

2) Keep Customers Updated

Texts are the best way to make sure that your message gets through to a customer. If you run into the problem with too many customers not showing up for appointments or meetings, texting them with updates and reminders can reduce that no-show rate. This could be the case for all appointment-based businesses like salons and private healthcare practices.

marketing with SMS

3) Surveys

Texting is a great way to get your customers to respond to surveys. There’s just something about the SMS format that makes people more willing to participate than on other platforms. In fact, the average reach for SMS surveys is 15-20%, with one company having boosted this number up to a regular 60% response rate.

Key Takeaway: Experiment

If there’s one thing the case studies and statistics above should teach you, it’s that you need to experiment. The messaging app marketing world is still going through its earliest stages, meaning there’s no tried and tested technique for anything.

Feel free to try it all, from texting surveys to your customers, to sending them chatbot games through Facebook, or making your own customized lenses on Snapchat. Feel around until you find something that works for your business, and maximize it.

About the author

Anastasia Sviridenko is a content marketing manager at TextMagic. When she's not working, you can find her baking something with bananas or reading a sci-fi novel.