Social messaging apps are a fact of life – not just in our personal lives, but for businesses that want to communicate effectively with their customers. The number of users on social media has been rising steadily with estimated 4.2 billion social media users worldwide in 2021.
- 64% of users feed businesses should be available and contactable via messenger apps
- 49% prefer to engage businesses via messaging than phone.
The top three messaging apps in the world – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat – have all exceeded the 1bn MAU mark, and people spend an average of two hours 16 minutes a day, or around a third of their total Internet time, on social media apps and sites.
Simply put, for intelligent enterprises, this is where their customers now devote their digital lives. And increasingly, social messaging channels are a great way of reaching and engaging with those customers. Many intelligent enterprises are already accessing messaging apps and social channels through CPaaS and API providers:
When these messaging apps first came to market, they were mostly limited to personal communications and interactions between users, but over time these channels have started to expose their APIs to businesses for B2C engagement. There are now over 20m businesses using Facebook Messenger, and 20bn messages sent between businesses and customers, each month.
Striking up a conversation
Broadly speaking, there are two ways of utilizing these social channels to reach customers. There are one-way transactional interactions – for example, a bank alerting the customer that their balance is low, or retailers sharing that the product they were interested in is back in stock. And then there are two-way messages, where customers with a question about the product or service can connect to the brand. Their questions can be answered by a live agent or automated using a chatbot, or some combination of both, but it’s a quick and personal way of supporting engagement on a channel that’s growing in popularity with customers.
Either way, it’s vital that this channel is one that the connected customer is expecting, even if they haven’t directly initiated it. Even with one-way communication, this isn’t your traditional marketing broadcast or outreach but part of a personalized, real-time experience between the brand and customer.
That’s a necessity of the channel: the social media and messaging app services and enterprises are invested in making sure users have a good experience in these apps, and not receive unwanted, random, or generic marketing messages. Brands need to follow best digital engagement practices such as understanding customer preferences for channel engagement and local regulations such as opt-in. That might sound like a challenge, but in the long term, it’s beneficial for all parties – especially because customers have chosen to communicate with brands via this channel, and that allows for richer and deeper engagement.
The Sinch Conversation API offers one single API endpoint for sending and receiving messages globally using SMS, RCS, WhatsApp, Viber Business, Facebook messenger and other popular channels with ease and confidence - Learn more about Sinch Conversation API.