When it comes to communicating with your customers, it is important to do so on their favorite channels. Some will prefer Facebook Messenger, while others prefer sticking to text messaging. But when should you use each of these popular channels?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of each mode of communication, then go over some ideal situations for using them.
Facebook Messenger—Why It Can Work for You
With more than 3 billion people using Facebook, there’s a good chance that your customers are spending time there. It is an incredibly active social networking site, so if you aren’t using it, you are missing out.
Benefits of Using Facebook Messenger
- Reach People on Facebook: A large segment of your audience likely uses Facebook on a regular basis. Offering support and interactions over Messenger makes it easy for these people to reach out to you.
- It’s Expected: In today’s world, customers expect to be able to reach brands over Facebook Messenger, no matter their size.
- Build Trust: Offering communication via Messenger also builds trust in your brand. It shows you are open to communication and dialogue, and you’re willing to meet your customers wherever they’re spending time.
- Generate Leads: Because customers will reach out to you on Messenger, it is an excellent way to gather more leads. For example, any time someone reaches out to you, you can ask them to opt into your email or text list.
- Turn Messages into Sales: As with any other communication method, every conversation with customers over Facebook Messenger gives you an opportunity to turn the conversation into a sale. With Messenger, you can do this by funneling customers to your Facebook page.
- No Geographic Limits: International texting can get complicated or even be impossible, but as long as you have an internet connection, you can easily communicate on Facebook Messenger no matter where your customers are.
- Easily Include Media: It is simple to include media such as audio, video, gifs, and more in your messages from your Facebook business page. By contrast, SMS doesn’t support media, so you would need to use MMS.
- No Service Required: Messenger is a good option if members of your audience are in areas without cellular service or are traveling and would have to deal with roaming charges. In that case, they could just use Wi-Fi to interact with your Facebook page.
- Integrates with Facebook Business Page: You likely already use Facebook to market your small business. Adding Messenger support complements your existing Facebook presence. It helps with branding and lets customers easily reach your small business from your Facebook page. Combine it with other aspects of your Facebook family, such as using the news feed algorithm or Stories on Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook.
When to Use Facebook Messenger
There is no single answer to when small businesses should use Facebook Messenger. Ideally, you will ask your audience about their preferred contact method, and then reach out to them using it.
That being said, consider using Facebook Messenger to offer customer support or to respond to customers who reach out to you there.
Text Messaging—Why It Can Work for You
Text messages are a must-have solution for small businesses because of their simplicity and popularity. Nearly everyone texts and many people prefer texting over other methods, such as Facebook posts or messages.
Benefits of Text Messaging
- High Open Rate: With text messaging, you take advantage of an incredibly high open rate. 98% of texts are opened right away, ensuring the message from your small business is seen.
- Consumer Preference: According to our research, 90% of consumers prefer to interact with a brand via text message. In other words, your customers want to be able to text you.
- Immediate Delivery: SMS is easily among the fastest ways to send messages to customers, as they will get it instantly.
- No Internet Required: Texting works well for customers who don’t have data on their smartphones or access to Wi-Fi, as it just requires a cellular network.
- It Feels Personal: Receiving a text message feels more personal than receiving a message on Messenger or another platform. This helps you build better relationships with your customers.
- Cost Efficient: Texting is still among the most cost-effective communication methods.
- Less Likely to Show Up in Spam: While this is somewhat changing, the chances of your text message going to a spam folder or being flagged as spam are much lower than with other methods, such as email or even Messenger.
When to Use Text Messaging
As mentioned with Messenger, you want to use texting with customers that prefer this communication method with your small business. But it is also a great idea if you’re sending an important message and want to take advantage of immediate delivery or the high open rate. Texting is also ideal if you want to give your communication a more personal feel.
Facebook Messenger vs. Texting
We reviewed the benefits of Messenger and texting, giving a brief overview of when small businesses should use either method. But some important similarities and differences require a closer look before creating a communication plan for your small business.
Legal Compliance and Opt-ins
Before using Messenger or texting (or any other communication method), make sure you follow all relevant laws.
For texting, you need explicit permission from customers. This requires them to fill out a sign-up form or something similar. An easy way to accomplish this is by having customers text a code to opt in.
It’s a bit more complicated with Facebook Messenger. You can send someone a message if they sent you one first and it is within 24 hours from the last message. Otherwise, you will have to use a Message Tag with a specific use case, get permission for a one-time notification, or send a paid Sponsored Message.
As mentioned, texting has a whopping 98% open rate. On top of that, most people will respond within three minutes of receiving the text. Facebook Messenger isn’t far behind, with an 80% open rate. This makes both options much better than email, which only has an 18% open rate.
Multimedia and Message Length
Another major difference between the two types of messages is what you can send and how long it can be. With SMS, you are limited to sending 160 characters or less. Otherwise, you must send an MMS, which will cost more. By contrast, you can make your Facebook messages as long as you want, plus include multimedia, if necessary. Just don’t make your messages too long, as overly long messages can be a deterrent for your customers.
Texting will always come with a cost, but it is likely to be included in your monthly rates from an SMS provider or a messaging service. Overall, however, texting is more affordable than many other methods.
That said, if you send messages via Facebook Messenger within the 24-hour window, it is a completely free business service. But the caveat is that messaging outside this 24-hour window will come at a cost.
Turn Conversations into Customers with Messenger
Ideally, you will use a combination of Facebook Messenger for business and texting to reach your customers. You need to evaluate your target audience and see what method they prefer to interact with your small business. You can then concentrate your efforts on that method. But as mentioned earlier, never count out one of the methods in favor of the other. You need to encourage people to reach out via their preferred method, whether that is social media, texting, or another channel.
Podium lets small businesses like yours easily interact with customers via both mediums. Best of all, you can view messages from your Facebook page, text messaging, email, and more all in one place.