Most businesses in the world are now social media believers. Terms like Snapchat and ‘viral post’ are common in boardrooms and meetings at the biggest corporations. But success online takes more than just a social media strategy; it requires a deep understanding of the mechanics of each platform.

Facebook Messenger is no different. With more than 1.8 billion users, it is hard to overlook. What should excite businesses is that Facebook has shown clear intent in making the platform amenable for marketing to that large audience. It’s why over 60 million businesses have already made a beeline for Messenger. Here’s what you need to know about what makes Messenger unique so you can have success on the platform.

Chat, Not Social

News flash: Facebook Messenger is not social media. Yes, it has the word Facebook in it. Yes, people on Facebook have automatic access to Messenger. But Messenger itself is not social media and to call it that is to ignore what makes it such a powerful tool.

Messenger is about chat and it’s important for businesses to recognize that people using the tool aren’t there to consume social media posts. It’s actually a place where people are having real conversations with their friends and family. To do well on Messenger, you have to play into its conversational DNA.

Messenger has a few tools that give you a headstart creating conversations with your audience. A feature called Messenger Greetings lets you create a message that users see when they initiate a chat. Instant Replies and Saved Replies can be used to automate responses about common queries like business hours and product availability. The businesses that have the most success on Messenger are the ones that use these native tools in combination with a dedicated strategy.

Web Integrated

Facebook Messenger conversations don’t live only on Facebook Messenger. They can also be initiated on websites. You’ve probably noticed the blue Messenger icon on the bottom corner of certain web pages. What you’re seeing there is businesses letting people know that they can turn that website visit into a conversation with the business in no time.

Facebook released the on-site chat plugin in 2017 and it has proved to be a game-changer for businesses. Before, you had a very short window of time in which to make an impact on the people who visited your website. With the website chat plugin, you can parlay a website visit into a longer conversation that lives on Facebook Messenger. It’s an invaluable tool for businesses to create relationships with customers who have shown intent to engage with their brand online.

Now, Payments

Of all the features that make Messenger unique, this one has to be the most important. Facebook came out with a payments feature on Messenger this year. It is linked to your bank account like other payments tool and is free to use. Messenger is available to both individuals sending each other money as well as those looking to transact with businesses.

Being able to accept money from customers from within Messenger is a major opportunity for businesses on the platform. What that means is that you can go from the prospect stage all the way to a full conversion all on Facebook Messenger. You don’t have to be concerned about moving the conversation from Messenger to your own website or an external payments tool. Given that ability, it is imperative that businesses create strategies that cater to users at every different stage of the customer lifecycle.

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