• November 2, 2016

Get the Message? How to Use Messaging Apps to Your Advantage

Context is key to using these platforms effectively.

Messaging apps like Kik, WeChat, and Line are poised to change the way that people do business. In the not-too-distant future, they’re the platforms we’ll use to interact with our customers, create engagement, automate manual tasks, and ultimately help shepherd potential buyers down the path to purchase. In fact, that’s already happening to a certain extent. These days, using messaging apps to buy a pizza or order a taxi is becoming the norm.

Knowing that messaging apps are the future is a start, but as a business leader, what can you do to not only embrace this trend, but also make sure that your company is ready to take advantage of it? As always, it’s a good idea to start with the basics.

Know Your Audience

First off, make sure that you really understand the audience you want want to interact with via messaging apps. Specifically, that includes knowing how they engage with the world and how they want to interact with you. To give your customers the best experiences possible, you need to understand where they hang out online and the best ways to engage with them in those environments.

Beyond that, you should also seek out any information that can inform the conversations you want to have with your audience. That includes details such as their age and location, their intent based on past conversations and other context, as well as how they speak, including their use of slang and jargon. The more information like this that you have, the easier it’s going to be to communicate effectively in a way that resonates with your audience.

Understand the Messaging Environments

Next, if you haven’t already done so, become a user yourself. Unfortunately, simply having Facebook Messenger installed on your phone isn’t going to cut it. You’ve actually got to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty by engaging in the different messaging environments. In the process, you’ll want to raise your awareness about how people interact in each.

You’ll find, for example, that the way people use Snapchat, where messages are temporary and usually include photos and videos, is very different than how people use a more traditional messaging app like WhatsApp. Understanding these and other nuances will allow you to identify the right places and ways to engage with your customers.

Context is Key

To use messaging apps to interact with your customers, you need to develop a rich contextual understanding of both. Otherwise you risk investing a lot of time and money trying to connect with your audience in the wrong place, in the wrong way, or in such a fashion that leaves them underwhelmed and not interested in continuing.

If you invest some time upfront into doing your homework, the rest will fall into place.

Like this story? Read more about meeting customers where they are, and learn how digital transformation begins with applications.