I remember when Facebook introduced their messenger service and how I mentally groaned at the idea of yet another way I’d have to keep up with correspondence. Heck, at times I even threw on my tinfoil hat and thought for sure that Facebook was spying on me through their messenger service. But, once I regained my composure and gave it a chance, I learned what many already knew: Facebook Messenger is quickly becoming the new email newsletter.
I, like many other photographers, have struggled to keep my photography business in front of potential clients online. As social media continues to flourish and companies like Facebook continue to change and improve their algorithm, small businesses like mine are finding it harder and harder to get our brand in front of the people that matter in order to continue to use social media successfully for our businesses. This is why email marketing has been so favored and essential. In the past, the only way to stay at the forefront of a client’s mind would be to regularly send out updates, news, and educational content through email newsletters. Nowadays, Facebook Messenger and all it has to offer is changing how photographers and small businesses alike can stay in touch with clients and get booked more often.
Before you put your tinfoil hats on too, let me explain. Email newsletters have been vastly successful since the first big newsletter was sent out (in the 1970’s, no less). That first newsletter generated hundreds of thousands of dollars. Since then, senders of email newsletters have seen a high ROI. This is why marketing through email is considered to be one of the most successful and cost-effective ways a business can advertise itself.
And though email newsletters are primarily considered very successful, if we talk numbers, a great email newsletter campaign would be seeing a 20%-30% open rate. That number seems low, but it is considered quite good. However, with the advent of social media and new ways to connect and build relationships with potential clients, Facebook Messenger is quickly starting to trump the traditional email newsletter marketing strategy.
Organic Reach on Facebook is Dead
If you have a business page for your photography business on Facebook, then you already know that organic reach on the social media platform is dying a slow and agonizing death. And as if it wasn’t already bad, in an announcement at the beginning of the year, Mark Zuckerberg said that the social media giant would be limiting the reach of businesses and advertisers even more in the coming months. In the past, even though organic reach was suffering, photographers could still build relationships with potential clients by providing valuable content for their clients through Facebook ads and shared posts, but now it seems that even valuable content won’t be enough to gain engagement. After all, people can’t engage with our photography pages if they don’t know they exist.
Facebook Messenger for the Win
In the past four months, I’ve seen a trend when people inquire on my Facebook business page: they begin the conversation with the phrase “Get started.” At first, I was perplexed as to why anyone would reach out to me with such a simple statement before following up with their info and inquiry. It is because Facebook users are already accustomed to an automated experience with businesses while using the Facebook Messenger feature. The phrase “Get started” is a universal phrase used by third-party companies that create an automated experience for businesses through Facebook Messenger. Much like an automated email reply, with services like ManyChat, businesses can transform their Facebook Messenger into an automated service for their clients. Whats more, most messenger bot services allow you to customize your brand voice which is extremely important to setting proper expectations for your clients and conveying your brand clearly.
An automated bot service may sound impersonal, but It greatly helps drive a client into booking your services. Not only does an automated service create an instant experience and offer answers in the moment, but it also gives the impression of professionalism for your photography business.
A Better Open-Rate Than Email
Earlier I mentioned that 20%-30% was considered an excellent open-rate for email newsletters. With Facebook Messenger, that number jumps to 80%-95%. Clients are much more inclined to open their Facebook messages, which not only allows you and your message to be seen more, it also allows you to stay at the forefront of your current and future clients’ minds. If you’re wondering why this matters, its because as business owners we should constantly be looking for ways to keep the ball in our court instead of our client’s court. If we have the contact info of our client, we have a better opportunity to be able to reach out and show our clients our worth. If a client understands our worth (and I’ll be honest, it's our job as professionals to educate our clients on why we’re worth what we are worth), they’ll be much more inclined to book. And isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day? To get booked? Yes, of course it is.
If you’re looking for new ways to create great experiences for your customers this year, or new ways to market yourself, give Facebook Messenger a shot. It may be the missing puzzle piece you need to succeed even more in 2018.
Lead Image by freestocks.org via Pexels.