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How Brands Can Leverage Everyday Messaging Apps

We recently walked you through a high-level understanding of what you need to know about global mobile messaging applications. Now, we’ll take a deeper dive into two messaging apps whose potential for brand use may surprise you. If you’re like most of us here at Ignite Social Media, you probably use both of these apps on a regular basis without thinking about the potential they carry for brand activation. But both Facebook Messenger and Skype can do more by way of engaging consumers than you might expect.

Most of us only use Facebook Messenger to chat with our Facebook friends but retail brands can now use the platform, dubbed Messenger for Business, to chat directly with their consumers. Retailers like Everlane and Zulily are utilizing the app to have real-time conversations with their customers and keep them updated on their e-commerce orders. The experience can be pretty seamless. At times, Messenger for Business can integrate with the brand’s live chat provider, allowing their e-commerce websites to link out directly to the Messenger app after a purchase is made. Other times, users who ‘Like’ the brand’s page on Facebook can message the brand within the app to ask any questions they may have. Both brands are speedy in their responses. Take it from me:

FB Chat

Facebook Messenger also allows brands to create custom layouts for different messages, like order confirmations and shipping updates. That integration is thanks to FedEx and the United States Postal Service.

FB Custom Layout

Right now, Messenger for Business is only available to select enterprise retailers via an application process. Will Messenger for Business ever overtake Twitter as the choice for rapid social customer service? Probably not but the potential for brands to integrate ecommerce, customer service, and their social presence is pretty impressive and could definitely lead to incremental income for brands who opt in.

While Facebook Messenger currently sits in second place for the largest messaging platform by user base, Skype falls lower on its number of users. But it’s not for naught as some brands have found interesting ways to leverage the app to engage their audiences.

JacksGap, an online brand born out of a passion for travelling and storytelling, leveraged Skype to engage its audience around the question: “What Do You Fear?”. The brand asked its fans to submit their answers via a Skype video message. The result was an astonishing 2,500 pieces of user generated video content from across twenty countries. Not too shabby, especially for such a powerful question.

India’s Got Talent also partnered with Skype to bring weekly webisodes, Behind the Talent, to its audience. Each Thursday, a webisode aired from the brand’s Skype handle and allowed fans exclusive access to footage, bloopers, and episode highlights. Fans could also chat with India’s Got Talent on Skype to ask the judges questions, connect with other fans of the show, and enter for a chance to win special prizes.

VICE News is also leveraging Skype to engage its millennial audience and ensure that these fans can have a voice. To that end, they’re encouraging fans to send VICE News a Skype video message with their thoughts on certain news or pop cultural issues. Fans who send along their videos may end up live on VICE News streams.

So, contrary to popular belief, Skype isn’t relegated to the domain of ‘pinging’ your co-workers about the latest status document. Brands can definitely get in on the action, so long as they’re creative enough.

What thoughts do you have about how brands can engage audiences on these messaging platforms?

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