How Does Messaging Work for a Small Business?

Cell phone with messaging apps

I recently had the opportunity to attend a HubSpot Users Group in Cincinnati back in June. The topic of conversation: Messaging, Messaging, Messaging!

People want answers where they are at in real time at any time of the day (or night!).

Now, in theory, that sounds amazing. I love that I can message customer support for my computer when I am watching the tenth cat video of the evening at 11:45 p.m. It is absolutely necessary for me to be able to get in contact with my bank at 3 p.m. on a Saturday in the middle of a shopping spree (guilty!). And can you imagine if Facebook just decided to shut down on the weekends??

We live in a world of 24/7 on steroids.

As a small or mid-sized business, it would be normal for you to have some of these reactions…

There is no way I can live my life like that. I have to be able to unplug!

Or…

I can’t afford to have someone responding to messages and calls 24/7!

Or…

I know my customers. There is no reason for them to want to have a question answered at two o’clock in the morning.

These are all normal and logical responses to the digital space of social media and messaging.

In this crazy fast world we live in, it can sometimes feel impossible to stay up-to-date as a small business when you’re never sure if the newest trend will be tomorrow’s fad. But here’s the thing about messaging: it is not just another step forward, but also oddly enough, it is a step back to our roots as well. (Think about it like a very awkward waltz)

By implementing messaging into your sales process, customer service, and community relations, you put the “human” aspect back into the digital space.

Take for example this quote from Facebook IQ:

“People crave human connections. And with messaging making connections easier than ever, it is perhaps no surprise that messaging has become an integral part of billions of people’s daily lives around the world.”

So whether we like it or not, messaging is here to stay. And it is one of the best steps forward businesses have made in the past two years.

But what does this look like from a practical standpoint?

At Holmes, we are Strong Believers in Calculated Trial & Error

We took the first step into messages by optimizing our Facebook Messenger skills. Since we cannot man a desk every second of every day, we took the time to think through and write out some very basic automated responses and programmed them through the free service, ManyChat.

Now, this program is not technically AI (yet). And it does not have an answer to everything. But what it can do is offer a quick answer to a quick question. It can also let someone know that we are currently unavailable, but it will save all the information and notify the team so we can respond ASAP. Most importantly, it allows our audience to know that we are always there to answer a question or talk through a challenge.

Step Two

Within our CRM, we have the ability to implement messages onto our actual website. We ran the numbers and found out that our consistently highest viewed pages are Our Work and Our Team. By being a resource for our website visitors and meeting them where they are at, we are able to be helpful instead of a hindrance.

(Psst! Want to try it out? You can talk to me directly by clicking the little messages icon in the bottom righthand corner of this blog post!)

But What About You?

Jumping into the world of messages and social media is and always will be scary. But that is why we will always try things first before we ever recommend it to you.

And as a fellow small business, we are here to tell you…

Unplugging is definitely still a must. Just start slow and really analyze the best places to implement messaging into your business model.

And…

The best part about messages is the acceptance and usage of programmed automated bots that can carry a conversation until you can get back to the platform.

And…

While your customers might not currently have a way to get their questions answered at two o’clock in the morning, it doesn’t mean they don’t still have them. You have to give them the opportunity to ask!

Do you have questions or want to talk through what messaging would look like for your company? Feel free to message us here!