Using social messaging apps to get in touch with friends, family, and coworkers in real time is at an all time high right now with no signs of letting up. What's important for businesses is the present and coming opportunities to use these same apps to connect with customers!
Social Messaging apps are quick and convenient to use, similar to text messaging on your phone but usually offering more multimedia tools and other additional features. BI Intelligence from Business Insider estimates that in 2015, social messaging apps will grow to surpass standard social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ in use, so it's a trend to pay attention to!
What are Social Messaging Apps? We're talking about apps like Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, What's App, and more. Typically they are used on Smartphone's but also have website interfaces. Small or mid-sized businesses and companies need to pay attention to these changing trends as they become tools that businesses will need to use to connect with their customers, and which may allow for advertising opportunities. They are where customers are spending time. Social messaging apps are not a flash in the pan. As these apps become the primary way people choose to communicate while using their mobile devices, companies need to adapt and change marketing strategies to reflect the usage of these apps. Let's dig into a few of the key apps in a bit more detail.
One popular and growing app is Facebook Messenger. According to HubSpot's Blog, Facebook Messenger has experienced a 50% growth rate in 2014. Integrated within Facebook and also as a stand-alone app, it's a tool that is experiencing phenomenal growth. If a business has a Facebook page, then it's possible to use Facebook Messenger as the business to connect with fans. Using Facebook Messenger companies can easily interact with customers and answer their questions and customer service concerns. Customers develop a deep loyalty to brands that take the time to reply to concerns.
It's also interesting to note that Facebook is spending considerable time on adding new features and tools to Messenger, both for the user, and for developers to add features. It's similar to how Facebook Pages evolved over the years. Basically, if Facebook is seeing growing value in Messenger for their own marketing and connecting users, then businesses want to pay attention and look for ways their business may want or need to use the tool to reach their ideal customer audience. One recent addition Facebook is rolling out for Messenger is the peer-to-peer payment integration. Connect once, and then
WhatsApp is another popular messaging app, with a particular strength of users outside of the United States. It's interesting to note that Facebook bought this app and continues to have it function as a separate and stand-alone messaging app. This online messenger app on mobile phones has a feature to integrate with a user's phone contact list and allows users to message their contacts. Employees in small to mid-sized companies can easily communicate with coworkers rather than sending out emails for quick correspondence. With one of the largest user bases of all apps at 700 million, and being owned by Facebook, this is an App to watch and be familiar with.
Viber is a step up from WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger in that it also offers voice call capabilities. Users can send text messages to their contact list as well. Viber text messages don't count against a user's data plan. For speedy communication, this is a very useful app. At this time, Viber isn't very marketable from a business to a customer yet, but that will change.
Kik has over 200 million users and can be a marketing tool for smaller companies right now. Instead of pulling contacts from the phone's contacts list, this social messaging app allows the user to register with a username. Then a user can connect with others and send text-like messages that have photo and video capabilities. A business can use Kik as a part of a marketing campaign by connecting with customers and using hashtags, videos, and images to attract business.
SnapChat has been on a serious growth curve in the past year and is an emerging force in social messaging apps. They turned down a $3 Billion purchase offer from Facebook and are said to now be valued at 3x that amount! Why? They command the important 13-25 year old demographic. Used most as a peer-to-peer image and video messaging app, there is also a text feature and a one-to-many stories feature that businesses are beginning to use. The key feature of SnapChat is that messages disappear after viewing, or in the case of stories, after 24 hours. This means users pay much more full attention when absorbing a message, much like a phone call or in-person conversation. When it's over it's gone, so viewers pay attention to each message, something marketers value! This is an emerging app that it one to watch for sure. It has a massive user base and is a growing force in social messaging.
With the new social messaging app technology, small and mid-sized businesses will have to watch as these apps progress and measure up against social media sites. With the projected growth expected, a business would be wise to start looking at possible ways to integrate some of these apps into their marketing efforts. Learn early so your business can be ready when the time is right to connect with customers where they are in "in app."
Are you using any of these apps regularly now for personal or business use? Let me know!
I'm all-in on Facebook Messenger and use SnapChat some with family and friends.