One of the things that makes small businesses so special is how personal they are. When you walk into your local bakery or stop by your corner bodega, it’s not just about the box of cookies you need for your last-minute dinner party or the carton of milk you’re picking up for your morning coffee, it’s about the people behind the business, and the relationship you have built with them over the years.
While many small businesses still have a community of local, loyal customers who frequent their establishment regularly, many others rely heavily on technology to reach their audience, with an increasing number of small businesses building their livelihoods entirely online. Technology has helped businesses large and small reach more people than ever before, but sometimes digital marketing can feel like it’s missing that personal connection. Messaging changes that. According to a study we recently commissioned, messaging adoption has grown significantly in the past two years, and is now the most frequently used form of communication across regions. According to this same study, Messenger is the only messaging app used by more than half the population across all age-groups, with 58% of people who use Messenger saying they use the app every day.
While people are using messaging more and more to connect with the people they love, they are increasingly turning to messaging to connect with the brands they care about; according to a Facebook-commissioned study by Nielsen, 63% of people surveyed said their messaging with businesses has increased over the past two years, and 67% expect to message businesses even more over the next two years. In fact, in 2017 alone over 330 million people connected with a small business on Messenger for the first time.
We are also seeing certain industries really take off on the platform, with professional services, retail, public good and local entertainment taking the lead. Aprille Franks-Hunt, a Master Business Coach in Oklahoma, uses Messenger to connect with her community, distribute materials and encourage signups for her seminars. Mermaid Pillow Company, a family-owned business in Nebraska that sells “Kids Positivity” pillows and arm bands, uses Messenger to answer questions and enable transactions, recently implementing the customer chat plugin on their website to connect with their customers across their website and Messenger. And Love Your Melon, a Minnesota-based brand dedicated to providing a hat to every child battling cancer in the US and supporting the fight against pediatric cancer, harnesses Messenger as a powerful re-engagement channel, using sponsored messages to promote new merchandise.
We are so inspired by the small businesses who are already using Messenger to connect with their community and customers, and with Small Business Saturday – an annual shopping event dedicated to supporting small businesses – around the corner, we’re excited to share a few resources for folks looking to get started on the platform today.
Today we are announcing the launch of Messenger’s first ‘bot makeover contest’ in partnership with bot development platform ManyChat. Three winners* will receive a makeover to their Messenger experience courtesy of ManyChat, along with consultation from our team of Messenger experts here at Facebook. Each winner will also receive $5,000 in ad credits to be used to drive discovery of their new and improved Messenger experience. Submissions are open today, November 20, 2017 through Monday, December 4, 2017 at 8:00pm PST/11:00pm EST, with the winners being announced in mid-December.
For small business owners looking to get started on Messenger, on Tuesday, November 21st at 3:00pm PST/6:00pm EST we will be partnering with small business expert Gene Marks for a Facebook Live panel about Messenger best practices. He will be joined by our very own Stefanos Loukakos, Head of Messenger Business and small business owner and Master Business Coach Aprille Franks-Hunt who can share her personal experience using Messenger to drive results and build stronger relationships. We will also be taking live questions that Gene, Stefanos and Aprille will answer at the end of the panel, so be sure to tune in and ask about anything you’ve ever wanted to know about Messenger for your business.
We’re so grateful to all the small businesses who have already chosen Messenger to connect with their community, and we look forward to empowering even more business owners to use Messenger to drive results and make business personal.
*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Submission phase begins 11/20/2017 at 10:00:00AM PT & ends 12/4/2017 at 8:00:00PM PT. Only open to businesses (legal entities and individuals) that: have a valid Facebook account; are a resident or legally formed in 50 U.S., DC or PR; have 100 or fewer employees; as of the contest start date, uses Messenger to connect with customers and uses digital marketing channels; & is 18+ and maj+. 3 winners determined by highest score using criteria: Commitment to messaging (40%); Business goal (40%); & Creativity (20%). Void where prohibited by law. SUBJECT TO FULL OFFICIAL RULES, which contain important bot and content restrictions and requirements. ARV of each Prize: $8,000. Total ARV $24,000. Ad credits must be used within 90 days of issuance and are subject to their terms. Verified winner must spend minimum required time on Messenger marketing to make use of the prize or it will be forfeited. Sponsor: Facebook, Inc., 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025.