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Messaging Apps and Chatbots: The Next Big Thing for Brands on Social Media

3 MINUTE READ | April 11, 2016

Messaging Apps and Chatbots: The Next Big Thing for Brands on Social Media

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Devon Eubanks

Devon Eubanks has written this article. More details coming soon.

The rise of messaging apps is here. And, it’s clear that private messaging is the next big thing for brands on social media. Personalization and one-on-one interactions within social has long been an aspiration for many brands. Now, through the use of chatbots, that dream is becoming reality.

So what is a chatbot?

Chatbots are computer programs that allow businesses to build automated response systems to interact with potential customers one-on-one using artificial intelligence.

Chatbots will change the way users interact with the internet, creating an all inclusive environment within messaging apps. For example, users will no longer have to download multiple apps to go on a trip. Rather, they will be able to book a flight, hail a cab and reserve a restaurant for dinner, all within one messaging platform.

Why should brands care?

To put it simply, chatbots have the potential to replace individual apps all together. Messaging apps represent direct, instant interactions with customers. From customer service to purchasing products, the entire ecosystem is now becoming easier. There is no longer a need to download a separate app, sign up and create a completely separate account for a one-time order. By simplifying the process, brands will make it easier for customers to engage with them and purchase from them.

What’s the latest news in the world of messaging apps and bots?

  • This past week, the messaging app Kik launched its bot store. Kik is the first messaging app to launch a bot store to find bots from official partners, giving users a quick and easy way to pull information from their favorite brands and publishers.

  • Multiple sources, including Tech Crunch, are anticipating the announcement of Facebook Messenger’s chatbot and live chat APIs at F8. According to Tech Crunch, the Facebook announcement would include a chatbot API for chatbot providers to help businesses build automated response systems for answering potential customers, as well as assistance for live chat developers who want to revolutionize the “message us” plug-ins on their websites. The live chat tie in would allow users to directly message businesses with questions directly within Facebook Messenger, rather than building their own messaging platforms or pushing users to contact them by email or phone.

  • Facebook also recently announced a variety of new Facebook Messenger capabilities for brands to make it easier for users to find and contact them.

What brands are already using bots?

Sephora, Barbie, Uber, the Weather Channel and KLM are just a few examples of the brands who jumped on the messaging app bot train early.

For the first time, Sephora can now provide their exceptional one-on-one, in-store service and recommendations to online buyers through the use of bots. The best part is, users can get more than beauty tips and recommendations. They can actually purchase the product directly through Kik using the Sephora bot. The definition of a true one stop shop.

KLM is creating a similar experience on Facebook Messenger as the first official airline partner. Everyone knows that travel can be a customer service nightmare, but not for KLM flyers. They will be able to automatically look at their itinerary, check flight updates, download their boarding passes, and even rebook flights when needed. No more standing on line or waiting on hold to change flights.

More messaging app and chatbot resources:

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