In 2011, nearly $1.1 trillion in sales were web-influenced. Since then, e-commerce has only continued to grow. Understandably, businesses who are looking to connect with customers online are always on the lookout for more innovative tools to attract consumers. For many businesses, there’s no better platform to use to reach their demographic than Facebook. Now, the social media site has introduced a new version of their chat feature that may help businesses build their brand and reach new consumers.
The ever-evolving digital realm is rife with ways to reach potential customers. After all, 60% of marketers create at least one new piece of content each day in an effort to drive traffic and sales. But due to changing algorithms, it can be tough to reach customers consistently, even if you pay for sponsored content. Facebook Messenger has been around for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that businesses have been able to utilize it to connect with their customers. The newest version of their chat tool, Messenger Platform 2.2, is actually a plugin that businesses can use either on their own website or through the Facebook platform itself to talk to customers. Since Facebook messenger can easily be accessed via smartphone and tablets, it can be an easy way for mobile customers to connect to the brand they’re interested in.
The updated platform also allows businesses to track and log their conversations and use the payment feature to make sales a breeze. It also lets customers navigate seamlessly from Facebook to the brand’s website (or vice versa) without losing the chat history. It’s a great alternative for websites that don’t already have a built-in chat feature, too. The release builds on tools released last year meant to help businesses improve their brand visibility and reach, like Smart Replies, Chat Extensions, and the Discover Tab. Currently, it’s operating in closed beta, but there is a waitlist businesses can join if they want in.
Not only is Facebook making efforts to improve features for businesses, but they’re also focusing more on the idea of women heading up those businesses and how female empowerment needs to become a reality in the workplace. Or at least, one Facebook exec is. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg explained in a Facebook post (of course) that workplace equality isn’t simply about providing more opportunities for women; it’s also ensuring that they have the chance to succeed without anything standing in their way. In the wake of a host of sexual harassment headlines, Sandberg said:
“While this is no doubt a watershed moment in empowering victims to speak up, sharing stories — which takes immense courage by itself — is…not enough. We need systemic, lasting changes that deter bad behavior and protect everyone, from professionals climbing the corporate ladder to workers in low-paid positions who often have little power. We need to end the abuse of power imbalances due to gender — and race and ethnicity, too. We must not lose this opportunity.”
Although Sandberg’s post and her company’s new feature aren’t necessarily related, both are dedicated to providing chances for individuals and entire businesses to succeed using the best tools at their disposal. Whether or not companies will choose to implement either concept remains to be seen.