Today, we’re excited to launch, SocialChat by Buffer, a simple, free tool that enables visitors to start social media conversations on your website.
Each and every day, people visit your website to learn more about your business.
The problem is a large percentage of websites don’t really support visitors in helping them to find what they want. In reality, most website visits are simply ignored — that was excusable a couple of years back, but not so much now.
People in 2018 don’t want to have to search your website for a contact form or spend ages crafting an email request. In fact, they don’t really want to use traditional social media channels for communication.
Now, it’s all about private, 1:1 messages.
But don’t just take our word for it: Gartner forecasts that by 2019, requests for customer support through consumer mobile messaging apps will exceed requests for customer support through traditional social media.
This is why we built SocialChat.
SocialChat lets your customers start conversations with you on your website, and continue them privately, right where they feel comfortable, via Messenger and Twitter DMs. It can be enabled with just a couple of lines of code. No software or other tools needed!
We’ve been experimenting with SocialChat for a while and are excited about to share this tool with you for a few reasons:
1. The conversation doesn’t have to end when the visitor leaves your site. With SocialChat your website visitors can then easily send you a Facebook message or Twitter DM, and you can turn each visit into an ongoing relationship on social media.
2. It’s human and authentic. Chatbots are pretty awesome, but you just can’t replace the feeling of talking to another person. Chatting through Messenger and Twitter feels super personal as it’s a method used by billions across the globe to chat with friends, and family. A Conversocial study found that over half (59 percent) of people considered interacting with a human agent to be more important than being serviced by a bot or AI-driven resolution.
3. Business has always been social. As Facebook’s David Marcus told USA Today, commerce has always been social: “For so long, doing business was always conversational. Web (e-commerce) is truly an anomaly. It feels good to have a more human relationship when you’re buying things.”
Why social messaging is the new normal for customer engagement
When customers started turning to social media for support, it happened on Facebook Pages and public tweets. Now, however, for many brands, the majority of questions and conversations have shifted to private messaging channels.
Here are a couple of reasons for that change:
1. Messaging is convenient, familiar, and fast
Businesses tend to use communication channels that are familiar to consumers.
When a phone call was the number one way to keep in touch, businesses offered phone support and sales. When email took over as the default communication channel, businesses followed. Now that the majority or peer-to-peer communication happens over social messaging apps and products, businesses have again followed suit.
Social messaging is fast becoming the new normal for customer support and engagement. According to a Facebook-commissioned study by Nielsen, 56 percent of people surveyed would rather message a business than call customer service, and 67 percent expect to message businesses even more over the next two years.
By using channels that feel familiar, businesses are able to engage with customers and prospects in channels they feel comfortable with.
Messaging is also quick. Most consumers use a form of messaging app every day — multiple times per day, even — so replying to a thread with a business feels much more natural than heading to their email account.
2. Platforms are embracing private communication
On Messenger alone, there are more than eight billion messages exchanged between consumers and businesses every month.
And platforms are constantly taking steps to make it easier for consumers to connect with brands through direct messages. For example, it’s now very simple to add Messenger buttons to your Facebook Page and Twitter DM direct links to your profile, making it easier than ever for consumers to reach out and talk with your business privately:
And with SocialChat, you can take this one step further and add direct message links directly to your website:
We made it easy and 100 percent free to get started with SocialChat
We built SocialChat because we wanted a free and easy way for businesses to help start conversations with prospects and customers and turn those conversations into ongoing relationships on social media.
Here’s how to get up and running with SocialChat in three simple steps:
Step 1: Customize Your Widget
Go to buffer.com/reply/socialchat and customize the appearance and copy that will display within your widget.
Step 2: Add the code to your site
Copy your custom embed code to your clipboard and paste it into your website before the closing tag (or ask your website developer to do it for you.) If you’re using WordPress, check out this plugin to easily add your embed code to your website instead.
Step 3: You’re all set
You’re ready to chat with website visitors through Facebook Messenger or Twitter DMs. It’s that easy!
Here’s how the widget looks on this blog (it’s live on this page too so you can test it for yourself):
We believe that social messaging is the next frontier of customer support and engagement.
Agree with us?
We hope SocialChat will make it easier for you to reap the benefits of social messaging too, and we’d love for you to give it a try.
If you have any thoughts on feedback on SocialChat, please let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.