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BizReport : Social Marketing : June 04, 2019

How to determine if your business needs social media or messaging

Social media and messaging apps have seen quick adoption by consumers and some brands, but in some cases, businesses don't need both dedicated social media teams and messaging apps for customer service. Here's how to determine what your business needs.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What is the difference, from a marketing perspective, between social media and chat apps?

Cristina Constandache, CRO, Rakuten Viber: The most critical difference from a marketing standpoint is the focus of the interactions that take place on the platform. Social media promotes one-to-many conversations; for example, sharing a post on Facebook or Instagram shares your message with all of your followers to interact with via likes or comments. Chat or messaging apps provide a platform for more engaging one-ton-one or one-to-many conversations but where you actively choose who will see your interaction. Messaging apps provide brands with an opportunity to connect with individuals consumers in a more meaningful way.

Kristina: Is one better than the other? Or are both viable options of connection for brands?

Cristina: Both types of platforms can be useful to brands--where marketers get into trouble is when they develop a strategy that treats social media and chat apps the same. However, it's important to consider how data privacy on social media impacts ads to make sure they don't cross the line purely to create more personalization.

Kristina: What kind of strategy works best for social? What about for chat apps?

Cristina: The strategy is not interchangeable. On social media platforms, most information is public, so the messages and data created from users' posts, likes, comments, etc. are mostly open for platforms to collect to use in their advertising strategy. This allows brands to serve hyper-targeted ads, but can come off to the consumer as a bit creepy. On the other hand, most messaging apps, including Viber, have created a platform for more private interactions with friends and family, but also with brands. Security features such as end-to-end encryption by default ensure that user conversations are kept private, but that metadata from consumer behaviors (such as location, groups they've joined, brands they've followed) still exists to help advertisers and marketers better target ads to align with their goals. The most important differentiator between messaging apps in particular though is that some have privacy set as a default, whereas others you need to enable privacy -- it's on you to confirm your settings.

Kristina: Should brands focus on social media and chat apps for specific parts of their business?

Cristina: As with all choices brand marketers make in strategy, this all depends on the brand's goals. Social media provides brands with the ability to place hyper-targeted ads, for example, for products users previously looked at, giving them a push in the right direction to click buy on the product. Shopping integrations on some social media platforms also shorter the path to purchase, making the platforms great for impulse buying. However, messaging apps create a more interactive experience for their users with features like shopping keyboards that allow for easy sharing with friends and better discovery of new products, overall creating a better brand awareness.

For customer service, there are again different benefits for social media versus chat apps. The one-to-many concept of social media means these platforms are great for solving simple issues that may impact multiple customers. However, for more personalized attention and to solve complex customer service issues, messaging apps provide the one-on-one customer experience that many consumers crave when having issues with a brand.

Tags: advertising, ecommerce, messaging apps, mobile marketing, Rakuten Viber, social marketing, social media tips

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