Chat Automation and Direct Marketing Tips From ManyChat CEO Mike Yan at the 2022 Instagram Summit

ManyChat CEO and Co-founder Mike Yan at the 2022 Instagram Summit

Since its formation in 2015, ManyChat has been a leader in chat automation and is now the number one chat marketing platform in the world. Two million businesses in 170 countries have tried its products and services.

In 2021, the company hosted its first-ever Instagram Summit to discuss advantages that DM automation and omnichannel marketing can provide for a business’s customer service strategy. While more than 8,000 registered users attended the 2021 event, the 2022 Instagram Summit was even more popular, with over 20,000 registrations and attendance by users in 30 different countries. 

On Day 1, ManyChat co-founder and CEO Mike Yan delivered the keynote address, covering issues such as creating hyper-growth, using DM automation on social media to supercharge sales, and why an omnichannel marketing approach is necessary to dramatically increase customer service and satisfaction. Here are some takeaways from the speech.

Instagram DM Automation grew much faster than any other type of automation

…And it’s not too late to adopt it.

In 2021, ManyChat launched Instagram DM automation, a chat marketing feature to help businesses increase conversions and sales. Your company can direct social media audiences to automated content in your DMs by using keywords and call-to-action questions on posts, among other triggers.

But while all of ManyChat’s Automation efforts experienced considerable growth in the past year, usage of Instagram DM Automation grew faster than any other type of automation.

With more than 70,000 connected Instagram accounts and 400,000+ automations built, Instagram users have sent nearly 300 million instant messages to their contacts. There’s no question that Instagram DM Automation is ManyChat’s fastest-growing product ever.

And yet, since Instagram has more than 200 million business-related accounts, there is still considerable opportunity for growth. Yan estimated that DM automation as a marketing strategy will be standard practice within two years, so now is the time to adopt DM automation to support your social media marketing efforts and customer service strategies.

Chat marketing leads to growing communities and increasing engagement

Chatbot automation works because it allows your company to interact with a more significant number of potential customers than possible with just human-powered customer support.

One of the advantages of chat marketing is that, with the right strategies, you can use automation to supply information about your other products and services. And once communication has been established with a potential customer, chat automation provides opportunities for cross-selling additional services, upselling premium products, and increasing the likelihood of repeat customers.

Furthermore, it is vital that you leverage communication on social media to acquire data that will help you convert Instagram customers.

Instagram DM Automation provides the ability to communicate with users without leaving the platform and lets you capture the usernames, emails, and phone numbers of potential customers.

Combine Automation and live chat for optimal results

ManyChat was the first company to combine chatbots and live chat in an email channel, an SMS channel, and channels on WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger.

Yan believes that chatbot automation and live chat with human customer service should not be competing strategies, but should instead complement each other.

While automated chat is less expensive to maintain and has the advantage of being scalable as you grow, customer support through live chat is far more successful when it comes to conversion and building long-term relationships and trust with the company.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that 30% of Instagram accounts using automated DMs also use live chat for customer support.

To use live chat successfully, your company must have a targeted approach to content that allows your customer service to focus on the best leads. This is where automated chat can help.

Yan notes that tools available with Instagram DM Automation allow companies to ascertain follower count or discover whether the customer currently follows the company.

As a result, automated chat on social media can qualify and sort leads in a gatekeeping capacity, eventually sending those potential customers with the greatest likelihood of sales or the largest number of followers to interact with customer service through live chat, which has a better chance of increasing customer engagement.

Chat supports omnichannel marketing for growth of sales

These days, people have many social media options for keeping in touch with friends and family—iMessage, text, WhatsApp, Telegram, and email—as well as the direct messaging functionality available through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media platforms.

In some countries, 95% of the population uses messaging apps. And while the United States lags, with about 60% of its population using messaging apps, the number of users is expected to rise considerably within the next two years.

However, while it may be tempting to dismiss more conventional communication channels such as email or SMS as inefficient compared to social media marketing, that would be a mistake. Both email and SMS have the advantage of being universally available and reliable and provide content that results in an improved customer experience.

While at first email offers much lower conversion rates and is a far less interactive experience for customers than customer service through live or automated chat, email allows companies to maintain customer lists that they can then take to any other messaging or social media platform.

Email marketing also offers better opportunities to re-engage customers than many messaging platforms and is unparalleled in providing content that encourages long-term customer engagement.

Therefore, as chatbots, social media marketing and traditional communication channels have different strengths and weaknesses, devising an omnichannel approach for your content is the best way to reach the largest number of ideal customers.

Chat automation is just the first step in sales

It’s a mistake just to automate your DMs and believe that will be enough to improve your sales or capture your audience’s attention. You need targeted content in your DMs to improve customer service.

Yan recommends setting up a welcome menu with “conversation starters” in your automation. A potential customer who sends a direct message to your company will then get a menu of information about your products and services, or specific content to guide a conversation.

Another possibility is setting up an automation to send an automatic thank you to customers who mention your company in their Instagram Story. Setting up a comments growth tool will allow you to connect with anyone who comments during your Instagram Live.

You can also offer incentives that encourage Instagram followers to tag their friends, who can then be contacted by automated DMs and directed to customer service.

Generating successful social media interactions with your customers requires marketing content that contains the right keywords, which should be short and simple, and ideally calls to action that can lead to increased contact and communication.

The best keywords minimize customer effort while maximizing customer interactions and the possibility of conversions. For successful Instagram marketing and customer service, your company should place keyword content in various locations (IG Live, Instagram Reels, Instagram Ads, and your company’s bio) to increase followers and improve brand awareness.

The 2022 Instagram Summit supports the idea that the best Instagram marketing strategy is a hybrid approach to content that uses automation and live chat interaction as the key to increasing sales and improving customer service. And ManyChat can provide a platform that combines chat, email, and SMS to create an omnichannel marketing strategy that reaches the widest audience.

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The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.