Sep

Social Marketing is Simple

                                                           

In its very essence social marketing is based on one simple foundation - give first, take later.

This concept of giving to the community is hardly possible to overestimate. It defines the way social networks operate and goes even deeper, to the basic principles of social interactions among humans.

In fact it is a much healthier foundation for business than traditional one, based on advertising.

Yet it runs contrary to what many entrepreneurs and business people perceive as a proper marketing approach.

Traditional marketing, such as billboards, radio ads, posters, banners, emails blasts, etc is based on two principles, a) the statistical law of big numbers, aiming to reach out to as large audience as possible while knowing that only a small percent would become interested, b) message of self-promotion and self-advertisment.  

Social marketing negates both of these principles.

Social marketing is personal, it operates individually, and in a personalised way. Which makes perfect sense from a common perspective. Would you rather be bombarded by the generic ads that in most cases have nothing to do with your interests and desires, or approached on a one-on-one basis with a chance to discuss your specific needs?

Social marketing is directed towards promoting the interests of others, not yours (or your business). Again it makes sense as we are a social species, we live in societies and rely on communication. The most successful communication strategy is the one that takes care of the needs of your communication partner.

And so, opposing the traditional marketing approach, social marketing is based on the idea of giving to the community. Which makes it more efficient than traditional marketing, if measured against the effort applied. In other words, taken 100 random prospects, we are more likely to convert them into customers if using social marketing than traditional marketing.  

But is it scalable?

(to be continued)

 

Interested in reading more? Check out our other blogs:

Building Facebook Messenger chatbot: what they forgot to tell you.

                                     

There are lots of written tutorials and online videos on this subject.

Yet many of them omit important details of the bot building process. These details may vary from one user to another and are difficult to describe in a unilateral fashion. Consequently it is easier for tutorial writers not to mention them at all. We try here to fill the gap and provide some additional clarity.

1. Creating Facebook app.

One of the first steps in building a Facebook Messenger bot is creating a Facebook App. It requires a business Facebook page. This might seem obvious to avid social users yet worth mentioning: a business Facebook page can only be created from a personal Facebook page. If you already have a business Facebook page move on to the next step. If you have a personal Facebook page go on and create a business page. If you are among the lucky ones that live without Facebook presence now is your chance to become like everybody else.

2. Getting SSL certificate.

Next you need to setup a webhook. Your web application is hosted on a web server and the webhook’s role is to establish connection between Facebook and your web application via your web server. In order for the webhook to work you need SSL certificate because Facebook supports only secure connections (HTTPS) to external web servers. So first, you need to purchase it. The costs change from one company to another but it is important to buy a reliable certificate otherwise Facebook might reject it. All major ISP companies offer SSL products. Second, you need to install it on your web server. The installation process can be tricky. Sometimes you can get technical help from the ISP company that sold you the certificate (as a rule of thumb, the bigger the brand the better their technical support is supposed to be. But the cost may be higher too). You can also rely on popular tools, such as keytool command utility, assuming you know how to use them. In any case, it might be a good idea to allocate several days, up to a week, for this step when planning your project.

3. Choosing the server environment.

Your options are (almost) unlimited. Many online tutorials use Heroku which is a cloud-based web application platform, but a simple Tomcat web server would suffice too. Your decisions should be based on your business requirements.  A lightweight server such as Tomcat is a good fit when it comes to web centric, user facing applications. If backend integration comes into play, a web application server should be considered.

Your choice of programming languages is also broad. PHP is one popular option, Java is another but the list by no means ends here. Your chatbot app communicates with Facebook using POST requests, so any language that supports web protocols will work. Again, make decisions having your business goals in mind.

READ MORE

Travel Chatbots Update

                                         

These are early days for travel bots. They mostly specialize in customer service, customer information and sometimes online booking. Advanced AI technology is good and getting better by the day, but it does not replace a person. And that's unlikely to change for a while.

In order to create a positive and enjoyable experience it is imperative to have a clear understanding of what bots do well and what they don’t.

One area where they have clear advantage over humans is response speed. Using bots makes your travel business scalable. Bot can handle mutlple user conversations simultaneously and replies instantly.

The part of the bot technology that needs significant improvement is understanding of the meaning of what customer said. The solution is to take the user off the bot when this stage of the converastion is reached. One of the popular techniques is to redirect the user from bot to the website when the questions get complicated. The majority of users are at ease with website navigation where they find themselves in the familiar environment.

This approach allows to utilize the scalability of the chatbot while maintaining the high level of customer service.

READ MORE