Facebook Messenger ads are all the craze right now.
They’re the most PERSONAL ad type on the market.
Our culture has bred an expectation of instantaneous communication. Whether through text, chat, or social media… when someone sends you a message, you FEEL the need to respond in a timely manner (or at least most of us do ☺).
Think about it—this is what makes Facebook Messenger marketing so powerful. It taps into a channel that 1+ billion people are already using… and also facilitates communication in a way that people now expect.
As messenger becomes a more and more common communication channel for companies, the brands that utilize messenger to communicate with their prospects and customers will win.
In a separate post I explained the ins-and-outs of Facebook Messenger Ads, and now I’m going to expand on that information by highlighting one of the most popular messenger marketing features out there: the comment-to-messenger tool.
The way this tool works is pretty simple, really cool, and ultra-effective. Basically, you just sync a Facebook post (or ad) with your favorite messenger marketing tool (mine is definitely ManyChat)…
…and it will automatically message anyone who comments on that post!
And as always, if they interact with your bot then they will be added to your subscriber list and you can continue to follow up with them via messenger.
This is really exciting stuff, guys.
Today, I’ll be explaining the details of this tool:
- What it’s good for
- When to use it
- And tips to get the best results possible from your comment-to-messenger campaigns
But before we talk about the “how,” let’s talk about…
Why Does Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger Feature Matter?
- It’s an easy way to build messenger subscribers
Facebook allows you to build a “list” of messenger subscribers that you can later send broadcasts to (similar to email, but we’re seeing 80%+ open rates). If you read this post, you know why this is so important.
To become a messenger subscriber, someone simply has to have messaged your page in the past. If you use the feature the way I outline below, you can build a subscriber list using the same comment-to-message strategy we are… without even buying ads.
- Increases relevance score
If you are using the comment-to-message strategy and then turning that post into an ad, this is going to significantly increase relevance score.
Relevance score is a number out of 10 that Facebook uses to tell advertisers how relevant their ad is to the audience in which they’re targeting.
The higher the relevance score, the more reach your ad gets and the lower the cost.
Social proof weighs heavily on your relevance score, so the more positive comments, shares, and reactions that your post gets, the higher the score.
By accumulating a ton of comments on your post using this strategy, you are in turn increasing your relevance score—and encouraging Facebook to show your post to even more people.
- It’s a great strategy to generate leads and sales (isn’t that what we REALLY want?)
This digital advertising strategy isn’t just about “talking” or “building a list.” You can use it to generate leads and sales for your business, too.
The key is to make sure your post leads to an ideal sales conversation for your business.
Asking people to comment with their favorite color just to build your messenger list isn’t the best way to use this feature (unless you’re selling something that has to do with coloring 😀 ).
You can use ManyChat to set up an automated follow-up sequence that eventually leads someone to a sale. You can also use ManyChat’s tagging system to segment audiences so that you can make them an offer that’s most relevant to them.
How Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger Feature Works
So, how does it work?
I’m glad you asked!
First I’m going to explain the big picture, to help give you some context. Then I’ll walk you through an example just to make sure everything is 100% clear. And finally, I’ll dive into the specifics of exactly how to get started using this tool in your own business.
In a nutshell, the comment-to-messenger feature works like this:
- Create a Facebook post. I recommend asking a polarizing question and letting people know that when they leave a comment they will automatically receive a message on messenger.
- Set up the comment-to-messenger growth tool inside of ManyChat and sync it with the post you created in Step 1. Part of this will include deciding on what message(s) people will receive when they comment on your post.
- If you want to promote your post as an ad, you can set that up inside the Ads Manager. Just be sure to choose “Engagement” as your objective.
Here’s an example of what this looks like from the user’s perspective.
First, you’ll see a post in your newsfeed (it could be a paid ad or an organic post). Like this one:
Notice how the post sets your expectation—it tells you that if you leave a comment, you’ll get a response via messenger.
After you post a comment, you’ll automatically get this message:
Scroll down and you’ll see the offer being promoted—a free container of protein:
And finally, see how easy it is to respond—just tap “Heck Yes!” or “No, thanks”:
Pretty simple, right? As the user, all you have to do is comment on a post, read a short message inside of messenger, and click “Yes” to claim the offer.
If you interact with the bot in any way—even if it’s to say “No, thanks”—you will be automatically subscribed to this advertiser’s messenger list. Then over the next few days, you’ll continue to receive follow-up messages from them.
And as you can see here, those follow-up sequences can be extremely effective:
Open rates of 88.4%-98.5%, and click-through rates of 18.8%-80.7%?
Compared to traditional email marketing engagement metrics, those numbers are INSANE. (In a good way.)
Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger Feature in Action
This is still a relatively new feature, so we’re still testing and finding ways to use it ourselves.
But, we’ve already seen some other marketers do cool things on their own pages.
Our good friend, Derek Halpern, recently published a post in which he asked a question: “What is a good (and realistic) sales page conversion rate?”
Once you comment on this post with your guess, Derek sends you a message with the answer. He also takes advantage of your attention to make a relevant offer and send interested visitors to a webinar registration page:
Derek then broadcasted to his messenger list a few days later…
Cole from Sherpa Metrics also used this functionality to generate 500+ messenger subscribers and to segment his audience in efforts to make relevant offers…
Then he followed up to further segment the audience…
Within 36 hours, Cole was already seeing insane open and click-through rates…
How to Set Up Facebook’s Comment-to-Messenger Feature
It may seem complicated, but this feature is actually pretty easy to put into action.
Step 1 is to create the post that you’ll use. And to do this, you have 2 options:
- You can use a normal post that anyone can see on your wall
- Or you can create a post in the Business Manager that won’t be front-facing on your Facebook page. To do that, just make your way to the Page Posts area here:
The only difference is whether the post will be shown on your Facebook page or not. If it’s not, you’ll need to promote the post through an ad in order to generate impressions.
Step 2 is to set up your growth tool. To do that, just log into your ManyChat account and click on “Growth Tools” and then “+ New Growth Tool”:
Then choose “Facebook Comments”:
You then have the option to select the post you’d like to use based on its URL, post ID, or a dropdown list of recent posts to your page:
Notice that you can choose to send messages after a certain period of time, to exclude certain keywords, and to only trigger comments for certain keywords…
For the best results, here are the settings I typically recommend:
- Track first-level comments only: Turn this ON
- When user leaves a comment, send message after: Immediately
- Exclude comments with these keywords: Leave this blank
- Only trigger for comments with these keywords: Leave this blank
Next, you’ll click the “Auto-response” button:
This is where you’ll craft the automatic response that people will receive in their inbox after they comment on your post. This response should deliver on the promise you made in the post, and prompt the user to engage with you (so they’ll become a subscriber).
Notice the sentence in parentheses at the bottom of our welcome message:
Facebook automatically adds a link back to the original post, so we always put a line of text here telling people to ignore that link so it doesn’t cause confusion.
Then, you’ll hit “Back” and then “Save.”
Next, How Do We Trigger Specific Follow-Up Messages for Certain Keywords?
You need to set up automation for the keyword you’re asking them to type into messenger. For example, in one of our campaigns, we set up an automation that delivers a free report to anyone who types the word “guide.”
As you can see above, we clicked the “Keywords” button under “Automation.”
We then created a new rule that when people typed “guide,” we responded with…
We also told ManyChat that we wanted to tag them as having downloaded this report…
The tagging is important because now we can visit the “audience” tab and see how many people have messaged from that particular post, AND we can subscribe everyone with that tag to a particular follow-up sequence…
Using this feature we’re able to generate lots of high-quality leads and customers while helping us to learn more about our audience at the same time.
Comment-to-messenger is definitely not the best growth tool for every possible situation. But it works great for generating a discussion on Facebook that transitions to messenger.
And it gives you a lot of freedom to get creative with how you engage with your customers. So definitely brainstorm new and creative ways to use this tool.
In the meantime, here are a few best practices that I’ve picked up from my experience using it:
5 Tips to Get the Most Out of the Comment-to-Message Growth Tool
1) Ask a polarizing question
In any comment-to-messenger post, your goal is to generate engagement and discussion around a topic that is relevant to your audience. And the best way I’ve found to do that is to ask a polarizing question that sparks some curiosity and debate. Something that will compel people to share their own feelings, while making them wonder what your brand thinks on the topic.
For example, if you were in the typewriter-selling business, your audience would consist of writers. Here’s an example of a polarizing question post that might appeal to writers:
2) Set the proper expectation
Take a look at that picture again, and re-read the last sentence. See how I specify, very clearly, what will happen after you leave a comment?
You want to do this on all your comment-to-messenger posts. This is a new feature and most people won’t expect a message to pop up after they leave a comment, so make sure to set that expectation so people know what’s coming.
3) Track first-level comments only
When setting up your growth tool, I recommend tracking first-level comments only. Here’s where you can change this setting:
Switch that setting to “on.” Basically it just means that if somebody tags a friend in their comment, and that friend replies to the original comment, the friend will not receive your automatic message.
Here’s how this would work:
Since anyone replying to a comment is probably more interested in responding to their friend than getting your auto-message, this generally results in a nicer experience for everybody.
4) When using comment-to-messenger in combination with Facebook ads, make sure to use “Engagement” as your objective
This makes sense when you think about it. What you really want is for people to comment on your post so you can transition them to messenger.
And because you’re asking people to comment, you’ll want to stick with just the Facebook feed as your placement:
5) Watch out for “engagement bait”
One thing you’ll need to be careful of when using this tool is posting what Facebook now calls “engagement bait.” And this is such an important point that I’m going to give it a subhead so all the people who are just scanning this article will notice it. 😀
Warning: Avoid Posting “Engagement Bait”
In the past, many marketers (myself included) wrote posts that urged people into interacting with a specific post. Here are a few examples from Facebook:
The problem with engagement bait is that it can feel kinda spammy, and in many cases, it leads to low-quality engagement rather than real discussion.
You need to watch out for this when you’re using comment-to-messenger because it can be easy to create an engagement bait post without even meaning to. Here’s an example of a post we created here at DigitalMarketer over a year ago. At the time it was fine, but today it might fall under the category of “engagement bait”:
Here’s another example:
Keep in mind, back in early 2017, this was a perfectly acceptable use of this tool.
Today, however, things are different. If you publish a post like this now, Facebook will punish you with a lower reach. And if you repeatedly share engagement bait posts, you “will see more significant drops in reach.” (Facebook’s words.)
So the take-home message is, don’t do that.
Instead, your goal should be to generate what Facebook calls “authentic engagement.”
And that’s what this tool is really all about. Having real conversations with your audience, about the things that matter to them. You have so much to gain when you hear your audience’s real voices and real opinions.
Not only can it lead to a lot of warm sales conversations, it can also help you to learn more about the people you’re serving in your business, what their biggest challenges are, and how you can help them even more.