We live in an on-demand world: Consumers want a brand to be available in the moments when they need them, for everything from purchase decisions to customer service. Therefore, marketers need to develop messaging strategies that make it easier for consumers to connect, and for the brand to deliver content one-to-one, with regularity.

That's why companies that don't start to support messaging apps run the risk of creating a negative experience for consumers—and having competitors step in to fill the gap.

If you're looking for a way to leapfrog competitors or win market share, a messaging app program—with or without chatbots—is an ideal way to be responsive to consumers as well as to humanize the brand through conversation.

If your brand isn't using messaging with customers, now is the time to start.

The four leading messaging apps (Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Viber) have more monthly active users among the consumers than the top 4 social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+). The most popular social messaging apps serve hundreds of millions of monthly active users. Messenger boasts 1.2 billion users—that's nearly one in seven people on Earth. WeChat, a favorite in China, is nearing one billion users, and WhatsApp has 1.2 billion users worldwide.

In fact, a recent study found that US smartphone users spend, on average, 23 minutes and 23 seconds daily on messaging apps—and that's growing every year.

Enterprise brands need to become more conversational with their customers

One of messaging's strengths is its ability to provide personal conversations and create deeper relationships with customers. Think of messaging as brands and customers coming full circle, harkening to a time before digital commerce or even catalogs made shopping convenient but impersonal.

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image of Peter Friedman

Peter Friedman is the founder, chairman, and CEO of LiveWorld, a trusted social media partner to some of the world's largest brands. He is the author of The CMO's Social Media Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide for Leading Marketing Teams in the Social Media World.

Twitter: @PeterFriedman

LinkedIn: Peter Friedman