Should You Incorporate a Chatbot in Your Social Media Strategy?

team brainstorm on laptop

Facebook Messenger is a separate application that allows users, both personal and business, to send messages back and forth without using the original Facebook application. Many businesses are adding it to their marketing strategy simply because more than 1 billion people have adopted the platform as their primary communication channel. It’s not just the people who have downloaded the app but the number of people who regularly use the platform to talk to their friends, family, and business connections.

Mark Zuckerberg announced bots for the messenger platform back in April 2016 which allows businesses to build custom bots to form deeper connections with customers through contextual interactions. While there are more than 11,000 bots on the platform, here’s everything you need to know to decide if you want to create your own to build stronger customer relationships.

 

What is a Chatbot?

A chatbot, or in this case a Facebook Messenger bot is a live messaging tool that used through Facebook Messenger is platform. It’s designed to help answer questions or provide information to people with automation.By using a Facebook Messenger bot, your automating conversations which can range from confirming reservations, to sending receipts.

Messenger bots have three core capabilities:

  • Send/Receive API: This is the ability to send and receive texts, images, and call to action. The way “Request a ride” pops up when you mention Uber in conversation is an example of a CTA bubble.
  • Generic Message Templates: This is the feature that allows people to top buttons and other visuals to interact with the bot instead of relying on programming language.
  • Welcome Screen and CTAs: These are the tools that Facebook gives you to customize the customer experience. It begins with the welcome screen which includes your messenger greeting and a call to action to get started.

Messenger bots have natural language assistance. Bots can turn your user’s natural language into actionable data. This means you can create conversational bots that understand what your users are saying. This feature is available courtesy of the Wit.ai bot engine, which is still in beta. The platform allows the bots to predict the next actions they should take.

More recently, Facebook announced new features for the bots which allow them to Now respond using audio, video, and GIFs to enhance the user experience.

 

Benefits of Chatbots

Chatbots really help the e-commerce industry because they provide functionality in management, security, monitoring, and customer engagement. Self-service and automation is the wave of the future as by 2020,85% of the customer experience will take place without ever speaking to a human.

One major plus the messenger bot feature is the “Message Us” option allows you to take the customer service experience to a one-on-one private channel, rather than relying on the public nature of posts and comments on your page.

It also provides a certain level of consistency because messaging is a real-time and continuous process. The real-time chat with a customer support staff member is recorded so the history can be seen later. This allows you to keep that our customer service records, and gives you potential training material for future customer service representatives.

 

Developing Your Chatbot Strategy

Before you decide to create a bot for your business, first define the experience you want to build for your customers. Consider your social media goals. Are you creating a bot that will be useful to your audience, or do you want to create the bot for entertainment purposes? through understanding what you are aiming to accomplish, you can create the best possible experience for users interacting with the bot.

Consider what action you want people to take. Is your process simple, or are there multiple tasks you need them to complete? How are things done outside of the messenger platform? Use that to assist with the creation of your messenger bot. Do you want them to be able to place orders? Do you want them to be able to get customer support? Do you want to provide receipts and shipment tracking information?

Remember, engagement doesn’t have to stop when the user completes the desired action. Think about various ways you can keep that interaction going comma but keep your focus limited so you don’t do too much. Trying to do too much can dilute overall customer experience and lead to confusion.

 

Which Brands are Making Chat Bots Work for Them?

  • Whole Foods: Whole Foods uses the Facebook messenger chat bot to allow users to search for recipes. The bot Begins the conversation with a short explanation of how it works. Users can either search for something specific or browse through the recipe database by the type of dish, cuisine, or special dietary restriction.Whole Foods enhances the customer experience by allowing them to mix-and-match emojis and text. You can enter a word using text or choose the corresponding emoji that matches the food item you’re searching for.In the future, we can expect to see additional features, such as the ability to link the chatbot to your personal Whole Foods account to save recipes and sign up for coupons.
  • CNN: CNN uses Messenger to share news. it also allows people to chat directly with them to get breaking news. Finding CNN a message with the keyword also allows users to get personalized and specific stories. for instance, if someone wants to learn more about The recent Snapchat IPO, they can send a Facebook message with Snapchat in the body. The chatbot will then respond with the latest news regarding the social media app.
  • Uber: Facebook now includes a transportation component within messenger. It allows people to request a ride from Uber without downloading the app. Using the word Uber in your messages prompts you to request a ride.
  • Burger King: If you love Burger King, you now can order it with Facebook Messenger. The fast food franchise is trying an order ahead feature integrated with the messenger app.
  • 1-800-FLOWERS: 1-800 Flowers was an early adopter of the Messenger bot.  With it, users can order flowers or speak to a customer service representative. Users who are placing an order our first asked to give the delivery address. Then they are given a carousel of floral arrangements to choose from. The bot strategy has worked well for the company as president Chris McCann says more than 70% of the company’s bot orders come from new customers.

 

Setting Up Your Own Chatbot

Building a chatbot can be fairly complex if you don’t understand development. If you don’t have the budget to hire a Facebook developer to build the chatbot4u, there are a number of tools you can use to create your chatbot without the use of complex programming.

  • Botisfy: Botisfy is an easy to use bot designer that includes media support, platform Integrations, and more. The free plan includes one chat bot with up to 100 bot users and unlimited messaging. The basic plan, priced at $10 a month includes up to three chatbots with up to 1,000 bot users. For $30 a month, you can get up to five chatbots with up to 5,000 bot users; and for $50 a month, you can get unlimited chat bot with up to 10,000 bot users so as your business grows, you can adjust your plan accordingly.
  • ChatfuelChatfuel is a free platform. If you anticipate having more than 500,000 monthly active users, a cost may be incurred. The information is not publicly posted as users are advised to email the company directly for more information. If you are a larger brand with limited time, the company will also develop your bot for you.
  • OnSequel: OnSequel is a messenger bot creation platform that works to help you build bots for Messenger, Telegram, Kik, and Viber. It includes a number of templates, such as: publisher, personal, story, chatter, and game. No coding knowledge is required, and the platform uses a drag and drop interface. It is possible to get started for free, but no pricing information is publicly listed on the website.

For the sake of simplicity, I will walk you through the creation of a simple chatbot with the Chatfuel service.

  1. Create your account over at chat Fuel and then login with your Facebook account. Click the + sign to start building a new chat bot.
  2. Choose a template to edit or create a blank chat bot. Name the chat bot and click the red “Create a chatbot” button to create it.
  3. Next, click connect to Facebook. From there, you’ll choose the Facebook business page, or create a new page, where you want the bot to operate.
  4. From here, you will begin building the chatbot, beginning with the welcome message.Edit it as you wish, adding buttons to make it possible for your user to take the next action, as designated by your chatbot strategy.
  5. When you’re finished, you can click test the chatbot to save your work.
  6. At this point, you will view it on messenger.com to test it out.

Reach out to trusted colleagues or friends to have them test the bot using a desktop, smartphone, and tablet. Have them make note of anything that doesn’t work as expected. Search the chat fuel help or contact support to get assistance with anything you cannot figure out on your own.

 

Promoting the Chatbot to Customers

Though conversations will take place in messenger, customers who find you on other parts of the web can discover your bot thanks to Facebook’s promotional options.Facebook allows you to promote your messenger but in a number of ways. You can choose to use messenger codes, which are similar to Snapchat codes, messenger usernames, messenger links, and web plug-ins.

Web plugins allow you to build awareness by letting people know your business is on messenger. There are two plugins that you can add to your website and emails.

The first bot, “Send to Messenger” lets you start a conversation in messenger with the person who clicked. This allows people to receive information from you and is a good choice for bots that are designed to send transactional notifications.

The second option, “Message Us”, takes the person who clicked directly to messenger and allows them to begin a conversation with you by sending the first message. Make sure your bot is set up to introduce yourself whenever someone reaches out.

Plugins work on both desktop and mobile web. When using a desktop device, the person will be sent to messenger.com. On mobile, they’ll be sent directly to the native messenger app. It’s a good idea to add some text near the plug-in to explain what happens when it’s clicked so you can set expectations about the experience.

The customer matching feature allows you to reach people in messenger if you have their phone number as well as their consent to be contacted. Any conversation you initiate this way is received as a message request, allowing people to be reached by the bots they want to interact with.

Messenger codes and links can be added anywhere on your website to invite people to begin a conversation with you. Messenger codes allow people to use the camera on their phone to scan the image and find you on messenger. Messenger links are shortened URLs that people can click to instantly send you a message.

Even though messenger bots are gaining ground, not all of your customers will be familiar with how to use them or what to expect out of the experience. Once they find you, you can use tools that are built into Messenger to help you explain your experience, how it works, and why people should use it – your messenger greeting, the getting started button, and the welcome message.

 

Chatbots Can Help Your Business Succeed

Chatbots are working for lots of businesses – and can work for yours too. It’s important to remember that building a bot won’t mean you don’t have to check your page’s Facebook messages anymore, but it can assist you in keeping track with what’s going on when you’re not actively available to respond.

Have you come in contact with a brand using a Messenger chatbot? What has your experience been like? Tell me in the comments below.

SEO virtuoso, CEO @Sachs Marketing Group. Focused on being of service to business owners - helping to better position them in the eyes of their audiences.

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