Chatbots on FB Messenger: How to Get Started Using ManyChat
Have you been on a Facebook Fan/Business page lately, and were immediately greeted by a message that looked to be from the page itself? No, you’re not being stalked (not really). But this was your introduction to chatbots.
Chatbots are run on artificial intelligence, and managed by the rules you set in place for them. The person on the other side is interacting, and based on what they say, the chatbot will respond with specific responses you program for it. In other words, the tech world gave Siri & Alexa a keyboard.
I may be showing my age here, but my first interaction with a chatbot wasn’t in 2018. Actually, it was around 2002, when Colloquis, known then as ActiveBuddy, introduced SmarterChild to AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Compared to today’s artificial intelligence, SmarterChild was pretty basic. It was able to give you things like weather reports, movie times, stock updates, etc. But being kids, my friends and I would truly push the limits. We asked SmarterChild all kinds of crazy questions (obviously, we didn’t get usable answers from it).
Nowadays, bots can do a lot more than before. You can now program them to automate some of your client-facing tasks that you used to do by yourself.
Businesses are using chatbots for Facebook Messenger either as an introduction to new members of their audience, or to provide entry-level customer service to their existing tribe. All kinds of businesses are using them: retail, coaches, real estate agents, lawyers, doctors, authors, etc. They run off the custom functions you set for it.
Related: 4 Ways Facebook Bots Can Help Your Business
In the grand scheme of things, chatbots operate off workflow, or rules. ManyChat is the leader in the chatbot industry right now, and allows you to get started with your bot for free! So we’ll walk you through their platform and show you how to get up and running with it.
1. Connect Your Facebook Page to ManyChat
Since ManyChat runs through Facebook Messenger, you want to connect it to the Facebook Fan/Business page of your choosing. Don’t create a bot for your personal page and start spamming your family and friends. However, if you have multiple pages you want to link, ManyChat allows you to “clone this bot” to another page. That’s not creepy at all.
2. Set Your Greeting
Once you’re set up with an account, you want to start with a greeting. Doesn’t have to be super complicated. But make it sound at least half-way like a human. For pages under a business name, you may want to give your bot a name, or call it a “team member”. For those who run a personal brand, it’s better to run your bot as if it’s you. You’ll get a lot more engagement that way.
3. Choose Your Flows
As I mentioned, chatbots run off workflow. You get to decide how that workflow goes. Most people start off with a standard Welcome Message. This is a great way to steer people in the direction you want them to go in. Setting up your flow may seem a tad overwhelming to begin with, but it’s also exciting because of how many options you get. Chatbots don’t have to just be text. You can include images, audio, video, downloadable files, and you can even add a time delay for a response (so it can at least seem a little human).
With chatbots, you get to control the narrative, even when you’re not the one actually doing the typing. You are basically guiding visitors down a specific path in order to get to either your product, service, event, or anything else you’re promoting.
4. Get To Know Broadcasts
Chatbots don’t have to be reserved only for use with evergreen content. They’re great for spur of the moment things too! For instance, if you’re doing an impromptu Facebook Live, and you want to alert your subscribers, simply build out a broadcast for a one-time blast. It’s just like a reminder you set on your phone or when you ask your friend to remind you to do something.
What I love about setting up the flows and messages in ManyChat is just how user-friendly their interface is. It literally walks you through the steps, and shows you an example of what the flow of the conversation will look like. Everything is real-time too, so once you save and publish, it’s ready to run right away.
5. Start Growing Your Audience
A great way people are using chatbots is to build their audience. In order to build up your email list, a lot of people offer a lead magnet, or some enticing incentive to join. Rather than doing that manually, you can set it up using the Growth Tools.
Growth Tools are ways to lead people straight to your chatbot. You can set up a header bar, a popup, or even an entire page takeover to move people to your Facebook Messenger to get their questions answered. This is a great idea if you set up your FAQs to be answered by your bot, and you just want to streamline it by sending people there.
ManyChat is a pretty powerful platform, even on just the free version. But their pro pricing isn’t half bad either. For folks with 0-500 subscribers, you only pay $10/month. Up to 1,000 subscribers only bumps you up to $15/month, and 2,500 subscribers is only $25/month. You can definitely get quite a bit of bang for your buck with those tiers. They also have a pretty flexible refund policy, and you can cancel at any time.
Chatbots is still relatively new marketing wise, but it’s so interesting to see how they’re working out for different companies. As we see the technology evolve, we’ll definitely keep you updated on ways you can use it.
Featured Photo credit: Janitors on Visual hunt / CC BY