What is a Facebook Chatbot and How to Leverage Them

What is a Facebook Chatbot and How Your Business Can Leverage Them

This article will first define what a Facebook Messenger and Facebook Chatbot exactly is and then follow up with real-life examples of how your business can utilize chatbots for a variety of marketing and business objectives.

What is a Facebook Chatbot?

A chatbot is a piece of software that is using artificial intelligence to communicate with people. A bot is programmed to understand the questions, provide answers and assist people when using this artificial intelligence.

The first chatbot that was developed by a Joseph Weizenbaum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This was in 1994 that the term Chatterbot was coined.

Some of us may recall using these chatterbots back then. I sure do. We were able to enter into these chat rooms and talk in real time with other people of the same or similar interests.

When I look back I can see how this technology is now really changing the way we communicate.

Facebook introduced the functionality of chatbots that integrated with their Messenger app as a new Facebook feature in 2016. The first Facebook Messenger chatbot was used with the Marriott and Starwood Group to help guests.

This was an exciting time for marketers, especially those that were always looking for the next best opportunity to market. However, as with any new piece of software, the bot didn’t deliver all the functions as it should and in some instances the software was not delivering anything it promised.

Over the last 4 years, the bot has continued to develop and provide options and functionality for the Facebook Chatbot.  Facebook now has over 1.2 billion active users on their Messenger app and the platform has been used to create over 300,000 bots. Businesses and customers are exchanging over 8 billion messages a day on Messenger and this is growing rapidly.

How Facebook Chatbots Work

A Facebook Chatbot will use the Messenger app from Facebook to communicate in live artificial intelligence-driven conversations, which you can setup for any part of your business and marketing. I will chat more about these functions later in this article.

The application or the creation, depending on which you prefer, of the chatbots for your business are limitless. Each time I look at an opportunity to market my business or my students, I see endless opportunities of integrating a chatbot that will communicate in real time, answer questions, send reminders, take payments and build a list of contacts on Messenger.

There are a number of software agencies that offer Facebook Chatbots. I have used Manychat and I find their service affordable. They have both a free and a pro option with rich functionality and amazing customer service.

I would suggest that you do your own research on which chatbot software will work effectively for your business on Facebook. As the list is forever changing I did find the top alternatives to Manychat and have listed them below for you:

  • Mobile Monkey
  • Chatfuel
  • Landing Cube
  • MSG Hero

With the integration of the chatbot and Facebook, I think the best part of these applications is the ability for the client or customer to use ONE CLICK to begin a conversation with your business.

Our clients and customers are using Facebook and other social media channels 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, and when they need to book in a carpet cleaning service, enquire about a car through a dealership, or just get the next free course or webinar that you maybe offering, there is an expectation that you will be able to converse with them at anytime they send through that request.

I see this all day everyday with my partners and my son’s business. They receive messages all hours of the day and night and if the business doesn’t respond, you can be assured that the customer has moved on to your competition.

By creating a simple yet effective bot, it gives you the opportunity to chat with them, book or sell them a product, get paid and build your list, potentially all whilst you are sleeping or having time off.

However, a chatbot will never replace a human conversation. Think about using chatbots to enhance your customers experience.

A few ways that you can use a Facebook Chatbot for your business are:

Customer Service:

You can setup your bot to interact in a human manner and give instructions, especially answers to frequently asked questions such as how to follow instructions, how to book a service etc.

A customer service bot can easily allow access to your brand using a messenger code that they can scan with their smartphone.

An example here from Omega Bank allows the customer to see all of their options.

Omega Bank Facebook Messenger bot example

Sales and Services:

Just recently my daughter went from scrolling on Facebook to inquire about a baby stroller and within minutes the chatbot had taken her on a sales journey giving her the baby stroller that she needed and providing her the option to purchase that specific baby stroller at that moment.

To me this is a massive opportunity for all businesses to increase their sales and services. 1-800-Flowers is famous for doing this exceptionally well.

To have a look at their bot, open up your Messenger app and on the bottom right hand corner you will see an arrow pointing from the top right to the bottom left as in the screenshot below. This is where you can discover bots that are already created. At the top of the app, you can see the search button, you can search for 1-800-Flowers and look at the sales journey.

Remember, though, that once you start engaging with a bot you will automatically be added to their mailing list, but you can unsubscribe at any time.

Follow Up:

We all know that the money is in the follow up; however, how many of us actually take the time to follow up a lead or a potential sale?

When using Facebook Chatbots for your business, you can customize a follow up sequence that will automatically send alerts, reminders and nurture this new potential customer, taking them from a cold lead to a warm or hot one.

In Manychat you can create a sequence, which is the same as an email marketing campaign, where you can send out a series of messages that will land in their Messenger inbox inside their mobile device.

Before my partner and son came on board with chatbots, their main concern was that the inquiry maybe difficult and that they needed to have the conversation directly with that potential customer. However, you can customize your Facebook Chatbot to ask questions and take your potential customers on a journey to give them the end result you are looking for, or you can take them so far on the journey and ask for their phone number to contact them personally if that is what you need to do.

Chatbots have a limitless potential for communicating and interacting with your clients and customers. Here are a few examples that I have used:

Give Away Freebies and Lead Magnets:

Give Away Freebies and Lead Magnets

I will do a Facebook Live and attached the bot to that show, using a code word “Bot.” When the audience comments on the Facebook Live it will trigger the bot to deliver them the lead magnet. This Facebook marketing strategy will increase my organic reach for my live streaming because I am getting engagement and add the person to my Messenger mailing list.

Webinar Registration:

I have created a bot that will collect the registration details of the participant and will give them the follow-up as per any webinar software program. All interactions are on their smartphone.

Customized Free Training:

Customized Free Training

I have created a sequence that will deliver a free training on social media into Facebook Messenger over a few weeks.

Carpet Cleaning:

My son’s business now interacts with customer inquiries through his Facebook Page and books the service in Messenger, also getting payment.

Car Dealership:

Car Dealership

My partner’s business asks the client questions to find out if they are interested in purchasing a car and if they need finance. Once they have answered these questions, he asks for their phone number to call them in the morning, starting out with a cold lead and then ending up with a hot lead.

There are a few rules and regulations that have just been introduced to Messenger chatbots from Facebook and these took effect on the 15th January this year. This involves how we communicate with people once they are on our list and reduces the spamming of broadcasting promotional bots. I would strongly suggest that you look at these guidelines and become familiar with them before you start your bot creation.

There is no limit to what you can use a Messenger bot for in your business. Start by writing down your customer journey now as it is and then you can create a Messenger bot on Manychat with a free account to replicate it.

What I love in particular with Manychat and Facebook Messenger is that Manychat is always improving and with the recent changes, Manychat has the options to now use SMS and email marketing within the app.

The biggest selling point for me 3 years ago when I started to use Messenger bots was the open rate. A Messenger will receive an open rate of 80% to 90% compared to an email marketing open rate of 10% to 30%….. As a business owner, I want my audience to see my marketing and information, not open it weeks or months later as it is lost in their emails….

How to Create a Facebook Chatbot Using ManyChat

Keep in mind that you can use messenger bots for building your list, Call to Actions, complete shopping experiences taking them to the checkout, frequently asked questions and answers, booking a service, asking for a quote, subscribe to your newsletter, access your webinar, followup on past conversations, scan code for your dining experience post covid19, tap business card details, Create online quizzes and games, build your email list from messenger bot and many more….

Here is a list of widgets that can be created inside of Manychat, let’s start to break down their functions:

Overlay Widgets:

I am sure that we have all been onto a website that has the pop ups or pop downs appear. These widgets are the exact same except they are created in the messenger bot software. Once the client clicks the call to action, it will open up a messenger flow conversation, this is totally customised to how you would like that experience for the client/customer keeping in mind that you create the experience that your customers are looking for. Many chat does offer templates to help with the experience.

Embeddable Widgets:

Create a box or button for your website or landing page, once created in many chat you can now copy the html code and place on landing pages and your website, again a great opportunity to use with you lead magnet and deliver that customer the lead magnet straight to their mobile device.

Other Growth Tools:

Within the software you can create mini landing pages, if you have something that you want to launch a product or a call to action you can create a mini landing page and share to any site. Saves time of creating a landing page and adding copy, only effective for smaller products or call to actions.

Messenger Ref URL:

Messenger Ref URL:

This widget generates a unique url to activate the bot, can be used again on sites, in emails, I use this function to activate my paperless business card bot, I attached a NFC sticker to the back of my phone and the url is what activates the bot.

Click Here to try my Business Card URL

You can also use this link to get access to my One Page Social Media Plan :)

Facebook Ads JSON:

When creating a click to messenger Facebook Ad, you can activate the  JSON code in many chat that will activate your bot on a Facebook ad, this brings the lead from Facebook into your list.

Facebook Comments:

Create a keyword that activates the bot when the user on Facebook makes a comment. I use this all the time with my Facebook Live events, I create a specific keyword, say “show” while I am live I will often give a call to action, a lead magnet or similar and ask the audience to comment with the keyword “show” and this works two fold. It increases my engagement on my post (which we all know facebook loves) and the facebook user will receive whatever it is I am giving away. If you have a Pro account with many chat you can set one keyword to work on all of your posts!

QR Codes Delivered by Facebook Chatbots?

Qr codes have been around for a while, they really didn’t hit it off with the consumers, however I am seeing them being used more in marketing efforts today! With this widget you are creating a message that is activated once the code is scanned, and with the development of our smart phones, the instructions are easy,  open up the camera on your smart phone and hold over the code, this activates the message, the message can be anything that you wish, like mentioned above, I created one for restaurants to ensure they are using the safe practices of covid19, this message collected the details of the client and the establishment exports to a google sheet.

Just like that the clients are now part of the list and  you can follow up their dining experience by asking for a Google or Facebook Review.

Here is an example of the QR code that I have created for the restaurant owners to test! If you have an iPhone, just open up your camera and it will activate!

Another example of using the QR code was for a client that had a stall in a fair show, she enlarged the code and ran a competition, worked extremely well.

Customer Chat: This is what you can add to your website, using the artificial intelligence of the bot, you can ask questions, direct the clients.

Check Box: Create a check box to put on your website, this again will activate the facebook user to connect with you on messenger, can be used for your lead magnet, newsletter, wait list etc.

From the above many uses available in many chatbots, the next step is to keep your users engaged, this is where many chat will allow you to create a flow, this is the automated ongoing engagement that is exactly the same as an email marketing sequence, a very powerful option to keep connect and keep your clients up to date.

Please note though, recently Facebook made some significant changes to the use of your bots, I strongly suggest you read these guidelines to ensure that you are working within the Facebook Guidelines.

I hope that you can now see the many benefits and opportunities that await you and your business when you understand how to use Facebook Chatbots and then by implementing a chatbot and how you maybe able to customize these tools within your Facebook, Websites and Marketing. If you found any of this information useful, don’t forget to let us know!

Happy Messenger Botting!

Feel free to access my free Messenger bot training here.

P.S. this training will be delivered through the bots and Facebook Messenger app!

What do you think? Have you used or interacted with a bot lately? Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

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Leanne Peard
Leanne Peard

Leanne Peard is an expert on Facebook, and recently won the Best Social Media Educator for 2019, Australia and New Zealand. Leanne is the creator of Become a Social Media Manager a certified accredited training program available in Australia and now available online. With 12 years experience in the world of social media, she knows first hand how important it is for small to medium businesses to adapt a social media strategy, either small or large, to stay in front of their competitors and attract new leads and sales. Developing the skill set to utilise social media is essential for the businesses to grow. Her passion for small business comes from her own experience in the business sector for over 30 years. She is extremely passionate about sharing her knowledge and skills to assist the business sector.

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  1. Thanks, Leanne for your article and Neal for publishing.

    I share my thoughts that I used on my Linkedin about this topic.

    Do you know why customers are impatient today?

    There is one reason that doesn’t retain users on your website.

    Clients want to get an immediate response.

    If you can’t give it – they will go to your competitors to buy.

    There are 1,7 billion online websites that customize for customer experience.

    You can give them what they want, even if you don’t have time.

    Use chatbots!

    There are a lot of features to reply to common questions.

    80% of all questions are the same from all customers.

    Chatbots will save 80% of your time, replying to those questions.

    I use Manychat; however, you can use many other available options.

    • Thank you so much for your comment Anatolii – much appreciated. I suppose Messenger Marketing represents marketing at the speed of light, right?!?!?

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