Did you know that 80% of businesses plan to use Facebook Messenger bots by 2020?
It’s really no surprise. Messenger bots are hugely valuable to businesses and can be programmed to perform all kinds of tasks — everything from customer support to building brand awareness and even acquiring new customers!
Never heard of a Facebook Messenger bot?
We’re explaining what they are, how they work, and looking at 6 interesting ways that you can leverage Facebook Messenger bots for your own business:
What Exactly are Facebook Messenger Bots?
Generally speaking, a “chatbot” (or “bot” for short) is a piece of software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to simulate human conversation.
On Facebook Messenger, bots can understand questions, provide automated responses, and perform tasks. And thanks to machine learning, they can also get “smarter” with each interaction, so they’re a bit like an intelligent digital assistant!
This machine learning aspect is one of the main reasons why bots have become so popular in the past few years. Whereas bots used to be lifeless and… well, robotic, communicating with bots today doesn’t feel nearly as mechanical as you might think.
In fact, you may have chatted with a bot before and didn’t even know it!
That’s because Facebook uses something called Natural Language Processing (NLP), which allows their bots to parse and understand even the most conversational of language to provide a near human-like experience.
While Messenger bots have traditionally been used to support customer service teams, more businesses are now using them for things like sales and marketing automation.
That’s because today’s bots are way more advanced than they used to be — they can help with everything from qualifying leads to improving conversions and making sales.
Why Businesses Should Use Facebook Messenger Bots
What makes Facebook Messenger bots such an incredible tool for businesses is that they’re quick, smart, and, most importantly, they’re flexible!
From responding to customer questions to sending automated content blasts, Messenger bots can be programmed to perform all kinds of complex tasks.
Plus, because bots are always “on,” customers don’t have to wait to get the answers they’re looking for!
This is a big deal because according to data from eDigitalResearch, 73% of people prefer communicating with businesses via live chat because of how instant it is.
Facebook Messenger happens to be one of the most popular messaging apps in the world (according to Statista, it currently has 1.3 billion monthly active users!), so if you have a Facebook business page, there’s a good chance a user will message you to learn more about your business.
There’s also the fact that very few businesses have actually jumped on the Messenger bot trend!
According to Facebook, there are currently more than 300,000 active bots on Messenger. That’s just a drop in the ocean compared to Facebook’s 6 million advertisers — so there’s still a ton of opportunity to use a bot to stand out from the crowd.
Still not sold? Here are 6 more reasons why your business needs a Facebook Messenger bot:
#1: Improve Your Customer Support with Facebook Messenger Bots
If you’re a larger brand that’s constantly getting inundated with Facebook messages, integrating a bot with your Messenger account could be a great way to save time and money on customer support.
They can understand questions related to your business and provide tons of different answers, from tips and advice to FAQs — they can even redirect users to specific webpages for more information.
Messenger bots are also immediate, which is hugely valuable in our “always on” world.
Rather than hiring a customer support team to assist people 24/7, you can use Messenger bot to answer customer questions — and do so in an organic, conversational way.
Take Fandango’s Messenger bot. Once you tap the “Get Started” button, their bot immediately takes you through the process of how to buy movie tickets — and it’s loaded with a ton of helpful tips, tricks, and advice.
Another great example comes from Google Ads. Their bot starts by sharing a lead form, asking what Google products you’re most interested in learning about.
From there, it narrows in on the specific problems you’re dealing with — and if it can’t properly answer your questions, it automatically connects you with a “human” customer support representative.
#2: Make More Sales with Facebook Messenger Bots
A well-trained Messenger bot can also help you make more sales and conversions!
Take Lego for example. Once you tap “Get Started,” their Messenger bot sends a series of questions (like where you’re from, how old you are, and what your budget is) along with buttons prompts to help narrow in on what you’re looking for.
Once you find something you like, the bot will immediately open a webpage with the product already in your shopping cart so you can quickly make a purchase.
In this way, their bot acts as a kind of digital sales associate, helping prospective customers find what they’re most interested in and make a purchase.
Lululemon’s bot does something similar. Once you tap “Get Started” in Messenger, the bot replies with a list of options, including running tips, signing up for yoga classes, or shopping their products.
If you select “Find Your Style,” the bot then runs through several qualifying questions to better help you find what you’re looking for.
Once you find the product you’re looking for, a window opens up where you can fill in your purchase details and actually buy the product!
What’s great about this sales flow is that it takes place entirely in the Messenger app, which is a much more comfortable means of communication than telephone or email.
#3: Customize Your Offers with Facebook Messenger Bots
Facebook Messenger can also collect relevant information about your audience and then send customized messages based on their preferences.
Herbivore Botanicals does this really well. Their bot is trained to ask questions and collect customer preference data based on how people respond.
Once it determines what product category you’re most interested in (like moisturizing oils or exfoliants), it creates a user profile based on your answers and uses that information to share more products and content that it thinks you’ll like:
This is obviously hugely valuable for businesses. Once your bot collects the right info, it can automate a drip campaign to nurture leads, send relevant blog posts and articles, or share deals that are customized to their exact preferences and tastes.
These kinds of “segmented campaigns” are also often way more successful than generalized messages. And depending on your goal, they can result in more sales, conversions, and click-throughs.
#4: Keep Your Business Top-Of-Mind with Facebook Messenger Bots
One of the most helpful features of Facebook Messenger bots is the ability to send newsletter-style messages to groups of your subscribers, called content or chat blasts.
And while it’s important not to do this too often, it can be a total game-changer for your business. In a matter of seconds, you can share information about events, sales, new products, and more.
You can also combine your content blasts with your customer segmentation. For example, if you determine that a subset of your subscribers are interested in a certain topic like natural beauty products, you can send them a personalized blast with content on that topic.
You can also ask users to opt-in to content blasts like the Wall Street Journal does. This allows people to update their preferences and decide what, when, and how often they want to receive new information from you.
Just keep in mind that Facebook has rules about what kind of content you can send as a blast on Messenger.
It’s also really important to offer users a clear way to unsubscribe from automatic messaging.
#5: Educate Your Audience with Facebook Messenger Bots
Messenger bots are also great for building brand awareness and educating your audience about your business.
One way to do this is by customizing the greeting message that appears when someone first interacts with your bot on Messenger. That way, users can learn a little more about your business before they engage in conversation.
You can also create a series of one-option prompts that allow users to actively learn about your business like Marriott International:
National Geographic does something similar. Once you tap the “Get Started” button on their Messenger page, it pulls up a trivia game where you can learn more about the company and projects they’ve been working on — which is great for capturing their audience’s attention and building brand affinity.
These are just a few ways that bots can be used to educate your audience about who you are, what you do, and glean other useful information they may care about!
#6: Reach More of Your Audience with Facebook Messenger Bots
With 1.3 billion monthly active users and counting, Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular apps in the world. But it isn’t just it’s popularity that makes it such a great tool for businesses.
According to numerous sources, Facebook Messenger averages around 70-80% for open rates and 20% for click-through rates — which is lightyears ahead of email marketing. Also, unlike email, you won’t get blocked by a spam filter or get lost in the wrong mailbox.
This makes Facebook Messenger one of the best ways to reach your audience quickly. Add a well-trained bot into the mix and you’re bound to build a ton of great relationships with your audience and hopefully make a few sales along the way.
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How to Get Started with Facebook Messenger Bots
If you know how to code,you can actually build your own Facebook Messenger Bot (Facebook offers a ton of documentation and tutorials on how to set one up)!
But if your coding skills are thin on the ground, you’re still in luck. There are several third-party tools that you can use to create and customize your Facebook Messenger bot. Here are a few of our favorites:
ManyChat is one of the more popular Messenger bot builders on the market, partly because it’s so easy to use. Designed for users with very little coding or programming experience, you can create your first bot in about an hour!
If you’re just getting started with bots, we definitely recommend ManyChat’s free version. However, it’s fairly limited in what it can do (you’re only allowed 3 custom fields and 10 tags on the free plan, while you’re given unlimited of both on the paid version).
They also offer a ton of documentation and guides on how to build an effective bot that answers questions, provides value, and sells your product or service.
Learn more about ManyChat here.
Like ManyChat, MobileMonkey offers both free and paid versions of their Messenger bot builder — the biggest difference being the number of “contacts” you’re allowed in your Facebook Messenger database (the free version actually offers unlimited contacts but missed out on features like messaging automation, integrations, and analytics).
Don’t have a technical bone in your body? MobileMonkey’s training is next-level and covers everything you need to get started with your first Messenger bot.
Learn more about MobileMonkey here.
Chatfuel boasts a pretty impressive list of clients — everyone from TechCrunch to Lego — so if you’re going for credibility, this might be the best option for you.
In terms of features, the bot builder offers pretty much everything that ManyChat and MobileMonkey do. The only difference is that their free version comes with Chatfuel branding on bot landing pages and payment pages. If that’s a no-go for you, we recommend upgrading to one of their paid versions.
Learn more about Chatfuel here.
Facebook Messenger bots are a friendly and accessible time-saver for customers. And for businesses, they’re a cost-efficient way to scale customer support and marketing automation.
If you’re looking for a way to boost your Facebook marketing and turn your Messenger account into a leads and sales generating powerhouse, we definitely recommend getting started with bots ASAP!