Quite recently, people have gone absolutely crazy over chatbots.
You might have already heard things like:
Bots are revolutionizing the customer experience! Chatbots are the new apps! All reputable companies implement Facebook bots!
Sure. They do and they are. But let’s take a step back.
You want to find out what all the fuss is about, right? And probably figure out how you can start using Facebook Messenger bots yourself.
Well, you are in luck, and we can help you out.
In this article:
- What exactly Facebook bots are
- The best examples of business bots on Facebook
- How to build one by yourself
If you want to learn more about chatbot technology, you can also read:
- 10 Best Chatbot Builders [Reviews & Features]
- What Makes Chatbot Personalities Effective?
- 11 Chatbot Statistics and Trends You Need to Know
Let’s find out how Facebook chatbots can become part of your marketing strategy.
What are bots on Facebook?
A Facebook Messenger bot refers to a chatbot embedded in Facebook Messenger. When set up correctly, Facebook Messenger chatbots can chat with millions of customers and help you scale your Facebook strategy. Bots can carry on conversations like real customer service agents.
Facebook chatbots are primarily used for customer service and marketing. They operate 24h/7 and reply instantly. It means that businesses can save the time and money they would normally spend on sending messages to customers via Facebook Messenger live chat.
A Nielsen study revealed that some 69% of customers believe that messaging apps have made their lives easier. Businesses also took note of how they can use instant messaging for customer convenience. FB bots are one of the most popular examples of AI customer service and marketing automation.
You can think of Facebook bots as elaborate virtual assistants. A Messenger bot is a subtype of a chatbot.
You can learn more about chatbots in general here: What Are Chatbots Used For? [Chatbot Definition]
Types of “Facebook Bots”
Some people refer to all fake Facebook accounts as “bots.” Sometimes bots (or advanced features of Facebook API) are used for scams or political propaganda.
When describing the activities of state-sponsored political commentators, such as Russian web brigades, the terms such as “trolls” and “bots” are often used interchangeably. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a real bot powered by artificial intelligence.
Facebook has deleted billions of “bad bot” accounts over the years. However, this is a never-ending struggle. Social media users have a huge impact on the market and public opinion. Too many influence groups have a vested interest in weaponizing Facebook for their own purposes.
How can you tell if someone is a Facebook bot?
There is really no easy way to find out. If you visit their profiles, bots and trolls usually share lots of resources. They seem very committed to commenting on controversial topics and taking a side. But they rarely share personal photos or details from their private lives. Or at least details other than generic pictures which seem random and don’t really create a believable feed timeline.
Facebook bots for business and their benefits
Let’s get back to the good Facebook bots—messaging apps that use natural language to engage your potential customers. A recent survey by Oracle confirms that about 80% of businesses plan to use them in the near future.
Businesses use Facebook Messenger bots to:
- Deliver conversational user experience
- Increase customer engagement on pages
- Answer common questions
- Generate leads
- Create automated customer care workflows
- Reduce the workload on customer service teams
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Send information about updates and news
Some bots can actually cover the entire Meta ecosystem of apps and products. For example, you can use the same chatbot platform to design:
All of these have one thing in common—they are extremely popular and mobile-friendly. People use Instagram and WhatsApp almost exclusively on their mobile devices. If you want to reach your customers when they are on their phones, a conversational bot is a better opinion than developing a custom mobile app.
Finding bots on FB
In the past, the Messenger app allowed conversations with featured chatbots. Currently, this feature has been removed in favor of user Stories. You can still find some examples of automated FAQs in the Discovery section of the app. However, the information about the use of a bot by a company is not immediately available.
Best Facebook Messenger bots for marketing and customer service
As of 2021, there are more than 300,000 companies that use Messenger bots to reach their audience and customers. Those virtual shopping assistants help to answer questions, find products, or deliver notifications about new content.
You can test drive a demo project prepared by Facebook here.
Here are some of the coolest marketing and support chatbot examples.
1. LEGO bot
One of the most memorable virtual ecommerce assistants was developed by Lego. Ralph the giftbot was supposed to act as an interactive Lego catalog. It was launched before Christmas to help users pick the best gifts by answering a set of questions. The idea worked like a charm.
Here is what the company’s representatives say about the project:
We are continuously searching for new and fun ways to engage with our consumers and shoppers. Chat bots are increasingly being used by brands to engage in the digital space, and in turn to drive sales. The Lego Group is one of the first in the toy industry to embrace this concept.
The Facebook bot campaign was featured in the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany and Poland. Currently, Ralph is “on vacation” but the company will certainly revisit conversational marketing campaigns using social media sooner or later.
2. McDonald’s chatbot
McDonald’s designed a marketing campaign that incorporated a board game, discount codes, and Facebook Messenger bots. After scanning the board, you could chat with McBot and play a virtual game.
After completing certain tasks, customers could win discount coupons and other gifts. TrayQuest was very effective and about 90% of tray liners were activated through the app. Over 175,000 people participated in the campaign during the first week.
3. Coca-Cola chatbot
It might seem that soft drinks are not an interesting topic of conversation. OK, to be honest, they’re not. Talking to a Coca-Cola bot is unlikely to be a life-changing experience. But the company’s local branches and profiles have repeatedly used messenger chatbots as part of marketing campaigns.
The example above comes from Coca-Cola Switzerland. A short conversation allows the company to collect customer feedback, inform about a new product, and collect a coupon code.
It would be extremely difficult to encourage people to complete the same tasks if they were presented as a survey or a form. It is short and sweet.
4. The Guardian bot
Media outlets have fallen in love with instant messaging, too. The Guardian deployed a Facebook chatbot that can send you top stories and article recommendations. You just need to answer a sequence of questions to help it with choosing the right pieces.
You can swipe between decision cards or change topic categories to find the most relevant articles.
5. American Express bot
One of the most advanced bots emerged from a partnership between Messenger and American Express. The AMEX Messenger bot kept customers informed of transactions, provided tips and suggested other products.
For example, when you booked a plane ticket, you received a message about possible benefits connected with your card. For example, you could get a discount by visiting specific restaurants or places near the airport and using American Express.
6. Disney chatbot
At some point, Disney released a whole range of different interactive characters powered by artificial intelligence that you could chat with. They were available via Messenger chatbots, Kik, or you could even try SMS texting.
Some of the most popular were Miss Piggy from The Muppets and Judy Hopps from Zootopia. Customers exchanged millions of messages with those two characters alone. Obviously, it is difficult to directly measure how these interactions translate into sales. However, some solutions offer advanced tools for measuring your bot performance.
Read more: Tidio Chatbots Performance Analytics
7. Margo the wine bot by Lidl
Not everyone has to be a wine expert. Certain types of wine help bring out the flavor of the food better and pair tastefully with specific ingredients. As part of one of their marketing campaigns, Lidl created Margo—a virtual shopping assistant that will help you choose the right wine to go with your meal.
This Facebook Messenger chatbot will not only tell you what wine to choose but also generate recommendation lists based on other criteria. You can ask for recommendations of wines from specific countries or in your planned price range. If you want, you can also take part in the wine quiz to test and improve your knowledge.
How to build Facebook bots
Currently, there is no native platform for creating chatbots for Facebook. The business version was released to a test group of users, but the project has still not been released for general use.
However, there is a whole range of third-party solutions available on the market. You can try chatbot platforms such as Tidio, ManyChat, Chatfuel, or MobileMonkey.
To make a Messenger bot, follow the steps below.
1. Sign up for a free Tidio account
Go to the registration page and create your free account. You don’t have to sign up with your Facebook account. You can use your FB login credentials, but it is also perfectly alright to create an account with your email or Shopify account. You can integrate your Tidio profile and Facebook page later on anyway.
If you are using WordPress, you can also install Tidio as a WordPress chatbot plugin.
2. Set your chat widget up and customize it (optional)
The registration tour involves setting up the look of your live chat widget. This step is optional.
Tidio can be used to manage your live chat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and email conversations. You can add live chat to your website for omnichannel communication. But if you want to use it only as a tool for creating Messenger bots, configuring the widget doesn’t concern you. You can simply skip it and keep the default settings.
3. Connect it with your Facebook business page
When you open the main dashboard, open Settings in the left side menu. Go to the Channels panel and click Facebook Messenger.
You can integrate your pages with Tidio by clicking the Connect Facebook Messenger button. You’ll be prompted to choose Facebook pages that you want to integrate with Tidio.
Read more about the integration: Tidio Integration With Messenger
4. Use bots launcher to turn Messenger chatbots on
Once you connect your account with Facebook, go to the Chatbots panel and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
You can use the bots launcher to customize your welcome messages and add different decision buttons.
5. Design your conversation flows
You can keep things simple by using templates or creating advanced Facebook bots that are quite complex. Clicking on one of the decision buttons or (adding a new one) will open the visual drag-n-drop editor.
Tidio is a powerful bot builder. Some triggers use machine learning and natural language processing. Bots can send messages or analyze user intent, but they can also send funny GIFs, mobile phone notifications, or be integrated with Slack (via Zapier). You can set up different conditions and advanced chatbot logic. It is a good idea to customize your chatbot scripts and make them more in line with your business and customers.
6. Activate your Facebook bot
Once you get your chatbot decision trees ready, you can activate your bot. When your Facebook page visitors open your Messenger profile, the chatbot will send a greeting message. It is a good idea to add an option to send messages as one of your main action buttons on the main page.
Some businesses even run Facebook Ads with Send message as their primary call-to-action buttons. Social networks are great places for this type of ad campaign.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Chatbots in Business
How to make messenger chat pop up when someone visits your business page?
Currently, you don’t have direct control over whether your widget pops up or not. You can set a greeting message in the Page settings > Messaging > Starting a Messenger Conversation. Your greeting will appear in the chat window before a message is sent, or in the About section. However, it won’t trigger a chat box as such.
In the past, the Prompt visitors to send messages feature could be turned on and off. Now, it is better to set up a button or encourage visitors to visit your Messenger profile’s URL. Improving user experiences and simplification were among the core reasons why Facebook removed some chatbot features on their platform.
Facebook, as a company, recently changed its name to Meta. The primary product that Mark Zuckerberg intends to focus on developing is virtual reality and the metaverse.
So, what is the future of Facebook Messenger automation?
We can be sure that the metaverse will also be inhabited by virtual beings equipped with artificial intelligence too. But for now, the development of Messenger AI assistants as such has been pushed to the background.
If we visit their official website for developers, in Chatbot Setup and Customization section we can read:
This feature is currently available to a limited number of users. It will be more widely available in the future.
However, chatbots are still extremely popular. There are many third-party providers that allow you to set up all sorts of Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram automations. In fact, you can try one of them for free in minutes. Are you ready?