One of the most important things you can do for your customers is build a sense of community and trust, and Facebook Chat Bots can help you do that by automating important conversations.
A Facebook Chat Bot is an incredibly simple, easy and effective tool to interact with your audience.
It’s impossible for you to be on-call 24-7, ready and available to interact with your customers, clients and fans. Hiring and training employees to do it for you can be costly in both time and money and just isn’t an option for many small businesses.
That’s where Facebook Chat Bots come in and solve your problems. These AI interfaces can answer frequently asked questions, start conversations, guide your audience to promotions, subscriptions and sales, and so much more.
If you’re thinking this sounds pretty technical and expensive, think again!
Creating a Facebook Chat Bot is easy to do, takes very little time, requires no coding experience and best of all – it’s free.
What a Facebook Chat Bot Can Do
Think of a Facebook Chat Bot as a highly trained, easily customizable personal assistant that never takes a day off!
Not only is a Facebook Chat Bot like a personal assistant for you, it’s like a concierge for your customers and clients.
Bots work their magic in two ways – buttons and keywords, both of which are created by you.
When you create your Facebook Chat Bot, you’re creating a funnel where each click or action leads to a specific end result.
For example, let’s say you’re a Health & Wellness Coach that focuses on gluten-free lifestyles. You recommend recipes and products; sell books, courses, and products; and you offer private coaching and public speaking engagements.
Your Facebook Chat Bot might engage users in the following ways:
- Offer personalized content – In the example above, a follower of your page might open up Messenger and type “I want a recipe,” to which you could showcase your most popular recipes, send them to the page on your website that lists recipes, or even ask for more information by having an automated response that says, “Are you looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks or dessert recipes?”
- Answer frequently asked questions – You know the questions that potential customers send to your inbox time and time again? You can trigger your Chat Bot to respond to keywords and immediately deliver the answer, saving you time and effort, and turning that potential customer into a client.
- Sell your products and services – One of the newest features of the Facebook Chat Bot is the ability to accept payments. In the first example, you could direct them to a few recipes and then present them with an offer to buy your book, which they pay for right there within Messenger.
- Book appointments – Whether you want your potential clients to be able to book a free coaching session, or you want to give your current clients an easy way to schedule their appointments, you can automate their entire process with a Chat Bot.
- Drip automated content – In our example business, your FB followers could use Chat Bot to subscribe to a free 2-month course on how to eat amazing food with a gluten sensitivity. You could write weekly lessons and your Facebook Chat Bot could automatically send out the content to anyone who signs up for that Messenger course.
- Entertain your customers – Whether it’s sending out weekly tips, daily quotes or occasional trivia, you can use a Facebook Chat Bot to send out content to a customized group of FB followers.
- Anything you can imagine – You can get really creative with how you use your Facebook Chat Bot. Clickable menus, button choices, text, image, video and automated sequences triggered by keywords make it incredibly easy to get creative and use your bot in a new and exciting way.
Tools to Build Your Facebook Chat Bot
Building your Facebook Chat Bot is as easy as deciding what you want it to do, pointing, clicking and making it happen!
Currently, there are hundreds of Bot Platforms available to help you build your Facebook Chat Bot, but two stand out above the rest – ManyChat and Chatfuel.
ManyChat (my choice)
Without going into too much technical detail, ManyChat is more simple and straight forward, but has limited options.
That being said, ManyChat is an excellent platform, and if you’re looking for an easy, quick set-up, it’s the way to go. You can design a fully functional Chat Bot, that lets users book an appointment, have their questions answered and even call you, within minutes.
If you’re looking for a more customizable experience, and you want to add features like a gallery to showcase products or information, buy buttons to make purchases, and integrations with your Zapier apps and other social media platforms, you’ll want to use Chatfuel.
Building on Chatfuel is very easy and straightforward, but you’ll definitely be overwhelmed by the options if you’re only looking for simplicity.
Both platforms are free. ManyChat does offer a paid plan, but only if you’re looking for more advanced features (such as automated message replies to comments and other ‘growth’ features).
Deciding which Chat Bot platform to use is as simple as asking yourself how complex and customized you want your Chat Bot to be.
- If you’re looking to save time and just get the bot functioning without any hassle, use ManyChat.
- If you want to exercise your creativity and dive into a world of options and customizations, use Chatfuel.
In the end, both platforms are free to sign up for, and you can test them out before making them live. If you can’t make up your mind, play around with both, and see which works better for your needs.
In the next section, I’m going to take you on a tour of the basic set up using both platforms.
You’ll need a Facebook Page to sign up for either account, so be sure to create one if you haven’t already.
Creating a Facebook Chat Bot Using ManyChat
Step 1 – Go to manychat.com and click “Get Started Free”
You’ll be taken through a series of screens to sign up for an account and link it to your Facebook Page.
From there, you’ll be guided through a quick tutorial of the basic features.
Step 2 – Create Your Welcome Message
When someone messages your page, they’ll see a default Welcome Message. You can use this message to greet your customers and guide them to a particular action through the use of buttons.
Buttons can trigger 1 of 3 actions:
- Send another message
- Start a phone call
- Open up a link
Use these options to customize your customer’s experiences.
To set up your Welcome Message, go to the main menu on the left sidebar. There you’ll find the Automation menu. Under Automation, you’ll see Welcome Message. Click that and customize your message.
Step 3 – Set up Your Keywords
Through your welcome message, you can customize all of the buttons and links you want your clients to have access to.
Once you’ve completed that step, you can set up keywords, which can also trigger the same 3 actions – a message, a call, or a link.
For example, you know that if someone says “book session” or “make appointment,” they want to schedule a session with you. You can set up a keyword trigger so when they type this into Messenger, it will send them directly to your online appointment booking site.
To set up keywords, go back to the Automation menu on the left sidebar and click on Keywords. Click +New Rule at the top right and follow the steps to customize your keyword triggers.
Here’s what the Keyword screen looks like with some Keyword triggers set up.
Step 4 – Set up Your Dripped Content
Using a Facebook Chat Bot like an email sequencer is a really smart and effective way to reach clients and potential customers. Your open rates will likely be higher, and your call to actions will likely see more… action!
With the free ManyChat subscription, you can only set up 2 sequences, so to really take advantage of this you’ll need to sign up for a paid subscription, or use Chatfuel, which offers more advanced features and lets you drip unlimited sequences for free.
To set up your Sequences, click on Sequences under the Automation menu.
From here you can write your broadcasts and choose how frequently you want them to drip.
Here’s an example of a sequence that is set up to drip after a set amount of hours and days.
Creating a Facebook Chat Bot Using Chatfuel
Since there are so many options and customizations with Chatfuel, I’m going to walk you through some of the basic options.
Of course, for your first step, go to chatfuel.com and sign up for an account. Follow the prompts to link your account to your Facebook page.
You can choose to go through the tutorial or skip it. Chatfuel has both a basic and advanced tutorial, and if you don’t go through them at first, they are definitely worth checking out later.
This is where you’ll do the majority of your work in Chatfuel. Just like ManyChat, you start with a welcome message and build out your responses from there.
Chatfuel works by utilizing blocks and cards. Blocks are essentially individual messages that contain cards, or items within that message. There are 5 types of cards.
- Text – A written message with 3 button options that can trigger another block, a link to a URL and/or a phone call.
- Gallery – A gallery of up to 9 images that include a title and optional description and url. Each image in the gallery can include a choice of 5 buttons – another block, a url, a phone call, an option to share or an option to purchase.You can see in the example below that the user chose Cake Recipes from the menu, which directed them to a gallery card that features different types of cakes. Gallery images let users scroll through the listings in a horizontal format.
- Image – This block sends the user a single image. You cannot assign any additional buttons to an image.
- List – This card is similar to a gallery, but differs in the following ways: you can only add 3 options to a list, the images appear as small thumbnails to the right instead of as a large featured image, and there is no option to add a share button.This is an example of how a list would appear.
- Quick Reply – This is an advanced feature that allows you to set up attributes to assign to users. This is helpful if you have multiple sequences and broadcasts that you want to target to specific users.
Set up AI
This is where you will enter keywords that a customer might type, which you want to trigger a specific action. You can choose to respond with a simple text reply or with a block.
The Chatfuel AI is very responsive to variations in language, so you don’t need to type synonyms. For example, if you want your Chat Bot to respond to the word “hello,” it will also respond to “hey,” “hi,” “hiya,” and other variations.
Here’s what that screen looks like.
This is where you can set up messages to be sent out based on a schedule or triggered sequence. Building your broadcasts works the same as building your messages in Build.
This really only covers the basics of what’s possible with Chatfuel. The other menus and features offer advanced options to help you target your messages and create deeper, more intricate funnels.
If you’re interested in these advanced options, you won’t need to know any code, but you will need to do some exploring. The best action to take is go ahead and sign up and start playing around.
On the main dashboard, Chatfuel offers some interesting templates to ignite your creative fire and help you use every feature available on the platform.
Final Steps for Creating a Facebook Chat Bot
What’s next? Well, it’s time to create your bot!
Choose a platform and start experimenting. Both platforms offer live testing, so you can see first hand what your users will see.
There is a world of opportunity waiting for you with Chat Bots, so just go for it and see what creative ways you can come up with to engage your community!
Have you engaged with a Facebook Chat Bot before? Did you know big companies like Whole Foods, 1-800-Flowers, Kayak and even Bank of America are using Facebook Chat Bots? Go try them out and see if you can get some inspiration for your Chat Bot!