The ability to grow your business ‘on autopilot’ has always been one of the biggest draws to digital marketing. Business owners today are time poor, and any chance we can get to save time or automate our work is worth its weight in gold.
But as digital marketing advances it also becomes more personal, and online customers need more of our time and attention. We find ourselves balancing two necessities: The need to connect with and serve our customers, and the need to save time.
This is where Facebook Messenger Bots can come in handy.
Messenger Bots create an automated series of responses to people who message you on Facebook – letting you serve (and impress) your customers even when you’re not watching your inbox!
If you want more info on why Facebook Messenger May be the Fastest Way to Grow Your Business, check out that blog on the subject.
But right now, we’re going to show you how to create your own Facebook Messenger Bot in 15 minutes. These instructions are clear, uncomplicated and easy so no matter what your experience with Facebook, you’ll be able to follow along!
How to Build a Facebook Messenger Bot
There are a number of platforms you can use to build a Messenger Bot, but we’ll use ManyChat for this example.
Follow along with us, and you’ll have a Messenger bot up and running in 15 minutes!
Step 1: Head to ManyChat.com and Sign Up (Free)
ManyChat’s free plan has everything you need to get started. The system has a bit of Manychat branding in free mode – if you find it distracting, you can upgrade to Pro starting at $10/mo.
Step 2: Connect Your Page
After signing up, you can connect any Facebook page that you manage.
Step 3: Craft a Welcome Message
After moving through a quick setup screen, you can create a friendly welcome message for your page. This message will automatically pop up when someone starts a conversation with you in Facebook Messenger.
Here’s an example of something we might use:
Best practice is to keep your welcome message short and sweet.
If you check your messages often, you may be alright with a simple note that you’ll be in touch soon. If you only check occasionally, you may want to include a contact phone, email, and link to your website.
Step 4: Create a Chat Menu
After you setup and test your welcome message, you’ll see the ManyChat dashboard. There are heaps of tools to use here, but the heart of your Messenger bot is the menu.
The menu is a list of options, responses, or questions that your customers can click on once they start a conversation with you in Messenger. This is where you start to take care of your customers on autopilot!
Here is an example of a menu we might create for ourselves:
A simpler menu might look like this:
- ‘Call Us’
- ‘Ask us Anything’
- ‘Learn More’
You can title these options anything you’d like, and each option can lead to an automated response, or another list of options.
Simple options like ‘Call Us’ would start a phone call – a great way to take a curious customer to a call if you’re more comfortable on the phone than on Facebook. ‘Ask us Anything’ would simply let your customer type in a question that you could manually respond to.
Other options like ‘Lean More’ are where you can get creative with automation. Because each option can lead to another response or another list of options, the possibilities are practically infinite.
You could educate customers about your product, ask them questions, send them to different pages of your website, and even book meetings or phone calls based on what questions the customer has asked.
What Can You Automate?
To give you a better picture of what we’re talking about, here’s an example:
We do a lot of Social Media marketing so we might put in a ‘Social Media Marketing’ menu option. When the customer clicked here, they’d get the following:
From there, we could offer links to case studies of our past work, ask a series of questions about the customer’s business or goals, and let them call us for more detail.
We could also subscribe users to our blog:
The options, as we mentioned, are limitless.
Your Messenger Bot could be as simple as a list of contact information, or as complex as a full onboarding process – including links, audio and video in the automated responses.
Go Forth and Create Your Bot!
You’re now ready to take advantage of Messenger Bots for yourself. Have a play with the options – the depth of your automation is limited only to your imagination! Not many businesses have set Messenger bots up for themselves yet, so your automated system is more likely to look impressive than cold and distant (like some other forms of automated response).
And remember, you can review all of the automated conversations your customers might have. Your messenger bot can conduct entire conversations that you can review and follow up with later!
Don’t Forget to Keep an Eye on Your FB Messenger Inbox
Facebook Messenger is a great line of communication, but it can be a double-edged blade if you’re not on top of it. Any businesses with a Facebook page must pay attention to its Messenger Inbox. Customer questions, complaints, reviews and (importantly) leads are coming through Facebook messenger.
As digital marketing advances it also becomes more personal, and online customers need more of our time and attention. Whether you build a Messenger bot or not, it’s critical to pay attention to your inbox.
You wouldn’t leave a customer in your waiting room, would you? You can’t leave them in your digital waiting room either.