In April 2016, Mark Zuckerberg announced the unveiling of Facebook’s Messenger platform, thereby signaling its decision to integrate bots into its Messenger app. Exciting tools for developers were created that would help them create bots for Facebook Messenger. They have already started to add a myriad of new functions to its existing messaging app.
Before going further, let’s do a quick review on bots and how they affect our everyday lives.
Defining the essence of bots
Basically, a bot refers to software which can automate a task. Chatbots can now be built into Facebook Messenger and automate a conversation. I made Chattypeople.com a chatbot builder tool.
What makes bots special is their ability to analyze and comprehend conversational language while continuing to learn more about it. In a nutshell, your bot actually can actually become smarter and more intelligent with each interaction. How cool is that?
The potential transformation of lives
Chatbots on messengers essentially serve the purpose of helping people from anywhere in the world, regardless of the nature and magnitude of their concern.
It could be anything – from confirming air reservations and hotel bookings to shopping to sharing weather-related information. Bots provide a more personal, fun, and interactive form of communication by anticipating the visitor’s questions in advance, courtesy of some intuitive AI programming.
Many bots are actually quite difficult to identify because they are embedded into messenger apps and cannot be distinguished separately. But that’s where the ambiguity ends. Bots are friendly, interactive, and easy to use. You can play a wide variety of games with them, use them to obtain customer support, or order merchandise online. In a nutshell, bots are designed to make your life easier.
Facebook’s ambitious endeavor
Since announcing its plans, Facebook has conceptualized a well-defined role for messengers to engage with individuals, entrepreneurs, and businesses. The idea is to integrate human interaction with artificial intelligence on a simplified platform and take things from there.
For instance, Facebook encourages you to embrace its Messenger to shop online, access news that is tailored to your style and preferences, or solve a technical problem using conversational and relatable language.
Uptake of Facebook Messenger bots
The popularity of Facebook Messenger bots has been rising steadily. More than 18,000 Facebook bots have already been created within six months from the time Facebook paved the way for bot development.
The Facebook Messenger platform now has a variety of user-friendly templates, such as receipts, to provide a satisfying e-commerce experience. In addition, it also has many airline templates to exchange check-in reminders schedules and flight status updates.
Identifying bots within Facebook Messenger
You can search bots and companies inside Facebook Messenger by looking up their name, a communication channel that may not work at its best without a fair bit of promotion. To circumvent that, Facebook has developed new tools to streamline that connection.
If you are able to get permission to reach out your customers via phone, you can identify them through customer matching. The conversations started via customer matching will be inclusive of an opt-in upon the initial communication on Facebook Messenger.
This is another handy tool that allows people who have developed a page for their business on Facebook to use their username on the page to create a short link. Whoever clicks on that link, regardless of their location, will be able to start a conversation with you in the Messenger app.
Messenger codes are basically images that act as a visual representation for your business. They are similar to Snapchat codes, in that these visual thumbprints redirect anyone who accesses them using Messenger to the concerned bot or company page.
These buttons can be embedded into your website to allow anyone who clicks on them to initiate a Messenger conversation.
Does everybody need to develop a bot for Facebook Messenger?
Well, that depends, as it is not a question that can be addressed with a flat ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. However, there are some considerations that must be kept in mind:
Apps are not an extension of your company website
One of the primary reasons many firms failed to cut the ice despite building cool apps is they did not understand the different nuances and functionality of mobile devices. A mobile device entails differences in the types of engagement customers would expect with a business.
Many apps remain unused or unutilized, simply because some tasks are not made for mobile usage. Therefore, while planning to develop a bot for Facebook Messenger, ensure that you put yourself in your customers’ shoes before taking the plunge. At the end of the day, it’s the customers who will drive the success of a bot.
Research your audience
Another mistake companies commonly make is that they view Facebook as nothing more than a social media platform with little relevance for business promotion.
It doesn’t matter if your audience doesn’t approach Facebook for business-related purposes; it is important to see the potential because an audience who access Facebook many times a day for personal use is more likely to accept Messenger as a potent tool for communication.
Also, the use of messaging apps has surpassed that of social media, which means the future is bright and sunny for bots. Messenger apps could surpass the popularity of social networking sites in the near future. Currently, about 2.5 billion people use a minimum of one messaging app, a figure that could touch 3.6 billion by 2018.
Time and resources
Bots are interesting, but they need time and resources to properly develop. Not everyone can create a bot. You will need an expert to do it right, which costs money. Chances are, you would also need a staff to manage those perennially unusual requests, which again, will cost more money.
If you think you can get around these concerns and make your bot count on Facebook, more power to you.
Read my AI ChatBot Marketing Guide