When the Messenger platform launched in 2016, the news almost broke the internet. Online and offline publications were filled with suppositions and predictions on the business opportunities Facebook Messenger bots could bring.
The excitement was no surprise as that year Facebook messenger already boasted 1 billion monthly active users (MAU).
Several years later the topic is still hot and it’s not just because the MAU count is now 1.3 billion.
The main difference is that the talks are no longer purely theoretical. Businesses of all shapes and sizes have been showcasing the worth of employing a Facebook bot be it for customer support, sales, or collecting feedback.
Given the business potency of Facebook Messenger as a communication channel and the advantages of automation brought about by chatbots, we decided to put together this article. We’ll cover all the most commonly asked questions as well as show you how to build a Facebook Messenger chatbot (without coding) and then test it before launch.
What are Facebook Messenger Bots?
Facebook Messenger bots are virtual assistants that respond to users who reach out to you via chat on your company Facebook page using automated communication sequences.
Such a chatbot can be either rule-based or use artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing and fulfill a variety of functions from sales to customer service.
Why use Facebook Messenger Chatbots for Business?
The simple answer is for the ways FB Messenger chatbots are revolutionizing business. The more complex explanation is rooted in the multifaceted benefits you can gain from replacing a live chat with an automated bot.
Here are some of the top reasons to consider using Messenger chatbots:
- According to the 2021 statistics reports, Facebook has 2.9 billion MAU while, as mentioned before, the Messenger app itself has 1.3 billion MAU;
- Facebook Messenger platform is already completely optimized for all possible devices taking that worry off your shoulders;
- Facebook Messenger open and click rates are through the roof compared to the results you can realistically achieve email campaigns;
- Engaging with consumers via Messenger means engaging with them where they already naturally spend their time which removes unnecessary friction from the process such as requesting an email address, having to check their email to read the newsletter, etc.;
- Building an audience on Facebook is significantly simpler and faster than starting an email list from zero;
- Automating Messenger communication enables you to create similar nurturing sequences normally associated with email campaigns but without friction as the consumers don’t need to alter their habits to check those communications;
- Messenger bot can help you build trust by communicating with your audience where they feel comfortable and so, eventually, help you gain the email addresses (and have a more 3rd-party independent means of contacting them when needed) but in a less intrusive manner;
- Since messaging apps are associated with speed and frequency, you can also send your Facebook bot messages significantly more often (within seconds, minutes, hours, or days of each other) than it would be acceptable with an email;
- FB Messenger chatbots can act as moderators to help you improve your customer service since they can filter queries, answer the basic ones and only push the complex issues to your agents who will be able to respond to those who really needed quicker and more efficiently;
- Bots can help you reach and serve more existing and potential customers as many people do not like to make a call or chat to a live agent but email is too slow to be a valid option to them;
- Facebook bots offer a great interactive customer experience as they don’t have to rely purely on language (and results in fails) and, instead, can take advantage of rich visual elements such as buttons, quick replies, carousels, etc.
- Messenger bots allow you to recommend products and process sales in real-time without forcing the shopper to leave the conversation;
- Continuity! Every time a user reaches out to you via Messenger, they must be logged in on Facebook and so your bot has access to all their query and shopping history so providing help and assisting sales becomes more frictionless.
The list could go on and on.
To make it concise and save us some time, the truth is whatever use case you have in mind, there are benefits to be reaped from implementing a chatbot on Facebook.
How do FB Messenger Chatbots Work?
How a Facebook chatbot works, depends on the flow system you use to create it.
A chatbot can be either rule-based or NLP-Based.
NLP chatbots are probably more widely known as they rely on the linguistic branch of artificial intelligence and process natural user inputs to understand the query and reply to it appropriately. They offer a more natural “human” conversational experience but give you very little control over the interactions.
On the other hand, rule-based chatbots rely on the good old decision tree or “chose-your-adventure” type of structure. They are much simpler to build and often rely on rich UI elements such as quick replies and buttons. Don’t hold the simplicity agist them though, it comes in handy in many use cases that require you to stay in control such a solving a particular problem or processing and sale.
Both types of chatbots can be (and should be - to achieve the best possible experience) connected to an external database that allows the bot to personalize the interaction.
Both options are valid and the advantage of one over the other really depends on your needs and goals. Actually, many bots combine both, NLP and rule-based sequences. For instance, a bot can use NLP to identify what user needs (e.g. recommend products) but then switch to a rule-based sequence for the user to rate their experience.
How to Build a Facebook Messenger Chatbot?
Whether you are aiming to build an NLP-based or a rule-based bot, it’s smart to work with a low-code or no-code chatbot builder. The visual interface of a no-code platform makes the flow creation faster as well as understandable to people on your team not versed in programming.
It’s a huge advantage as it allows you to involve marketers, sales, or customer support reps in the process of building a bot that will make their job easier. Furthermore, a visual interface also eases maintenance as pretty much anyone can do it.
In this Facebook bot tutorial, we will show you how to build a chatbot using the Landbot no-code builder and then test it as well.
1. Access the Landbot Builder & Open the Canvas
If you don’t have a Landbot profile yet, sign up for free and access the dashboard.
Once there, click on the “Build a Chatbot” button in the upper right corner and select “Messenger” as you preferred bot type:
After this, the app takes you to the Landbot template library where you can decide if you want to start building a Messenger bot from scratch or use a pre-designed template:
Building a bot from scratch gives you more freedom but simply customizing a template is great when speed is of the essence.
For the purpose of this tutorial, we will use the eCommerce feedback template.
2. Familiarize Yourself with the Builder
Before you start, familiarize yourself with the builder.
Landbot enables you to build the conversational flow by connecting question blocks through arrows:
By expanding the purple arrow on the left side of the canvas you can access the menu of all features and block types.
To make your job easier, you can use the search field on the top of the menu to filter for features and block compatible with Facebook.
3. Customize the Welcome Message
Welcome Message is the opening message of your conversational flow sequence. This block is always present whether you are using a template or building a bot from scratch.
What you say and how you say it in this first message sets the purpose and tone for the rest of the conversation:
It’s important to be clear here about what the bot can and cannot do. If you set the expectations right from the start, the users are less likely to be disappointed.
4. Review & Customize the Flow
The eCommerce feedback flow is composed of three main sections called “Bricks”. Landbot Bricks act as folders that allow you to organize more complex chatbot flows.
In this case, each brick represents a different type of feedback to collect:
- Website feedback
- Delivery feedback
To review flow of each brick, hover over it and click on the edit button that pops up:
This is how it looks inside the website feedback brick:
You can enter, make necessary customizations, save changes and then click the “Back to bot” button to return to the main flow.
5. Export Data & Receive Notifications
Begging the feedback flow, you’ll notice two notes prompting you to insert a data export block or arrange to receive notifications.
One of the easiest ways to export (or import) data from and to a chatbot flow is using Landbot’d native Google Sheets or Airtable integrations.
The setup for both is quite similar and extremely simple. For instance, this is how you export data with Google Sheets:
As per setting up trigger notifications. You can arrange to receive them via email (using Sendgrid integration) or on a 3rd-party tool like Slack:
6. Publish your Bot
Once the bot is optimized to your liking, it’s time to publish.
While the changes you make save automatically, making the flow public requires you to click the “Publish” button in the upper right corner.
Now you are ready to do some testing!
How to Test your Facebook Chatbot?
Once published if you want to test the chatbot you need to create a channel connection between your Facebook Page and Landbot.
To review the bot from a customer perspective first, create a decoy Facebook page to use just for testing. The process will still be the same.
And that is it!
If all is fine with the test you are ready to connect the bot to your main channel and interact with your customers via the chat app they love to use.
Consumers, in B2B as well as B2C, are becoming more and more exigent about their experience. Adding a chatbot to help create stronger relationships and manage the consumer-brand communications in a more timely manner is one of the ways you can step up to the occasion.
Furthermore, when a bot is paired with one of the most popular chat apps like Facebook Messenger, the user experience can hardly get more frictionless as it allows not only for speed but also continuity.
You can have customers contact you directly via Messenger, or use Click-to-Messenger CTA on your website or campaigns. The bot can be as effective in helping your customer service team as it can be in helping you boost your marketing strategy. The opportunities are there for the taking!