What is a Facebook Messenger Bot? (A Beginner’s Guide)

If you’re reading this Blog you probably heard how these Facebook Messenger Bots are great and how they have extremely high open rates. But what is a Messenger Bot and how do they work? How can you build one if you don’t know how to code? Well the good news is you’re in the right place! By the end of this  post you’ll understand how a Messenger Bot works, how bots can benefit your business and how you can build a Bot without any coding with the help of tools like ManyChat and Chatfuel! So let’s jump in to point number one, where we’ll go over what is a Messenger Bot.

Does Facebook allow these Bots or are they just a fad?

And then we’ll talk about how a Messenger Bot works.

If you’re a business with a website or Facebook page you know that users can find you online and send you a question about your business, product, or service.

You want to provide great customer support and quickly reply to these questions. But you might have trouble keeping up! You’re also probably getting the same questions over and over again from different customers but you’re a busy business owner which means that you can’t always reply to these questions instantly! That’s one of the ways a messenger bot can help!

You’re basically outsourcing some of these repetitive tedious tasks to Messenger Bot that works 24/7. So instead of having people emailing you their questions, you’re getting them to interact with the Messenger Bot first!

A bot built without any coding can send automated replies to these common questions so that you can focus on tasks that really require your attention. While you can only reply to one user at a time a messenger bot can interact with multiple users, all at the same time, sending each one a personalised message or unique recommendation all without getting confused.

Similar to when you’re messaging your family or your friends, a Messenger Bot can send out short snippets of texts, emojis, and images, video clips, or a voice memo. A Messenger Bot can also send galleries and lists and different types of buttons to allow users to interact and reply to your Bot!

As you can see a Messenger Bot is simply a program that automatically interacts with people, providing them with relevant information news and updates about your business directly inside Messenger. The majority of Messenger Bots are powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence. Something we’ll talk about later in this post. You also might hear some people refer to Messenger Bot as email marketing 2.0.

And that’s because you can use Bots to build a Messenger subscriber list and then send out updates broadcasts and newsletters. Instead of receiving an email, a message will pop up directly in their Messenger and Facebook inbox.

But Bots also share similar features to mobile apps for example because both are easily accessible on a mobile device. Bots also share similar elements to a live chat! After all it does live on the Messenger platform where you can have instant real-time back-and-forth conversations.

Other than using Bots to communicate and send messages, they can also provide people with information about your business, product, or service. Kind of like your website! You can even send data collected by your Messenger Bot to other tools like your email marketing spreadsheet or CRM. But keep in mind, while a bot might be similar to these  other tools, it is not a replacement for any of these tools, a human or your marketing funnel.

A Messenger Bot is just an additional new way for people to interact with your business. So instead of leaving it up to users to find the right information on your static site or relying on one-way communication channel where your overwhelming users with emails and content. Or building a landing page with a long boring form.

A Messenger Bot allows you to leverage conversational marketing, where you’re using automated interactive conversation to capture and connect with the audience on a platform where open rates are extremely high! To prove this let me show you the open rate of Email vs Messenger.

Based on a report from MailChimp the average unique open rate is somewhere between 17 to 28 percent. Messenger bots are relatively new but based on my research, I found that open rates for messages are somewhere between 70 to 90 percent! Which is amazingly high!

Even though these are some great stats you might be wondering whether Facebook allows Messenger Bots or not? Another common question I hear is Are Bots just a fad?

The answer is yes! They are allowed! And Messenger Bots aren’t  just a tool used by large corporations. Facebook also promotes and encourages small businesses to build Bots. In fact, Facebook conducted a study and found that in 2017 over 330 million people connected with a small business on Messenger for the very first time. The study also showed that 67% expect to message businesses even more over the next two years.

There are currently over a billion users on Messenger but it isn’t just a tool to allow people to message their friends and family. Did you know that over 8 billion messages are sent between people and businesses each month on Messenger?

I know I just threw a whole bunch of numbers at you but the whole point was to get you to realise that the  Messenger Bot is not a fad. Hopefully I also got you to think and realise the importance of having a presence on a platform that’s preferred by your customer.

If you’re interested in using Messenger Bots to connect with your subscribers and existing customers let’s go over how a messenger bot works. The first thing you need to know is that a Messenger Bot must be connected to Facebook page. You cannot have a Bot on a personal profile or in a Facebook group. Bots are also not smart. Bots have limited natural language processing capability. Meaning their ability to understand the human language as it is naturally spoken – is not that great.

If you ever talk to an Alexa, Siri, or Google home you’ll know what I mean. The biggest misconception about Messenger Bots right now is that they can answer anything and everything. Even Siri, Alexa and a Google Home cannot do that! So please, do not expect a bot, especially those built without any coding, to understand full sentences.

The biggest opportunity right now is to use Bots to provide basic replies to common questions and to communicate with subscribers and customers. It’ll still save you time and offer your visitors some support around the clock – which is better than nothing! So if Bots are not powered by AI and they’re not smart you’re probably wondering how do they work? The answer is, they follow rules. A Messenger Bot is basically a series of pre-planned rules and communication flows.

Your job is to create these rules and map out the different scenarios to offer users an interactive experience. Because even though they are interacting with a bot you don’t want them to chat with a dull boring bot. You want your users to interact and engage with a fun and helpful bot! Which can be achieved if you put the user in control and allow them to choose their own adventure. So here is a super basic example. If the user types – are you open today. You can train your bot to answer with – Yes! We’re open from nine to five! Or if the user types in hello. You can get your bot to send the message welcome back or nice to meet you! It just depends on whether the person is a new visitor or an existing subscriber.

Here’s what that might look like in Messenger. If I say hello to our Bot, Stephanie, she’ll reply with welcome back. As you can see users can also tap on buttons to access information about my business like free tips on how to out-compete your competition!

Other than following rules you can also train your Bot to remember information and provide users with a unique experience, tailored to their specific needs. Which is important because personalisation usually leads to higher conversions.

But the best part about Messenger Bot is that no coding is required. Bots are easy to set up and easy to manage. Especially when you compare it to a WordPress site. With Messenger Bots you don’t need to worry about theme upgrades, managing plugins, or making sure that it looks great on a mobile phone.

Just in case you’re wondering there are several visual bot building platforms that allow you to build a bot without any coding. Two of my favourites are Chatfuel and ManyChat.

Alternativey, as Instant edge is a DONE FOR YOU one stop shop, we’re happy to build your bot for you.  Just Contact Us to have an initial  chat.