What is a Facebook Messenger Bot and How Your Business Can Leverage Them

What is a Facebook Messenger Bot and How to Leverage Them

This article will first define what a Messenger and Facebook Messenger bot exactly is and then follow up with real-life examples of how your business can utilize bots for a variety of marketing and business objectives.

What is a Facebook Messenger Bot?

A messenger bot is a piece of software that is using artificial intelligence to communicate with people. A bot is programmed to understand the questions, provide answers and assist people when using this artificial intelligence.

The first chatbot that was developed by a Joseph Weizenbaum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This was in 1994 that the term Chatterbot was coined.

Some of us may recall using these chatterbots back then. I sure do. We were able to enter into these chat rooms and talk in real time with other people of the same or similar interests.

When I look back I can see how this technology is now really changing the way we communicate.

Facebook introduced the functionality of chatbots that integrated with their Messenger app as a new Facebook feature in 2016. The first Facebook Messenger chatbot was used with the Marriott and Starwood Group to help guests.

This was an exciting time for marketers, especially those that were always looking for the next best opportunity to market. However, as with any new piece of software, the bot didn’t deliver all the functions as it should and in some instances the software was not delivering anything it promised.

Over the last 4 years, the bot has continued to develop and provide options and functionality for the Facebook Messenger Bot.  Facebook now has over 1.2 billion active users on their Messenger app and the platform has been used to create over 300,000 bots. Businesses and customers are exchanging over 8 billion messages a day on Messenger and this is growing rapidly.

How Facebook Messenger Bots Work

A Messenger bot will use the Messenger app from Facebook to communicate in live artificial intelligence-driven conversations, which you can setup for any part of your business and marketing. I will chat more about these functions later in this article.

The application or the creation, depending on which you prefer, of the Messenger bots for your business are limitless. Each time I look at an opportunity to market my business or my students, I see endless opportunities of integrating a Messenger bot that will communicate in real time, answer questions, send reminders, take payments and build a list of contacts on Messenger.

There are a number of software agencies that offer messenger bots. I have used Manychat and I find their service affordable. They have both a free and a pro option with rich functionality and amazing customer service.

I would suggest that you do your own research on which Messenger bot software will work effectively for your business on Facebook. As the list is forever changing I did find the top alternatives to Manychat and have listed them below for you:

  • Mobile Monkey
  • Chatfuel
  • Landing Cube
  • MSG Hero

With the integration of the Messenger bot and Facebook, I think the best part of these applications is the ability for the client or customer to use ONE CLICK to begin a conversation with your business.

Our clients and customers are using Facebook and other social media channels 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, and when they need to book in a carpet cleaning service, enquire about a car through a dealership, or just get the next free course or webinar that you maybe offering, there is an expectation that you will be able to converse with them at anytime they send through that request.

I see this all day everyday with my partners and my son’s business. They receive messages all hours of the day and night and if the business doesn’t respond, you can be assured that the customer has moved on to your competition.

By creating a simple yet effective bot, it gives you the opportunity to chat with them, book or sell them a product, get paid and build your list, potentially all whilst you are sleeping or having time off.

However, a Messenger bot will never replace a human conversation. Think about using Messenger bots to enhance your customers experience.

A few ways that you can use a messenger bot for your business are:

Customer Service:

You can setup your bot to interact in a human manner and give instructions, especially answers to frequently asked questions such as how to follow instructions, how to book a service etc.

A customer service bot can easily allow access to your brand using a messenger code that they can scan with their smartphone.

An example here from Omega Bank allows the customer to see all of their options.

Omega Bank Facebook Messenger bot example

Sales and Services:

Just recently my daughter went from scrolling on Facebook to inquire about a baby stroller and within minutes the Messenger bot had taken her on a sales journey giving her the baby stroller that she needed and providing her the option to purchase that specific baby stroller at that moment.

To me this is a massive opportunity for all businesses to increase their sales and services. 1-800-Flowers is famous for doing this exceptionally well.

To have a look at their bot, open up your Messenger app and on the bottom right hand corner you will see an arrow pointing from the top right to the bottom left as in the screenshot below. This is where you can discover bots that are already created. At the top of the app, you can see the search button, you can search for 1-800-Flowers and look at the sales journey.

Facebook Messenger Bot discovery

Remember, though, that once you start engaging with a bot you will automatically be added to their mailing list, but you can unsubscribe at any time.

Follow Up:

We all know that the money is in the follow up; however, how many of us actually take the time to follow up a lead or a potential sale?

When using Facebook Messenger bots for your business, you can customize a follow up sequence that will automatically send alerts, reminders and nurture this new potential customer, taking them from a cold lead to a warm or hot one.

In Manychat you can create a sequence, which is the same as an email marketing campaign, where you can send out a series of messages that will land in their Messenger inbox inside their mobile device.

Before my partner and son came on board with Messenger bots, their main concern was that the inquiry maybe difficult and that they needed to have the conversation directly with that potential customer. However, you can customize your Messenger bot to ask questions and take your potential customers on a journey to give them the end result you are looking for, or you can take them so far on the journey and ask for their phone number to contact them personally if that is what you need to do.

Messenger bots have a limitless potential for communicating and interacting with your clients and customers. Here are a few examples that I have used:

Give Away Freebies and Lead Magnets:

I will do a Facebook Live and attached the bot to that show, using a code word “Bot.” When the audience comments on the Facebook Live it will trigger the bot to deliver them the lead magnet. This Facebook marketing strategy will increase my organic reach for my live streaming because I am getting engagement and add the person to my Messenger mailing list.

Webinar Registration:

I have created a bot that will collect the registration details of the participant and will give them the follow-up as per any webinar software program. All interactions are on their smartphone.

Customized Free Training:

I have created a sequence that will deliver a free training on social media into Facebook Messenger over a few weeks.

Carpet Cleaning:

My son’s business now interacts with customer inquiries through his Facebook Page and books the service in Messenger, also getting payment.

Car Dealership:

My partner’s business asks the client questions to find out if they are interested in purchasing a car and if they need finance. Once they have answered these questions, he asks for their phone number to call them in the morning, starting out with a cold lead and then ending up with a hot lead.

There are a few rules and regulations that have just been introduced to Messenger bots from Facebook and these took effect on the 15th January this year. This involves how we communicate with people once they are on our list and reduces the spamming of broadcasting promotional bots. I would strongly suggest that you look at these guidelines and become familiar with them before you start your bot creation.

There is no limit to what you can use a Messenger bot for in your business. Start by writing down your customer journey now as it is and then you can create a Messenger bot on Manychat with a free account to replicate it.

What I love in particular with Manychat and Facebook Messenger is that Manychat is always improving and with the recent changes, Manychat has the options to now use SMS and email marketing within the app.

The biggest selling point for me 3 years ago when I started to use Messenger bots was the open rate. A Messenger will receive an open rate of 80% to 90% compared to an email marketing open rate of 10% to 30%….. As a business owner, I want my audience to see my marketing and information, not open it weeks or months later as it is lost in their emails….

Feel free to access my free Messenger bot training here.

P.S. this training will be delivered through the bots and Facebook Messenger app!

If you’re looking for more information on this topic, please check out:

What do you think? Have you used or interacted with a bot lately? Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

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