Last Updated: September 2019
If you already use Facebook for marketing purposes, it makes sense to use Facebook’s messaging feature and potentially use Facebook chatbots. Customers will know where to find you, meaning there will be no need for them to seek out an alternative method of contact. If they see an update on your Page that intrigues them, they can instantly send you a message to initiate a private conversation.
Similarly, if a customer has a problem or a complaint, they’ll know where to go. This gives you the chance to resolve the issue, preventing the customer from taking it public and hurting your reputation.
Despite these benefits, many business have been hesitant about using Facebook to communicate with prospects and customers. Often, they are worried about monitoring their Pages to handle the influx of messages. With instant replies and Facebook chatbots, this is no longer an issue.
What Are Instant Replies?
Instant replies are messages that users see automatically when they initiate a chat with your Facebook page. These messages have the feel of a basic chatbot and show that your business is committed to providing top-quality customer service. It’s easy to set them up, and you just need a single response for everyone who messages you. You can create any reply you like less than 250 characters.
Benefits of Instant Replies
Instant replies mean that businesses are able to handle a much greater number of messages. Provided you do answer in a timely manner after the instant reply, no user will feel ignored. This can reduce negative opinions (and reviews) about your customer service. It also allows everyone who messages you to feel as if they have a personal relationship with your brand, forming a stronger connection with your business.
How Are Instant Replies Different from Away Messages?
Before Instant Replies, Facebook already offered away messages. However, these only send a response outside business hours. An Instant Reply, in contrast, responds to users who message you during your hours of operation, whenever you are unable to answer immediately.
How to Enable Facebook Instant Replies
To turn on Instant Replies for your Facebook Page:
- Go to your page and log in as an admin
- Click Settings at the top of your page
- Click Messaging in the left column
- Below Response Assistant, click to select Yes next to Send Instant Replies to anyone who messages your Page
- To change your instant reply message, click Change, update the message, and click Save
To turn off replies, navigate to the same Messaging page above. Below Response Assistant, click to select No next to Send Instant Replies to anyone who messages your page.
Gaining the Most from Instant Replies
It is essential that instant replies feel relevant to users. For this reason, you must utilize the personalization feature. Think about what type of response will best serve users while representing your brand personality. Here are a few different options:
1. Introduce Your Company
If you are targeting users who are only just now discovering your brand, the best kind of response will introduce your company, explain what you do, or mention some of the products or services you offer. Write the instant reply in your brand voice to set the tone and let prospects know what to expect.
2. Set Expectations
Another option is to give users a timeframe about when they can expect to hear from you. Be realistic, otherwise your prospects will have no reason to trust you later. Your message could also send users to a useful page on your website, such as your FAQ page, where they can find out more about your brand.
3. Offer Other Contact Methods
If you manage a large influx of messages, you may want to make sure that important queries never go unnoticed. Consider providing users with an alternative way of contacting you for faster support. For instance, you could list your customer service email address or phone number.
4. Unexpected Absence
Small businesses often have just a single member of staff managing their Facebook account. If that person has something come up and cannot monitor messages for a few days, you need to let users know. Without going into too much detail, explain why you are unable to respond. Also let users know when you’ll be back, if possible.
Bear in mind that instant replies are not sent when your Page’s messaging status is sent to Away. Also note that these instant messages are not included in your Page’s response rate or response time metrics. This means that if you want to maintain a good response time, you still need to answer messages as quickly as possible. If you receive many messages with many of the same queries, it may be better to address those questions on your website or Facebook page in general so people have a resource to use. Or, you can go a step further and use a full chatbot.
Full Chatbot Integration
Full chatbot integration will enable you to respond to customers’ common queries instantly. This prevents your customer service team from needing to waste time on routine questions, freeing up staff to handle more complex matters.
In addition to answering questions, Facebook chatbots can provide a variety of other services and perform many other functions. For instance, they can collect leads, deliver content, provide automated services, and personalize experiences.
Ways to Utilize Facebook Chatbots
Help Customers Manage Their Account Information
Chatbots can use automation to help customers manage their accounts. This saves a team member from looking up information or making changes manually. For instance, customers can update their contact or billing details, check their order status, or find a tracking code.
Strengthen the Relationship with Your Users
A Facebook chatbot provides users with more than just the means to communicate with your business. You can also use the opportunity to develop a relationship and show the personality of your brand. One of the best ways to do this is by offering entertaining or useful features. Options range from games, reminders, and tips to fun facts and interactive tools.
For these types of chatbots, it’s a good idea to add the option to invite a friend. This will help your brand reach more people on Facebook. Just make sure that content is always opt-in to ensure it never feels like spam.
Send Your Audience the Right Content
Facebook chatbots can play a central role in your content marketing strategy, sending users to content according to the queries they type. As a chatbot uses AI, it will learn what content is the most successful for various terms. The result is more prospects arriving at your website.
To use a chatbot this way, you must only send users to the content pages of your site, never push for a direct sale. It is better still if you provide users with browsing menus, giving them different options to filter through to reach the right content. This is ideal when users are unsure as to exactly what they want at the beginning of an interaction.
Take Orders Within Facebook Messenger
Facebook chatbots even allow users to place orders in Messenger. In response to a query, the chatbot can show users products and services that they are likely to find interesting and then accept the order, all within a chat.
You’ll need to create a chatbot that accepts payments through a trusted payment service, gives users the option to schedule delivery, and takes shipping and billing information. You should also consider showing customers more items before they complete their checkout, to increase the chance of a cross-sell.
Send Users to Customer Service Only When Necessary
Sometimes, a chatbot is unable to help customers sufficiently. However, even if you frequently receive messages from customers with complicated queries, there’s no reason to dismiss the idea of chatbots entirely. Simply giving users the option to contact customer support when they need it will allow you to benefit from chatbots and keep personalizing support for your audience.
Creating Your Chatbot
The simplest way to create a Facebook chatbot is to use a tool like Botisy, Landbot, or Chatfuel. All these tools will take you through the process of building your chatbot step by step and there is no need for any coding. For a step-by-step on creating a chatbot with Botsify, check out this article.
As an example, let’s look at how this would work with Chatfuel.
1. Set up an account
Before you can begin, you need to set up a Chatfuel account and use this to log into your Facebook account. A new screen will appear called “Your chatbots.” Click the “+” to start a new chatbot.
2. Choose a template
Next, you’ll be presented with templates that you can use. Alternatively, you can pick a blank chatbot to create your bot from scratch. Give your chatbot a name and click the button “Create a chatbot.” The next screen will allow you to connect this bot to Facebook. Select your business Page or create a new Page.
3. Personalize the content
To begin working on your chatbot, click “Build” in the sidebar menu. You’ll start by creating your welcome message. Chatfuel offers a default message on a text card, which you can keep, edit, or dismiss, to start a new card from scratch. In addition to text cards, Chatfuel allows you to add gallery, image, and plugin cards. You can add buttons to any of these cards to allow users to open new blocks, click a URL, or see a phone number.
4. Create the first response
You’ll also want to set up a message to be the first response after a user makes contact with your bot. Set this up by choosing “Default answer” under “Built-in blocks.” Bear in mind that you can add multiple buttons under this card, which is useful for including several blocks to provide users with all the information they may need.
5. Test the chatbot
After this, you can add more blocks if you wish simply by clicking “+ add block.” Once you’ve created all the blocks you need, click “Test this chatbot.” This will save your bot. Then click “View on Messenger.com” to try out the bot. Test it using different devices to make sure everything works well before you connect the bot to Facebook.
Choosing the Right Option
Small businesses that are able to handle all their Facebook messages efficiently may want to stick to just instant replies for the time being. However, as you grow and want to start interacting with customers in more ways, you should consider implementing a full chatbot.
While growing on social media is a great tool to help you reach a greater audience. You also need to consider optimizing your website to for those who search online when they’re looking for new products and services. And that’s what Boostability is here for! We optimize websites for all aspects of your customer touchpoints. Contact us today to get started getting found online!
This post was originally published March 2018 and has been updated with current information.