When Facebook first launched Messenger Bot, the world was taken by storm. Many companies were so hyped about it that they all rushed out to try this new tool.

A year on from then, we can see that the bot development journey has been one bumpy ride. But, like any new gadgets, we believe that problems are bound to appear. And there are solid benefits of chatbots that are hard to ignore! So rather than putting the idea away, it is better that you read up on it and see how you can better utilise your Facebook withMessenger bots.  We are also throwing in some case study and ideas about messenger bots for Singapore SMEs…

What Is A Messenger Bot?

Basically, a Messenger bot is a software that allows you to curate automated reply based on specific keywords or buttons that your users click or enter to your Facebook Page’s Messenger.If you have been to TechCrunch or CNN and tried to contact them via Facebook Messenger, you have probably used a chatbot before. If you haven’t, think of it is like Ironman’s Jarvis, but a primal version of it. It cannot answer comprehensive questions like Jarvis, but it can provide you quick answers based on whatever questions you programme in your Messenger bot.

Honestly, the best way to know about a bot is to try it out. So go ahead, link into TechCrunch or CNN to test these two bots. Or you can let Mark Zuckerberg explain to you (skip to 1.49 to see examples of bots).

And as you are reading, more developers are finding new ways to programme Messenger bot, and create new functions for them!

Now, you must be thinking…

Messenger Bot For Singapore SMEs?

You must be asking, “How can my business benefit from Messenger bots?”

To that, I’ll leave you with a quote:I like this quote because it is very real!

Even if you refuse to appear on social media, your customers will post something about you. And when they really take the time to write a post about you, I can tell you half the time is going to be painting a negative picture of your company. Rather than allowing them to tarnish your online reputation, take control of it!

And this is where chatbot can help you to better manage your social media. Specifically, we are going to talk about the chatbot that manages the social media platform that most Singaporean are using – Facebook. 

No matter what the naysayers are saying about Messenger bots, these are the solid benefits of having one:

  1. It responds to potential buyers 24/7. Expect your Facebook Response Rate to be 100%. That’s basically saying that your business is more customer-friendly as compared to other pages. And it would help tremendously if you are in a competitive industry.
  2. Automation, automation, automation. Once you programme your chatbot well, it can help users to fetch specific information that they are likely to ask, like Frequently Asked Questions. Just that this time, you don’t need a human to manually type the information down.
  3. Messenger bots helps you to create a conversation with your users, including your potential buyers. It keeps your users engage before, you direct them to suitable employees who can then answer the more complicated questions. This means you can better qualify your leads. If their conversion shows that the lead it not ready yet, have a marketing personnel to recommend some readings or free offerings. If it is ready, a sales personnel can take it over.

These are the basic functions of Messenger bots and these are the reason why we would recommend messenger chatbot for Singapore SMEs. But apart from these, there are so much more that you can do with a chatbot! Let’s have a look at what other companies are doing:

Case Study #1: CNN and Content Marketing

After you have checked out CNN’s Messenger bot, it should be clear how media companies have been using chatbot to deliver customised content to their users.

But what they are doing is something even more. They have included machine learning capabilities in their bots to better understand their readers.  By allowing their users to search for specific topic inside Messenger, CNN can recognise the topics that a specific user is interested in and offer personalised recommendations based on their past conversation. This means more insightful data on their Facebook fans, higher engagement and perhaps more loyalty and usage of the brand.

Key in the topic that you are interested to read more about and CNN’s chatbot will provide you with the latest news about the topic.

However, CNN is a major news channel. As an SME marketer, we don’t have machine learning capabilities like them! But what we can do is to steal the concept over.

Apart from pulling out your Frequently Asked Questions, we can also advertise other forms of content, such as your free eBook or new video, over Messenger. Or perhaps, your buyers have common misconception about your product or services that you may want to clarify with them?

The more content you have to share then, the better! Consolidate content with the highest engagement and share it through your Messenger bot. This can increase traffic to your content platforms and help you engage more users.

Use Messenger as part of your bigger sales funnel. Use it as a way to educate your potential customer, so that they are better informed on the benefits your product or service can provide to them. This would help you to sieve away who are unlikely to buy your product – those who do not need the value you are providing – and surface those who are ready to buy.

Case Study #2: eBay and Ecommerce Sales

If you have a wide product catalogue, eBay’s Messenger bot concept would be suitable for your company.

eBay’s bot is more functional, where people can search for products that they are interested in buying.

Based on what you keyed it, it will narrow the search for you and give you several options to choose from. In this case, I typed in “Leather Jacket” and the chatbot brought me into different sub-categories, such as “Women Jacket” or “Women Blazer”, to narrow my search, before it recommended a few jackets for me to browse through.

Through the search function, eBay’s Messenger bot becomes a great way to encourage product search on mobile and subsequently provide a convenient way of purchase through their phones. With eBay’s machine learning capabilities, they could also offer personalised customer shopping experience that provides product suggestions based on the details it captures about the shopper, such as clothing size.

It is definitely more tedious on the chatbot programming if you are to display a catalogue as wide as eBay. However, the possibility to provide easy search towards your catalogue, without asking them to go to your website, is a function that can help you to increase conversion and effectiveness of your current Facebook marketing efforts.

To simplify the bot, you can offer a preset range of search that they can choose from, such as “best- sellers” or “back-orders”. If your brand is known for a specific product, such as black dresses, you can also include the search option early. It makes searching easier for your users and conversion higher for you. Try to categorise your catalogue and provide these options for your users to click, rather than to have them to type in different variations of phrasing a product, which your chatbot cannot recognise.

For example, your first menu can display your different product, such as be “Dress”, “Skirts”, “Shorts”, “Pants”, etc. After clicking into one of the options, you can provide varies descriptions of the product, such as “Bohemian”, “Minimalistic”, “Party”, etc.

As you progress,  expand the menu to include more search option as well.

Case Study #3: Signal Toothpaste and Advertising Through Storytelling

Together with Unilever, Signal toothpaste sets out to resolve a worldwide dental problem – bad brushing habits. What they did was something unique. They decide to use the interactive nature of Messenger bots to create a cartoon narrative that would coax and teach children into forming a habit to brush their teeth!

They have also captured the delicate nature of changing children’s habits. They manage to create a reason for parents to show this chatbot to their children while creating a narrative and engaging animation that captivates and motivates the children to take an action.

In this case study, goes to show how you can encourage a behaviour through storytelling. Of course, it helps to create and retain top-of-mind awareness. Signal choose a costly presentation of the story because of its target audience. This may not be suitable for SMEs. But what you can do is storytelling, in form of words. I have a classic example of an interactive story is conveyed solely through words. It’s a narrative game call The Train (have a go at the game if you are free!). Storytelling is really a matter of how well crafted the story is.

You can tell a story of how you helped your past client to overcome their challenge. The story can be about your personal adversity and how you overcame challenges them to display your ability. The possibilities are endless.

These stories can not only allow you to connect and engage with your users, it is definitely going to help you to build trust with your potential buyers and increase conversion.

Bonus Case Study: Hi Poncho and Branding Personality

Hi Poncho is a Facebook Messenger bot that tells you the weather forecast for the specific country/region that you ask for. What makes it unique is the way their bot interacts with users.

You can ask for the weather conditions

You can ask for a joke

or even how your hair will be like with your weather now! (this is a quirky question that is just meant for fun)

What they are trying to do is to inject a personality to a, otherwise, boring weather forecast app.

No matter if your chatbot is meant for a functional purpose of showing off your company catalogue or content, or it is trying to encourage purchase in your company, don’t forget to create a company personality through your Messegner bot! Transform your bot into a branding tool that sets you apart from your competitors!

There are many tool that can do the backend programming of your chatbot for as low as $19/month. Each with different functions and limitations, just to throw out a few tools that you can consider, we have ManyChat,  ChatFuel (TechCrunch & Buzzfeed are using this) and Flow.

At Tangylab, we are just about to start our Messenger bot with Manychat and we are excited about what we can do with it. So expect to see more articles about bots!

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Shirley Yam
Shirley specialises in Facebook marketing and lead generation. Under Tangylab, she has helped local and international companies to achieve their marketing and sales goals through various advertisements and campaigns. She actively seeks to understand customer’s digital behaviour and is interested to share what she has learnt with others to help them optimise their digital efforts.