What exactly is a Facebook Messenger Bot? At its most basic level, chat bots provide a means for businesses to automate most low-level customer support functions. Rather than waiting on hold for an agent to speak with an authorized representative, clients can chat with a bot to perform simple pre-purchase inquiries, or to perform the more detailed parts of an RMA return request. In some ways, the bot is an offshoot of Facebook's own social networking capabilities, which allow users to connect and interact directly with one another through their own personal Facebook pages. Today, Facebook Messenger Bot is beginning to permeate all facets of e-business operations, and may very well spell the beginning of a new era in online marketing and sales.
Before jumping into the hype, it is important to first understand what a Facebook Messenger Bot actually is. This product is simply one of the applications that Facebook developers have created to leverage the multiple social media outlets provided by the site. Instead of being limited to pre-built pages, a Messenger Bot allows users to engage in conversation on any Facebook topic, from anywhere they have an internet connection. When the bot is connected to a business Facebook account, the ability to connect a user with any Facebook topic becomes truly invaluable, especially for businesses whose target audiences are local, niche demographics.
Bot owners and administrators can allow Facebook Messenger Bots to be integrated directly into the Facebook advertising platform. Businesses can therefore use a Facebook wall page to display ads, as well as to search for photos, videos, and product catalogs. Once a consumer or potential customer searches for the item being displayed on the wall page, the bot will connect them to the company website, where the interested party can make an inquiry or purchase the item.
Facebook Messenger Bot has two primary functions. The first function is to provide a means to connect Facebook to chat platforms such as Yahoo! 360 and AIM. The second function is to provide a means for advertisers to track conversations. While manychat provides an easy interface for advertisers to place ads on the right side of a user's chat window, there are still limitations to how much information these ads can provide.
Manychat is currently only available for Facebook users who have an account on the site, and it is unclear when Facebook will open the program to other minor platforms. Facebook has chosen not to take the popular Skype service and seems to be excluding chat Bots from its plans for providing a social environment on Facebook. Manychat is also limited to providing one-on-one voice calls, which limits the types of activities that businesses can participate in. Manychat was developed by a team of researchers led by Ziv Kaplan, a former Facebook employee, and it does not look like it will gain wider appeal beyond Facebook users.
Facebook Messenger Bot and many of the similar Facebook applications, including the News Feed and fan page modules, are designed to provide a fast and efficient way for Facebook users to use Facebook. Many of these modules also provide a means for businesses to increase their revenue by allowing them to advertise to users who have already expressed an interest in their product or service. Bots are programmed to automatically send out pre-determined messages based on a set of pre-defined triggers, such as the user's email address, contact list, or the current time of day. Bot developers can write these pre-determined messages in any language that Facebook supports, although some are designed to be generic enough to be sent across all communication channels. Facebook users who prefer not to see advertisements can simply ignore the message button or click the link in the message field to go to the Bot store where they can select what they want to buy.
Bot developers have access to several factors that influence the results of their applications, including age, gender, and location. Facebook has used factors such as location and age for its own advertisements and has offered advertisers a third-party tool to analyze which regions and demographics are performing best. There are currently many Facebook applications in beta, and the most popular ones, such as Inbox, are getting much attention because of their simplicity and the potential to deliver powerful results. Since many bot developers are working with small databases of contacts, the ability to get started and begin to build a large database of contacts is not an issue for most users.
The Facebook Bot application, along with many other Facebook chatfuel dashboards, is available for download from Facebook's official site. There is also an online demo you can try. If you use the bot for any commercial purposes, it is important to thoroughly test the bot, make sure it is doing what it was designed to do, and make sure your business does not end up in a legal gray area. In short, if you are planning to start a Facebook chat for your business, a Facebook Messenger Bot is a great way to go, even if it doesn't work out as well as you expected.