Blog Post By: Airi Hosaka, Marketing Intern
Earlier this month, Facebook announced that businesses will now be able to build automated chat bots/automated response tools within its Messenger app.
“What are bots?” you ask.
Well, let’s say you reach out to a business’ page on Facebook asking a question through the Messenger dialogue box. If an instant message pops up responding to your inquiry (a message being sent quicker than human hands can type), you are likely corresponding with a bot. Bots are designed to interact with Fans like a business’ customer service agent would.
At Facebook’s F8 Developers Conference, Mark Zuckerberg explained that Facebook will be releasing tools allowing developers to create bots capable of carrying out a wide variety of tasks, including handling customer service queries, helping plan travel itineraries, or providing the weather forecast.
Additionally, Facebook Messenger’s bots can communicate with more than just text. Bots can provide responses including call-to-action buttons, images, and links. This will allow Fans to make restaurant reservations, review an online purchase, or view their boarding pass, all within the message thread. The bots will also be continuously learning from their interactions and improving their responses.
So, what does this new tool mean for businesses using Facebook?
Messenger bots will allow Facebook users to reach out and interact with businesses in an entirely new way.
For the last several years, the goal of most brands using Facebook was to stand out in a customer’s or potential customer’s news feed. However, in the near future, it’s very possible news feeds will no longer be the first place users go to interact through Facebook. If messaging tools begin to dominate social media use, a host of new opportunities will be available to businesses. And with more than 900,000,000 people using Facebook Messenger on a monthly basis, we are already seeing that shift in “public” to “private” social media behavior.
Facebook is trying to make this transition as easy as possible for businesses. The company is providing businesses with full access to documentation around building their own bots, which can then be submitted to Facebook for review to ensure a bot aligns with Facebook’s standards. Additionally, if you don’t have the time or expertise to build a bot, Facebook provides a list of bot-building partners.
Facebook is also launching a trial allowing businesses to send sponsored messages to existing customers to re-engage with them. If the new bots prove to be successful, industries including retail and travel may find themselves increasingly dependent on the messaging app.
Do you have questions about interacting with customers through Facebook Messenger? Give the social media team at Baer Performance Marketing a call today: 920-632-7648
https://blog.bufferapp.com/f8-facebook-features, www.cmswire.com/digital-marketing/facebook-messenger-meet-your-new-bots/, https://medium.com/chris-messina/2016-will-be-the-year-of-conversational-commerce-1586e85e3991#.4gfo9hhxz, http://marketingland.com/dear-mark-i-sent-you-flowers-using-messenger-172828, www.ft.com/cms/s/0/58bf0690-014a-11e6-99cb-83242733f755.html#axzz46bcnIOwi, www.socialmediatoday.com/social-networks/facebook-f8-facebook-announces-bots-messenger-platform