How To Use Facebook Chat Bots to Market Your Business

Facebook ChatBots

You’ve heard about bad bots and the havoc they wreak for website owners, but the Facebook chat bots just launched for its Messenger app are the good kind.

Facebook is opening up its Messenger platform in beta to allow chat bots into the application. These bots will let businesses deliver more services for their customers through the developer and business ecosystem of Facebook. This move is one way for the social media giant to integrate more functionalities into its Messenger platform, while at the same time keeping up with chat competitors that have already deployed their own bots.

Facebook Chat Bots Deliver

As reported by TechCrunch before it even was announced by Facebook at F8, the company had been working with chat bot developers for Messenger as early as January of 2016 or even earlier. The accessibility the bots will provide is going to let your company interact with an AI-powered rep from a business within the ecosystem of the biggest social network in the world.

If Facebook has its way, every business will be using Messenger to automate their customer service instead of 800-numbers and the dated menu system of this technology. A well designed bot can deliver more options than 800-numbers while providing services that are key in today’s digital ecosystem, such as sending links, showing products with images and descriptions along with additional services and features.

With more than 50 million businesses using Messenger for communication, there is already a large user base that will be able to easily integrate the new features to enhance the way they make themselves accessible. The Facebook chat bots can automate weather and traffic updates, customize communications for shipping notifications and receipts, as well as deliver live automated messages by interacting directly with users that want the information.

A new search bar will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and natural language processing combined with human help to let you talk to Messenger bots so you can connect with companies that already have bots. This means 800-numbers could be replaced with chat bots in the near future, as this technology delivers customer service experience that is dictated by the user without having to wait for live agents or going through IVR menu trees.

The bots can also improve the sales process or the way you look for information by answering your criteria for a particular product or service on a website instead of searching for it yourself. So next time you visit a news site, only the news with the criteria you have specified will pop up. These features will be achieved through the Messenger Send / Receive API, which will support sending and receiving text, images and interactive rich bubbles containing multiple calls-to-action (CTA).

The three main features of the bots for Messenger as posted by Facebook are:

  • Send/Receive API – A new capability to send and receive text, images, and rich bubbles with CTAs.
  • Generic Message Templates – These are built by Facebook with structured messages with call to actions, horizontal scroll, URLs, and postbacks, thus eliminating the need to learn a new programming language to interact with your bot.
  • Welcome screen + Null state CTAs – Is designed to feel like an app with the real estate and the tools to customize your experience as a developer. With these tools, users are able to discover featured bots and enter into conversation with your brand, your Messenger greeting, and a call to action to “Get Started”.

Eventually Facebook will monetize these features, and one of the ways it will do so is with “Sponsored Message.” In an interview on TechCrunch, Facebook’s VP of product for Messenger David Marcus told Josh Constine, the company will be judicious in how the ads are delivered to its users. “These will definitely be limited…we’re very paranoid about that and we don’t want bad things to happen to anyone.”

Facebook will send the Sponsored Messages ads to users that have initiated a conversation with a business. Conversely advertisers can purchase “Click To Message” news feed ads when a conversation with their bot has begun. According to the company, the bots can recommend purchases to recoup ad dollars.

What makes the Facebook chat bot a very desirable tool is the reach Messenger has with its 900 million plus users. With an ecosystem that has been optimized for developers and a proven advertising platform, it could prove to be one of the best options for businesses to interact with their customers without the high cost of call center agents.

Bot development tools will eventually dominate the way we communicate in the digital world by removing the complex barriers of programming. Facebook’s foray into this segment with Messenger is just the beginning. So if you want to experience what the future will bring, dive in and see what these bots can do for your small business. And if you develop an innovative way to connect with your customers, please let us know.

Image: Facebook

This article, "How To Use Facebook Chat Bots to Market Your Business" was first published on Small Business Trends

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New and Improved Instagram Allows Longer Videos, More Ads

Instagram Video Carousel Ads

Instagram recently announced that it will soon roll out video carousel ads. This will allow advertisers and business owners to share up to five separate videos with one single purchase. Instagram allows longer videos as each of the videos can be up to a minute long.

Instagram Video Carousel Ads

Carousel, when it was first announced early last year, offered business owners, marketers and advertisers a way to show multiple photos of their products on the same sponsored post. Now, on top of being able to add multiple videos to the same sponsored posts, users can upload videos that are a minute long.  Viewers are able to scroll through the videos by swiping a finger across the phone’s screen.

“Brands are excited about this because it gives marketers better creative flexibility,” James Quarles, global head of business and brand development at Instagram told Advertising Age. “The hardest thing to do is to capture people’s imaginations, and carousel can help advertisers better achieve that with five pieces of content. As we see people watch more video, we think this helps business bring messages to life more.”

Instagram also says that the time people spent watching video increased by more than 40 percent in the last six months. These are many videos considering Instagram has more than 400 million users.

Among the first users are Taco Bell, Airbnb and Macy’s. The ads are being sold on a cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) basis.

“For iOS, we’re also bringing back the ability to make videos out of multiple clips from your camera roll,” the company said in a post. To learn more about multi-clip video on iOS, check out the Instagram Help Center.

The ability to upload longer videos to Instagram gives marketers and advertisers alike the unique opportunity to be more creative in how they market themselves.

Image: Instagram

This article, "New and Improved Instagram Allows Longer Videos, More Ads" was first published on Small Business Trends

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Instagram Has a New Logo – What Do You Think? [Poll]

insta side by side 6

Instagram, the photograph-based social media site, now has a new logo. We wondered: do you think the new Instagram logo is an improvement over the old one?

The old logo (pictured left) was a rather-brownish icon of a camera.  In the new logo, the concept of a camera is still there, but it’s now more stylized.  And the new logo is far more colorful.

Instagram Logo Change Is … Different.

The new logo is a sort of rainbow hued affair, with violet, blue, red, orange and yellow tones along with white.  Luckily, Instagram resisted the temptation to go with plain blue, as so many social sites do.

Instagram, as you may recall, is the fastest growing social media platform. Launched in late 2010, the site was subsequently bought by Facebook for $1 billion.

Today Instagram has 400 million active monthly users. Approximately 80 million photos are shared every single day, according to the Instagram website.

So — back to our question.  What do YOU think of the new Instagram logo?  Take the poll!

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Image: Instagram Remix

This article, "Instagram Has a New Logo – What Do You Think? [Poll]" was first published on Small Business Trends

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