Your Top Facebook Chatbot Questions Answered
I thought I would save you some time.
It is no surprise that most chatbot enquiries we receive relate to Facebook Messenger. After all, it is part of the world's largest social media network.
After countless calls from excited companies of all sizes and sectors, I noticed the same questions keep coming up.
So, allow me to save you time by answering the top 5 questions we are asked about building a Facebook chatbot (by the way, we create bots across 29 channels, of which Facebook Messenger is just one).
Important: I am publishing this article on March 24, 2017. Should you read this in the future (I hope people are), things may have changed. If I spot changes, I will come back and edit the answers below. However, these answers may not be correct when you read them.
Is your question not in there? Get in touch!
'Is Facebook free to use for my chatbot?'
At the moment, it is entirely free to use Facebook and Facebook Messenger as a platform for your chatbot.
However, this does not mean developing a Facebook Messenger chatbot is free. It just means 'hosting' it on their platform is free.
As far as I know, most messaging applications that have an open API offer it for free. When you think about it, it just makes sense. They want us to use their platform!
'Is Facebook the best platform for my chatbot?'
I love this question when it comes up during a meeting. It gives me the opportunity to dig deeper into the company I am talking with, to learn what they expect from their chatbot and who their audience is.
There is no right platform for a chatbot. All I usually point out is the sheer size of Facebook Messenger: over 1 Billion users.
It means whatever business you run right (sector, goals, location, etc.), at least some of your audience is on Facebook Messenger. It is never a bad bet.
Having said that, the best platform for your chatbot is whichever platform your audience uses the most. If you are in Asia, this might be WeChat. If you are in Brazil, this might be WhatsApp.
To answer this question, think about your customer persona and where they hang out. A benefit of chatbots is that you can be where your users are and don't have to force them to come to you.
'Can a Facebook chatbot do [....]?'
I am throwing this one in here because it always sparks an interesting conversation.
As our friendly CTO would say, 'Everything is possible, it is just a question of time and money'. He is not wrong.
Facebook Messenger has one of the most open and developed APIs available right now. It means Facebook chatbots can be pretty advanced and do lots of cool stuff - your funky chatbot idea will most likely be possible!
Unless you are asking us to build a chatbot to scratch that itch you struggle to reach on your back, we should be good to go.
'How do I attract users to my chatbot?'
Making your chatbot discoverable is paramount, for obvious reasons.
Facebook have recently released a Facebook Messenger update allowing users to discover chatbots.
Right now, there is no public way of knowing how chatbots are picked to appear on that list or how they are ranked. Probably not the answer you were hoping?
The best way to attract users to your chatbot is to shout about it. Use the channels you already use every day (Twitter, email, print, etc.) and invite your audience to use your chatbot.
Need more details? Read tips number 8, 18, 19, 20, and 22 of my Facebook for business guide!
'What is the biggest danger of having a chatbot built on Facebook?'
I love when clients ask this question because it shows how serious they are about their project, and it helps us show why we are the best chatbot building company.
In all honesty, I believe the biggest risk of having a chatbot built on Facebook Messenger, right now, lies in platform updates.
Facebook are doing a tremendous job at updating their platform, both for developers and users. They are trying hard to help both sides be successful at building and consuming chatbots.
The downside? Sometimes things change, break, and need to be rebuilt.
Thankfully, as a leading chatbot building company, we are constantly on top of it. We have gone through many changes and rebuilds for many clients because Facebook decided to change some piece of functionality.
The best part? These changes are great news! They mean the industry is evolving, and the chatbot trend is only just getting started.
'How do I add a chatbot to my Facebook page?'
Adding a chatbot to your Facebook page is a relatively easy process. The precise 'how' will slightly depends on the chatbot developer or platform you end up using.
The most common way will be for the admin of a Facebook page to grant access of their page to the platform that powers the chatbot.
As an example, all the chatbots ubisend develops are powered by our own platform. When we develop a Facebook Messenger chatbot, at some point we require the owner of the page to log into our platform and grant us access. We've built a one-click integration that makes it really easy.
Do you have any questions?
I hope this post answered some of your questions. If I've missed anything, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter -- I'll be delighted to answer!
If all the above has whet your appetite, now's a great time to get involved!