We’re a little more than a month away from Conversations 2019, and our agenda is packed! We’ve finalized Ezra Firestone, Mari Smith, and Neil Patel. We’re covering literally every single part of the ecosystem, from multi-channel marketing to how to bring business and marketing together.
This Conversations Conference isn’t just going to teach you how to create bots. It’s going to teach you how to create multimillion-dollar businesses that are going to last for years with the knowledge of leading industry experts.
This week on our Meet the Speakers series, Molly Mahoney, a certifiable Facebook Live and Messenger Marketing ninja and founder of The Prepared Performer, sat down with Kelly Noble Mirabella, social media geek and founder of Stellar Media Marketing and Baby Got Bot, to discuss tips on bot personality and how to build a successful Messenger bot.
Wanting more tips and advice to grow your business? Come to Conversations 2019!
How did you get started?
Kelly Mirabella: I have a degree in marketing, and I used to work for a home builder. This was, gosh, almost 13 years ago. And my first job out of college was selling homes for a living, but then the market crashed and I ended up going back to my roots in marketing where I worked in the marketing department for the small builder.
But when the salespeople got sick or on vacation, because of my background, they’d send me out to the sales office — it was dead slow because the market had crashed. Anyone who knows real estate knows that this was a rough time, 2008 and 2009. And I got bored.
And because I am a millennial — I’m a very early millennial; I’m on the cusp — I knew all about Facebook, and Facebook Pages had just come out. And I thought, “You know what? I’m going to take some pictures, and I’m going to put them on a Facebook page, and I’m going to give them a YouTube channel.”
And we were literally nobody. When I say nobody was doing social for business, I mean Dell, who was the only one. They were the first large company whoever did social media.
So I started way, way back, and social media became kind of a thing — it worked. And the company started selling homes because of all of the action they were getting on social media. We sold homes to members of the military in other countries because they were able to view and do video tours.
After seeing the success of selling on social media, I started a little side hustle. My employer wasn’t paying me enough, so I started doing social on the side. And then, in 2010, I started Stellar Media Marketing. I’ve been doing it a while.
When Did You Start Live Video?
KM: I was two weeks late to the Periscope launch. If anyone is familiar with the amazing Joanne Pham who is the woman who created the Peri Girls — I was the second Peri Girl. I helped her to create the group.
So, I was dominant on Periscope for a long time. I was also dominant on Meerkat, which I personally thought was better, but that’s just me, yo. The community on Meerkat was amazing. And then as soon as Facebook Live came around, because of my roots in Facebook I was like, “Oh, no. Boom. This is going to be me.” This was back in 2016.
So, I was one of the first people. I thought, “Oh, I see this as a thing.” And I released my first course, which I made like $10 grand on in 2016. It was amazing because I didn’t spend any money. And I did a Facebook Live. The course was called Facebook Live Pro, which I released — I think — in October 2016. I’ve always been a huge fan of Live broadcast. Still, to this day I use it heavily in my Facebook group, Baby Got Bot.
How did you first start using Messenger bots?
KM: It’s one of those things where you remember exactly what you were doing, and exactly where you were. I was sitting on my couch playing on my keyboard on Facebook — because I’m a Facebook gal; that’s my jam. And I remember going through the feed, the timeline, the news feed, and there was an ad for a competitor. I don’t even know if ManyChat was around yet, to be honest. I wouldn’t call them a competitor anymore, but back then it was a different company, and the ad said, “We have this new tool and it’s amazing. It’s going to revolutionize Facebook marketing. And if you comment, we will immediately send you a Facebook message.” And I was like, “What? That’s not possible. Whatevs.” And I did it to test to see if this was legit, and it worked.
At the time they were selling this product for I think $400 for lifetime access, and I thought, “Oh, this is worth it.” I’ve been doing this long enough, I can see when things are going to be big, and I knew that this was going to be big. And so I went and I bought it and I used it several times. I didn’t even start using ManyChat until probably after you and I talked. So you were using ManyChat before me, and it was after that conference, Social Media Marketing World.
Every time I go to a conference I make mad money. Seriously, it always pays me back because I’m really strategic, but I also make sure that I connect. The connection and what you learn with the people sitting next to you is sometimes more powerful than anything you’ll learn on stage, to be honest.
Then, I started using ManyChat. I’m like the quintessential “squirrel” distracted person. I’m always like, “Squirrel, squirrel.” So there was a lot of squirrels between me talking to you and getting to ManyChat, but once I did, I sat down. It was probably the end of 2017 when I kind of got everything else, all my client stuff, to the wayside. Mama needed to focus on her business. And I thought, “All right, I’m going to do it now because I’ve been using this other tool but it’s not doing everything I think it can do.”
And I became addicted to ManyChat. To anyone who has ever used ManyChat for the first time: You do, you become addicted because your mind explodes with the possibilities that are available to you and how, for me at least, it was so intuitive and so easy. And this was before visual builder was released (which by the way, was life changing for me). And yeah, it became this thing where I became addicted and I just started … to figure out everything I could about ManyChat. I wanted to learn everything, which is probably why I have such a depth of knowledge because I tried everything.
And then you changed your flow?
KM: Yes! I changed everything. It actually makes everything easier. I don’t have to go out and create a keyword. I can do it all right there. It’s amazing. I love it.
How are you keeping up with all the changes?
KM: One of the things that the marketing team at ManyChat and I had discussed when I started building my bot out is that we wanted it to be a lot shorter. The original one is 13 hours of totally awesome content, but a lot of it is, as is typical with digital courses, out of date, so it was really hard to keep up with because it was very long. And so what we wanted to do is create something a lot shorter so that it’s easier for people to go through and get the basics and a foundation, and also it’s easier to update if the videos are shorter. And if anyone who has ever watched a Baby Got Bot video on YouTube, you know I try to keep them really short and concise. So that’s one of the things we wanted to do.
The idea is we are going to take a fitness coach and take her from having never created a chatbot before all the way through the process of how she created a full on Messenger bot with menus.
I’m like the agency person who builds it for her. But we do walk through and let people know this is how you can think about applying it to yours. The idea is we walk you from beginning to end in about three hours or less. Actually, I don’t even think it’s three hours. I think maybe it’s an hour and a half. But we walk you all the way from the very first steps of what you need to do, all the foundational stuff to growth tools and flows, to delivering lead magnets and running ads and doing broadcasts — the whole nine.
And that part is done. It was done earlier, but we had to completely redo it because they discontinued Bot Map, which they just announced recently, and we had to completely reshoot everything. And now we’re just doing final edits on those videos. Then we’ll also have a library of what we call blueprints, by the way, and that’s going to be how do you set up a Facebook live, how you do a webinar sign up flow, and that sort of thing.
What are you going to be discussing at Conversations 2019?
KM: Because I’m a social media gal outside of just doing bots, I do social media management. I follow a lot of different pages and blogs, and there’s a lot of surveys going out with, “Hey, how do you feel about Messenger bots?” A lot of people are saying they’re annoying, but I’m like, “Whoa, we’ve got to fight these friends. ” Number one, there are a lot of misconceptions out there, but I think one of the biggest issues is that people that are building are just coming into it and maybe not applying best practices and breaking some rules or bending some rules, whether they’re doing it on purpose or maybe they just don’t know.
My talk is this idea of taking subscribers and turning them into fans so that you are not only just sending out this information or helping them get what they need, but they’re excited about it and they will never, ever say [they find you annoying]… If someone says, “Hey, do you find them annoying?” They’re out there going, “Well, you should see Molly’s. Hers is awesome.” That’s really what we want. And it’s important to me because it’s a message I want to make sure that we can spread that Messenger bots are incredibly useful if they’re not made to be annoying or spammy.
And with the deadline for Messenger subscription messaging changes, people are saying, “Wait, what? What’s this?” Or, “I heard that ManyChat’s going to be charging us now.” So, I’m going to go over all of that and clear the air.
What’s the first step when creating a bot that people actually want to hear from?
KM: I think one of the most important things that all marketers should be thinking about it when it comes to building your Messenger bot is setting expectations. And this actually goes outside of just Messenger bots. This goes for your email when people sign up to receive them. When we set the right expectations and then we deliver on those, people never get mad because they know what to expect.
For instance, in my own business, I tell people I don’t take calls. You have to schedule a call with me. This includes my clients. And I’ve had maybe one person in 10 years say, “Oh, that’s not going to work for me.” But that’s okay. You can’t be mad if you know what’s coming, so setting expectations is by far the most important. Because you know what happens? If you don’t set expectations, people feel tricked, and that’s where you enter spammy territory.
Honestly, this goes for email and Messenger marketing. It doesn’t matter what the rules are. It doesn’t matter what the law says. What matters is what the end-user thinks. If the end-user thinks you’re spamming them and they block you, sweetie, your page is going to get shut down soon. So you avoid that by setting expectations and delivering.
Can you give us some clues as to how you could set those expectations?
KM: There are quite a few ways — and a lot of it depends on how people are coming into your bot — but your welcome message is probably the single most important place to do this. This is a great opportunity for you to introduce your Messenger bot as a Messenger bot assistant or a bot assistant or whatever.
Let people know how they can unsubscribe, and make it clear how often someone might receive a specific type of message. If you do plan on doing sequences or that sort of thing, just lay it out and give people options. Listen, when I send out a message, you will get an option for everything. You’ll get two positives and, what I consider, a negative. So a yes, a yes, and a no. And I always allow people to say no. Let’s say I do an event reminder (which, by the way, I do properly). People will get, “Hey, we’re Live,” or “We’re at the event. You’re coming, right?” And then so I’ll say, “Heck yeah” or “I’m ready,” “Watch live,” or “Not right now.” I’m going to give them a “no” option because you always want to give people another option.
Otherwise, you’re not being conversational. You’re just broadcasting, which is not what Messenger marketing is all about. But also it increases the chance that you’re going to get an interaction, and you allow that person to have a choice in the matter because you’re setting the right expectations. People change their mind, they get busy. And if you don’t give them those options, then they’d maybe forget why they’re in the loop here, or they get angry because they feel like they’re stuck because you’re not giving them a way out.
Can you give us an example?
KM: I’ll give you one other example that I find a lot of people are having issues with the conversion of ads. So ads are not converting. Messenger ads are not converting to the level that people think they should. And I find a lot of times it’s your ad copy that’s not clear. I mean think about your Messenger inbox. Email is not so much this way as a private place anymore because we get spam so much. But your Messenger inbox is where you chat with your family. It’s where you chat with your friends.
So if you’re not clearly and explicitly expecting your Messenger to pop up with that ad that you just clicked on, you’re going to be surprised. Unless you’re a marketer like us, all the marketers in the house think, “Oh that’s super cool.” Yeah, because we’re marketers. But a regular Joe is going to think, ”Whoa, what? What’s this? Why are you coming into my box, yo?” And that’s because you need to be super, I mean ridiculously, KISS method. That’s the Keep it Simple, Stupid method, for those of you who are going through that process early on. (I think they changed it to Keep it Simple, Silly.)
How do you make your bot personality fun?
KM: I think that if you’re a personal brand, let your personal voice come out. The best compliment I ever got from someone was, “I knew I was in a Messenger bot, but I felt like I was talking to you.” And that’s really what I want to come across, because I’m setting expectations so they know it’s a Messenger Bot, but they still hear my quirky personality.
I use GIFs, I use emojis. It’s the language I use. I mean, when you meet me in real life, I’m pretty much this person. Except for when I’m exhausted from being this person. But if you aren’t a personal brand, maybe you’re a company, or maybe you’re just not a super exciting, crazy person like me and Molly. Then I think another option is to create what I call a mascot. So you would actually create a brand mascot persona. And before you even start writing copy, I would really recommend that you build a character out and think about, visually, what would this character look like? How do they speak? How do they talk? Are they clever? Are they fun? Are they an animal? I had a Mika bot for a long time. I’ve actually transitioned away from Mika bot and gone more into a personal brand.
But Mika bot is my well-known Messenger bot assistant, and Mika bot would do things. And Mika’s still around when I’m busy, I’ll go drag Kelly from whatever child is attached to her leg, and I’ll go fetch her. So if it’s a dog, you’re going to fetch. You’re going to do things like that. My dog was very energetic and fun — you can make little dog animal jokes. Just have fun with it. But before you even write your copy, create this brand asset, if you will, this mascot, and really build it out so that when you build your copy, you could go through your list of what that mascot would do and say, and think to yourself, is this flow? Is this copy reflective of that? And that’s how you can kind of change it up.
And you guys, you don’t have to always be fun and outgoing. I know that Shelly asked, “What if you’re not outgoing and stuff?” But you don’t have to be. Seriously, what best represents your brand? The key here is that you always have to remember that Messenger marketing is conversational marketing. So it has to at least feel like we are having a back and forth, but sometimes the simplest bots and the best bots are just, “Hey, I just need to get you the information you need, and you don’t have to do a job to do that.”
Anyway, we’ll go over all this, and even more, at Conversations 2019!
About Our Facebook Live Meet the SpeakersSeries
Each week Molly Mahoney hosts a LIVE interview with one of our Conversations 2019 speakers to give you the opportunity to meet them and learn their secrets to successful Messenger marketing. It’s a way to ask questions that you might not be able to ask at the conference and discover more about what will be discussed at Conversations 2019.
Here are the details.
When: Thursday, 9 am PDT.
- Go to our Facebook page: ManyChat.
- Click on the Live announcement.
- Watch, learn and ask questions.
And, if you haven’t registered for Conversations 2019, do so before prices go up! Reserve your spot.
We’ll see you LIVE! #Conversations2019
Learn more about our other Conversations 2019 Speakers: