If you run an influencer business, you’re eventually going to run out of time for one-on-one conversations. But the last thing you want is to ignore outreach from the awesome people who value and appreciate what you have to offer.
But, what if someone reaches out with a collaboration opportunity? And what’s your process for answering general questions? There are only so many hours in the day to respond to all of these questions and requests.
One way to manage a potential communication avalanche is to use artificial intelligence (AI). Now, using AI doesn’t mean replacing the humanity of your business — what we’re suggesting is quite the opposite. Instead, work smarter not harder by building conversation flows and streamlining repetitive discussions with a chatbot to create an interactive layer to an otherwise text-based discussion.
Will your audiences like your chatbot?
As an influencer, your humanity and personality are the heart and soul of your business. So it’s understandable if you’re feeling skeptical about whether it makes sense to add an automation layer to your business. The alternative, however, is to hire a team to manage your communication and risk missing important communication.
You may be surprised to learn that everyday people enjoy engaging with chatbots, in fact:
- 90% of consumers rate an “immediate response as important or very important” when they have a customer service question. If you’re selling products as part of your influencer business, a chatbot can help you manage customer service inquiries.
- Even though people want immediate help, they don’t necessarily want to talk to a human. In fact, 62% of people prefer conversing with a bot.
- Messaging apps have more than 5 billion active users, meaning that there’s potential to expand your influencer business’s existing reach.
- According to one estimate, consumer retail spends via chatbots will reach $142 billion by 2024, a huge increase from $2.8 billion in 2019.
Chatbots have the potential to deliver a net-positive impact to your business, on multiple levels, in one, integrated, conversational flow. With this approach, your audiences can access the information they need in less time — you can even think about your chatbot as a knowledge repository.
Example chatbots and their use cases
When setting up a chatbot, it’s helpful to have a vision for what you’re building and answer the question: How can a chatbot best fit into my business?
Spend some time analyzing and tinkering with example bots to gain a deeper understanding of how these chat interfaces manage conversations, direct audiences to information, and support your core business goals. Here are a few reference cases (from outside of the influencer industry) to help you plan your strategy more tangibly:
- DimNiko specializes in advertising for eCommerce brands and has spent more than $10 million on digital ads across its customer base. Last year, they helped a fitness apparel company run a virtual giveaway that pushed 254 in orders, and almost $24,000 in revenue, in just one day. Read more about running a chatbot-run giveaway here.
- Hideaway Handmade is an Australian online retailer that sells signature handcrafted soaps. They use a chatbot, as part of their marketing system, to engage with their audiences and gather product feedback. The company’s goal was to streamline customer support and create a more interactive marketing experience. These efforts led to generating more than $100,000 in sales, 68,000+ subscribers, and a 99.5% click-through rate on one-time notification (OTN) messages over the course of one month.
- A family-owned Mexican restaurant in Spokane, Washington created a chatbot with a holiday tamale promotion intended to target the restaurant’s current subscriber base. The campaign was deployed across SMS and Messenger by Facebook, resulting in the sale of 27 dozen tamales.
- During the pandemic, established wedding photographer Henry Chen pivoted his company by adding several new lines of business including licensable marketing templates, trainings, and other services. A chatbot helped him build a process to follow up with leads, qualify prospects, respond to repetitive questions, and be more productive on mobile. It also helped him build his training and consulting line of business.
If you’re looking for even more inspiration, take a look at these other chatbot case studies to explore a variety of ideas that you can incorporate into your business.
How influencers can get started with chatbots
Even if you don’t have experience building chatbots, there are plenty of tools to help you get up and running. Here’s a brief step-by-step guide to getting started:
Step 1: The first step is to plan your chatbot strategy. What are some business goals you’re looking to achieve? What types of dialogue flows should you replicate that are most valuable to your business?
Step 2: After you decide upon your game plan, architect the scaffolding of your audience experience. To work out your desired user experience, use low-tech tools including spreadsheets, word processing documents, or pen and paper.
There are three steps involved in this process:
- Create a basic knowledge base by rounding up some of the information that you want to include in your chatbot experience.
- Diagram your path to transaction by organizing the information you’ve rounded up into a well-defined flow for your audience (a helpful tool here is a decision tree).
- Write a dialogue script.
Step 3: Once you have an idea mapped out for your chatbot strategy, the next step is to create your opt-in process. There are a number of compliance laws and regulations to protect consumers from unwanted communication and spam, as well as policies specific to your company, such as the 24-hour rule from Facebook, which prohibits companies from contacting people who have not interacted with a business in a 24-hour period (there are three exceptions to this rule). Read up on all of this.
In addition, you’ll need to create an opt-in process that clearly specifies the type of data that you’re collecting. This process involves updating your website privacy policies, creating a landing page, or updating your copy.
Here’s an article to help you create your chatbot opt-in process.
Step 4: With these foundations in place, the next step is to create a dialogue flow. Use ManyChat’s visual dialogue flow interface or write a script using lower-tech solutions.
When it comes to real-world conversations, human beings do not operate like decision trees, so adjust your flows accordingly. In addition to making logical, tactical decisions, our needs as people are multidimensional, so a dialogue flow script should be emotive, engaging, and helpful.
To explore the concepts mentioned above in more depth, follow this guide to setting up your chatbot. ManyChat also has a library of templates for different conversational contexts you can use (browse the template store). Be sure to look at flows from different industries to see what (if any) communication styles are adaptable to your influencer business.
Last but not least
As you build your chatbot strategy, make sure to collect feedback from your audience along the way. After all, you’re an influencer because of the authentic self you put forth on social media.
Ultimately, you are the heartbeat of your business. While a chatbot (i.e., your virtual assistant) can represent your brand, it can never replace what makes you unique. So have fun with it, and incorporate all of the amazing social media content you’ve been creating and sharing.
Deepen your customer conversations by creating a chatbot. Try ManyChat for free, today.