How to Build a Simple Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat

Getting started with Facebook Messenger bots? Build your first bot and start growing relationships with your target audience today using ManyChat.

2016 was the year of the Chatbot emergence… the year that marketers flocked over this new technology.

Almost every tech blog and podcast published headlines about chatbots being the future of business to consumer communication and, they weren’t wrong.

At Facebook’s F8 conference in April 2017, Facebook’s Head of Messenger David Marcus announced that 100,000 bots had already launched on the platform. That stat was up from just 33,000 from the previous September.

Marcus also announced that the platform had doubled messages between business’ and people to two billion messages a month.

Chatbots have become more than a buzzword, more than the latest “marketing news”.

As a marketer or business owner, chatbots are something that you can no longer ignore. They’re the future of human communication because they’re frictionless and instantaneous.

Imagine a world where you bypass shopping in browser.

For example, ordering groceries online from Whole Foods:

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat: Whole Foods shop online options

Instead, you’ll message Whole Foods on Facebook and ask them questions like…

“what kind of tomatoes do you have?”

They’ll return a list of options with prices and you’ll say…

“ok, add cherry tomatoes to my cart, please!”

The entire shopping process will be facilitated through Facebook messenger, from discovery, to research, to checkout and shipping information.

This will not only be easier for consumers, as they won’t have to navigate a clunky website, but also businesses as they’ll see an increase in commerce because of the ease of use. The chatbot will mirror the type of experience you’d have if you actually went into the store.

But, for now, let’s keep it simple.

In this post, we’re going to show you how to build a simple chatbot for your Facebook page that will greet users and facilitate conversation that should help grow your business, too.

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat: Determine the Theme and Purpose of your Chatbot

Like with any project, we want to keep the end in mind.

  • What is the purpose of your chatbot?
  • What do people usually ask when they message your Facebook page?
  • Is there an opportunity to use your bot to better educate your market and sell your products?

You first have to decide the purpose of your bot. This should be based off of who you serve and what you sell.

For example, Poncho is a weather app, so naturally their bot is going to gather user information so that it can message you daily about the weather in your area:

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat: Poncho weather app Facebook Messenger bot

WebMD is a health services company, their bot is going to help educate users when they’re sick:

WebMd Facebook Messenger bot

Tommy Hilfiger is a clothing brand. They’re using their bot to raise awareness for new collections and send traffic to their clothing lines while also fielding customer service issues:

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat: Tommy Hilfiger Facebook Messenger bot

Beyond purpose, voice is also very important. Your chatbot is an extension of your brand and should have a personality and “voice”, almost as though you’re talking to real person.

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat:

Build Your Welcome Message

The first step in building your Facebook Messenger bot in ManyChat is to create your welcome message.

Your welcome message is the first thing that people who interact with you on Facebook messenger will see.

You can edit your welcome message under the “Automation” tab in the left hand menu inside of ManyChat:

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat: ManyChat Welcome Message setup

The opportunities are endless for your welcome message. ManyChat has the ability to add buttons, as you can see above, lists, images, videos, audio, and much more:

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat: ManyChat Welcome Message setup

The key to your welcome message is to give users options.

The folks at DigitalMarketer use their welcome message to greet users, set the expectation that they’ll get back to people as soon as possible, while also directing traffic to their blog and podcast for people who are interested in learning more.

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat: DigitalMarketer Facebook Messenger Welcome Message

Your welcome message should act as a greeting for new users, but also as a menu for what to do next. This goes back to the purpose of your bot… if you’re a recipe site, include a button to your recipe directory. If you sell insurance, ask people if they would like a quote.

Here’s a step by step video on how to build your welcome message.

Notice that above, DigitalMarketer ended the welcome message with “Looking for our free report to End the War Between Sales & Marketing? Type “guide” here in our chat and we’ll get you a copy!”

They’re leveraging the keyword feature to trigger messages when prospects type certain keywords.

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat:

Using Keywords to Automate Your Bot Replies

The keywords feature inside of ManyChat allows you to automate responses based off of certain keywords that users type.

Remember the WebMD example from earlier?

When I typed “headache” the bot knew to return information about how to treat a headache.

When a user types “guide” into DigitalMarketer’s bot, they deliver a PDF version of the guide within messenger.

The possibilities are endless with keywords, and this is where building your bot gets fun. You’ll find the keywords button on the left hand side in ManyChat:

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat: ManyChat Keywords setup

Click “new rule” in the top right hand corner and then type in the keyword. From here, you have a ton of options:

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat: Facebook Messneger bot ManyChat Keywords: Facebook Messenger ManyChat Keywords setup

You can…

  • create a new reply
  • add a tag
  • remove a tag
  • trigger a zap
  • subscriber the user to a new sequence of messages
  • unsubscribe from a sequence
  • open a conversation
  • notify an admin
  • set subscriber custom field
  • clear subscriber customer field
  • subscribe them to the bot
  • unsubscribe them from the bot

…and much, much more.

For example, when someone types “guide” into DigitalMarketer’s bot… it triggers a new reply that delivers the PDF:

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot with ManyChat: Facebook Messneger bot ManyChat Keywords

Here’s a step by step video on how to use keywords in ManyChat.

These replies are easy to customize, just like the welcome message.. and this is where the complexity of the bot comes into play…. you can set up as many as you’d like, or none at all.

That’s what’s interesting about bots…

They can be as simple or as intricate as you want. You could build out hundreds of keywords and sequences that follow up with prospects OR you could just stick to having a welcome message. It depends on the purpose of your bot and the time that you want to spend developing it.

ManyChat is committed to helping as many businesses build bots as humanly (or bot-ly :)) possible. We are continuing to roll out new features to make it easier for you to build the bot of your dreams… the bot that serves your customers and also helps grow your business.

Consumers are expecting to interact with chatbots more and more everyday.

Go build your welcome message, and keywords if your heart desires. Not having a chatbot is like not answering the phone when a prospect calls your business.

It’s time for you to get started, and we’re here to help. Get started building your Facebook Messenger bot using ManyChat today. 

RELATED: [Zapier + ManyChat] 4 Ways to Integrate ManyChay into Your Business

Dan Gamito is ManyChat’s Business Development & Partnership Manager. He hails from Portland, Oregon, and loves eating pork belly and drinking beer! Dan has a passion for developing products and tools which help companies grow their relationships with their customers.