Last Updated on October 14, 2020 by Sean B
Messaging Apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, and others are being used by more people each day to communicate. As of July, 2020 about 2 billion users have WhatsApp installed on their phone. Reaching these users means maintaining an active presence on these platforms 24/7.
So what then is chatbot messaging? Well, the easy answer is that chatbot messaging is the use of chatbots to communicate with people through a messaging app or through SMS texting. But the real answer can be a little more complex, depending on your reasons for using chatbots in messaging apps.
Developing Your Chatbot Messaging Plan
Developing your chatbot messaging strategy is like any other important task. Make lists of your goals, your needs, and the basic steps that you’ll need to take to achieve those goals.
A large part of what you’re going to be writing on these lists will have more to do with how the chatbot is going to be used than anything else. A simple FAQ chatbot won’t need the same sort of detail as a conversational marketing and sales chatbot would. In some cases, you may be able to get away with a rules-based or “button bot” where you present your users with a series of possible answers and they simply choose one.
Do your research for each of these steps and you’ll easily learn which App you should be building for and you’ll be ahead of others because you’ll know the steps you need to take when developing your chatbot.
Which App Should You Develop For?
Which Platform or App you want to develop for will largely depend on where your customers or visitors are, and what you need chatbot messaging for. so learning that should be the first step in developing any plan for using chatbot messaging. The best option is to deploy your chatbot on all the apps your audience uses.
If you don’t have this information available, try asking your audience. If that doesn’t provide enough data, then your best option is to use the most recent market research you can find to select your target apps.
Defining Your Chatbot Messaging Goals and Needs
First, your goals and your needs are more than likely not going to match up perfectly, so sorting these lists by the most important will help you figure things out a lot faster. Your needs should be the low end of what you build for, and if you’re building to meet your goals list, then you’re likely wasting both time and money.
For example, your goal might be to live in a palace, but you probably only need enough space to keep your family happy and be able to store all your stuff. Do you really need 20 acres, or would just be nice to have? In chatbot terms of course, you’ll need to list all the reasons you need a chatbot on one list and what you would like it to accomplish for you or your website on another.
This might seem like a pointless task, but defining your requirements, even in this simple way, can help you with the planning.
You wouldn’t start building a house without blueprints, and before you can start drawing up your blueprints it’s a good idea to know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’d like to have in there.
The descriptions of the Messaging Apps below are going to be brief because most of you will be familiar with them already, I’ll be mentioning the global audience and some reasons to include them in your development plans where needed. It’s a good idea to try and include the top two or three messaging apps that your audience uses if you have the budget. If that’s not possible, then pick the top app and build for it first. If you see the benefits you were hoping to see, work down your list as your budget allows.
The end goal here should be to find a single chatbot platform where you can build once and deploy everywhere, but the world doesn’t work like that quite yet. But you can find a tool that will let you build a single chatbot that works across several of the major messaging apps.
Using a platform like MobileMonkey means you can develop a chatbot for your website and use it for Facebook Messenger and Text Messaging as well. Currently MobileMonkey lists WhatsApp as “Coming Soon,” when that happens, it will make MobileMonkey a great cross-platform option to reach most of your audience.
This is just my opinion, but I feel that everyone developing a chatbot messaging strategy should include Texting as part of their strategy. Texting is an easy way to communicate with your audience, and the right chatbot can help with several different tasks.
Texting is something that almost anyone with a cellphone and a basic plan can use to communicate with you. Leaving this out of your plan risks losing those in already marginalized communities as customers and creating a chatbot for SMS text messaging is comparatively simple.
Building this chatbot as a first step can also help you develop the scripts for any other messaging apps you are going to build for.
Must Have Messaging Apps
Before we get into this, I want to drop another reminder about making sure that SMS Texting is part of your chatbot messaging plan.
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app out there currently, with more than 2 billion active users. This is the largest Messaging App on the planet and is on the “must have” list for most of you developing a chatbot for messaging for that reason alone. If your audience includes anyone under 30, then you’ll need to consider this App as part of your plan.
With more than 1.3 billion active users, Messenger is the second largest Messaging App, and it’s connection to both Facebook and Instagram make it the other must have on my list.
Other Messaging Apps to Strongly Consider
Skype has 300 million active users per month, and while it may not have increased it’s relevance during the Pandemic like Zoom did, it is still the largest Video Conferencing Network out there, so it is a must consider.
Zoom has close to 200 million active monthly active users, but it’s relevance during the Pandemic makes it an App to consider for.
Microsoft’s Teams has more than 75 million monthly active users, but if your focus is business oriented, then this may be an App to consider developing for.
Snapchat has 238 million daily active users, so those numbers alone make it one to consider. If your audience is younger, then this is probably a must have.
There were 260 active monthly users on Viber in 2019, getting accurate recent numbers are difficult because they are all over the place. But the numbers are large enough that I’m including the App on the list.
Telegram reports 400 million active users as of April 2020. Because this is self-reported, I trust it a little less than some of the other numbers, but it’s still large enough to be on the list.
Other Messaging Apps to Consider
These are messaging apps that finished further down the list, or in the case of WeChat and QQ are widely used in non-English speaking countries.
Line is a Japanese Messaging App with 84 million active users, and if you have a large number of Japanese users it is one to consider.
Kik has 15 million active monthly users and 300 total users. The audience is large enough to put it on the “to consider” list.
WeChat has 1.1 billion users in China, which is nearly as many as FB Messenger. If you work globally, or have a large audience in China, this is an App to develop for.
Owned by Tencent, QQ has 850 million active monthly users in China and may fit your needs if your audience includes a large group of users in China.
Goals and Needs – Things to Consider
There are a number of things about your chatbot that you need to keep in mind as you develop the Goals and Needs lists for your chatbot.
What Are You Hoping the Chatbot Will Do for You?
What do you want the chatbot to accomplish? Think about your goals for the chatbot here. For example, are you trying to get your users to spend more money or more time on your site?
One key goal for any chatbot is to increase user engagement. This should automatically increase the time they spend on your site, but if you handle it right, the increase should be dramatic. Build a chatbot with the same personality of your site. Make sure your brand is consistent from the look of the chatbot down through every response. If your brand is goofy, then have some goofy answers. If you have attitude in your content, then some of the responses should have that same attitude. Your users will expect it.
What Will the Chatbot Be Used for?
This is where you need to ask yourself some questions about your Needs for the chatbot.
Will you be using the chatbot for Sales and Marketing? Will the chatbot be used for directing users to different areas of your site? What about integrating your FAQ into the chatbot?
Remember to include your minimum requirements (needs) and your greatest hopes for the chatbot (wants). Once you have these Needs written down, you’re ready for the development phase, and you can get started.
So what is chatbot messaging? Well, as I mentioned above, Chatbot Messaging isn’t simply the use of a chatbot in a Messaging App or as part of Text Messaging. It’s actually the integration of that as part of your entire chatbot plan. Since you can use a system like MobileMonkey to create a single chatbot for your website and several Messaging Apps, it makes sense to do so.
As chatbots become more necessary for marketing, we’ll see chatbot messaging grow too.
Please leave a comment below to tell me what you thought of article.