chatbots

During the summit of 2011, Gartner predicted that by 2020, 85% of all customer interactions with a business wouldn't involve humans. The heavy use of chatbots in social media marketing that started in 2016 might turn this prediction true. These programs run by artificial intelligence (AI) offer great opportunities for enhancing customer service and other business aspects. Most importantly, they are available to companies of any size, which gives small businesses an opportunity to compete with established brands.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) says that by 2018 75% of all developers will include some measure of AI solutions to each of their digital products. The time of futuristic technologies and ‘advising robots’ is already here, so every business must start using their benefits as to not be left behind. You can learn how to do this from the examples of leading brands:

Ideas How to Use Chatbots in Social Media Marketing

1. Personalized Shopping: Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger, a renowned fashion brand was the first to use chatbots on Facebook Messenger. By now the company has it down to art as their chatbot can give fashion advice, show off the latest TH fashion shows, or offer a glimpse of ‘behind the scenes.' The customers choose their route by chatting with the responsive and fast-learning AI.

Any business today can build a similar chatbot using free platforms, like Chatfuel. Detailed instructions are provided by the service and their website promises you’ll be able to ‘launch a full-featured chatbot in 7 minutes. This particular platform doesn’t require any understanding of coding if you use only basic features. However, anything more complicated will need professional knowledge. You also need to understand that a Facebook Messenger bot will be dependent on the app’s functionality and updates.

2. Simplifying Buying Procedures: Domino’s

Domino’s Pizza chatbot runs on multiple platforms and allows ordering within seconds. The customer can choose from their menu or make a custom pizza. The AI will guide them through the list of possible options and offer suggestions.

Domino’s innovation was allowing customers to order through Messenger without creating a Domino’s account first. It’s one of the greatest advancements in the use of chatbots in business as it increases convenience. This improves customer experience as well as allows gathering analytics.

FlowXO is a good chatbot building platform to try if you want to benefit from AI analytics on Messenger orders. It allows creating bots that will analyze the data from customer orders and customize replies based on it. Use this information to make changes to your product catalog, marketing strategy, etc.

3. Customer Help: Match.com

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Most businesses use chatbots in social media marketing to provide some variety of customer support. Match.com with its Lara bot helps people find a date. It’s another Facebook Messenger bot but this one is highly complex. It has 50 categories to judge its choices by (interests, imperfections, profession, etc.)

Such complexities will require a sophisticated chatbot. However, if you have a database of information to draw from, you can make a basic version of it using platforms, like Botsify. It allows for easy integration with the website that will provide information for the bot’s AI to use. This chatbot can uphold an informative linear conversation, though it lacks an ‘emotional’ component.

4. Better Use Of Analytics: Statsbot

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Statsbot offers an indirect way to use chatbots in social media marketing. Instead of directly interacting with customers, this bot boosts the business itself, and any company can use it.

The program allows connecting your Google Analytics and Mixpanel accounts and tracking the data they deliver more efficiently. Not only does this bot provide you with a real-time ‘report' of the most relevant business analytics, but it can also alert you to specific changes.

Limitations Of Chatbots In Social Media Marketing

For all their advantages, chatbots are far from perfect. It’s essential that you understand their limitations and disadvantages in order to use this tool efficiently.

The problem is that AI is not yet developed enough to substitute human interaction. This means that if your customers’ questions get outside of its parameters, the program won’t be able to help.

In fact, it can actually harm your customer relationships as poorly-developed bots are annoying. In addition, if a person can’t resolve their issue, you will likely lose them. Some people might even get offended and go as far as posting negative reviews. Thus, one program failure can deal a big blow to your reputation.

To avoid problems like this you’ll need:

  • A top-quality chatbot with the highest degree of automation
  • A backup customer support service

It’s essential to have a ‘plan B’. So, even if you can’t afford to have a call center deal with inquiries that go beyond chatbot’s abilities, you must have some direct contact feature. Be sure to respond to those inquiries as quickly as possible.

You can also reduce the number of these issues by planning your chatbot’s AI very thoroughly. Your goal must be to find out the way regular customer inquiries go and develop a pattern that will respond to them best.

One of the chatbots’ benefits is that they learn and improve on their own. Although, some news tabloids misinterpret this information and breed scandals surrounding the entire field of AI. This recently happened with Facebook as their report on chatbot experimentation was presented as ‘a ban on chatbot AI after the bots developed their own language’.

The truth of the matter is that current chatbots are yet far from Skynet and still do only what they are prescribed to do. Though, some of the programs learn to handle the situation parameters more creatively.

The Future Of Using Chatbots In Social Media Marketing

There can be no doubt that chatbots will continue getting more popular as the technology develops. The AI of today can learn and provide customers with an intelligent and responsive conversation. The risk of the imperfect service because of moody employee will be substituted by the stable high quality customer care. As the amount of time people spend using their smartphones grows, their level of interactions with bots will increase.

This means that incorporating this tool into your social media marketing strategy has become a requirement today. You can do this easily using a variety of chatbot building platforms. Most of them don’t require the knowledge of coding so that any business can create a bot of their own. You can always hire a professional development agency for something more sophisticated.

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* Adapted lead image: Public Domain Dedication (CC0) Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com