Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

[CUSTOMER SERVICE] How to add a useful Facebook Messenger bot to your website

You might care about this article if you are:

a social media marketer
in customer service
a digital marketing leader
a communications officials
a website manager

Facebook Messenger Chat bots have been in the news and bots in general get a bit of a bad rep in social media.Things I hear:

  • “We want to talk to real people!”
  • “Social media is a two-way street.”
  • Etc.

And those are true statements, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make some communications simpler and automate it. Automation – even useful automation for the user and the organization – tend to get bad reps. But there are useful ways of implementation and I saw an opportunity with Facebook Messenger. (Personal side note: I fought downloading Messenger for a long time because I didn’t have enough storage on my phone at the time, but people kept messaging me through the platform.)

Related: Auto direct messages on Twitter are NOT always bad! Here’s my analysis!

So, here’s how I integrated Facebook Messenger and its bot functions into my website:

First of all, I added it as an option on my Contact Me page:

Facebook Messenger Integration on Contact Us Page

Then I added a Messenger popup on the site, using the Icegram WordPress plugin. Once it’s set up it looks like this on the site:

facebook messenger bot on desktop

And on mobile it looks like this:

facebook messenger bot on desktop

In this post, I’ll walk you throw how to set that up and tie it correctly to your page’s messaging system! 

If you use a content management system other than WordPress, which is what I use here, you likely can still set up something similar, but will have to adjust some of these steps. How to link people to your Messenger system and how to turn on automatic messages applies in any case (as of May 7, 2017) no matter what website CMS you use.

Step 1: Install the Icegram plugin

Go to the plugins area, search for the plugin and install it. Once it’s installed and activated it shows in the left column. Click on Create New campaign to get started.

Step 2: Turn on the social messenger popup

Once you create the new campaign you get to his screen:

icegram social messenger popup

There you pick your campaign in the TYPE drop down. Pick MESSENGER for this kind of campaign. But you can also do an ACTION BAR (right across the top of the site), a popup or toast. You can even run multiple campaigns. Just make sure they don’t all popup at the same time. I have the ACTION BAR and the MESSENGER both happening, but they are in different locations and appear at different times. The bar is at the top and shows up immediately. I set the messenger to appear after 22 seconds. You can set that in the top right of that step shown above.


Have a question about this article or content marketing in general? Drop me a note!

I’m here to help.


You can also pick different layouts for the messenger by clicking on SOCIAL:

social options in icegram

I stayed with the Facebook Messenger look because it’s linked to Facebook Messenger. If you want people to contact you through another system, you likely could link to that as well. Fair warning: Figuring out what my Messenger link was did take me a good amount of time.

Step 3: Add your messenger link

Then scroll down to add the link to your messenger:

Figuring out the link took me a while. Here’s the set-up to follow:

Whatever your page’s name is, substitute my page’s name. You can also use your personal Facebook profile URL there, but here’s the problem with that: People who aren’t your friends on Facebook and message you have their messages filtered to your spam folder. I had unread messages in there from two years ago. So, I would recommend using your Facebook Page for this purpose. Plus, you can set up auto responses, which I will explain in a moment.

Step 4: Download the Facebook Pages app

Yes yes, I know. Who needs more apps? I don’t and I’m constantly get annoying when people push more apps on me, but this one is necessary (or at least super helpful) if you want to make this work. If you turn notifications in the app on once it’s connect to the page you are sending people to above, you can see messages right away on your phone and aren’t dependent on sitting in front of a desktop computer.

Step 5: Setting up auto responders.

Go to your Facebook Page, click on SETTINGS, then MESSAGING. It would make so much sense to click on MESSENGER PLATFORM, which is what I did at first, but that won’t do the trick here.

Once you clicked on MESSAGING, there are three auto message options as of May 2017.

The Messenger Greeting allows you to greet people messaging you for the first time:

The Response Assistant replies once somebody sends you a message.

And in the case that you aren’t near a computer you can have this out-of-office-reply type responding.

responive messenge while away from phone or computer

Each of these messages can be turned on or off by clicking the Yes/No toggle. To change the wording, click CHANGE and edit. Once you are done editing, you even get a preview:

Adding a Facebook Messenger bot wrap

So that’s how you set that up. Keep in mind that if you add this function and people message you, that I would highly recommend responding in a timely manner. The app should help with that. On desktop, your personal account also gets a notification that a page you are an admin of has received a message.

Those notifications and the mobile notifications from the Facebook Pages app should make the monitoring fairly easy. 

And you might wonder, how many questions do I answer via chat! When should answers be paid for? That’s a fine line. Here’s how I usually evaluate that:

If it’s a simple answer and something an article didn’t include for one reason or another or I don’t actually know the answer I will look it up and see if I can figure it out. In those instances, I will just give them the answer and usually add it to the blog post as well.

Sometimes I do send them a link and ask them to consider a small payment if they found my services useful:

If you found my expertise helpful please consider a small payment of five dollars at this link.

If people need a lot of help, hand holding with a process or have deeper questions, I offer them a consulting phone call that needs to be paid for ahead of time. So as you can see, my Facebook Messenger bot is a customer service tool AND a lead generation tool.

Have you set it up, yet? Fill out the form below to share your success stories or contact me to get help with your social media automation and workflow:

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Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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