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Originally published on May 3, 2019 @ 11:41 am

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Have you been looking to build a chatbot to use on your Facebook Author page? Here are some things you need to know!

With over a billion active users, Facebook Messenger is the most used messaging app out there. And it's so easy to use, it allows us, as consumers, to connect with businesses much more easily and quickly. In fact, receiving a message as a business feels more urgent, like I need to answer it more quickly than when I receive an email. Which is where having a good chatbot strategy can come in really handy — because I don't always have time to sit on my Facebook Page and answer every single message that comes through.

So, if you ask me, having a chatbot for Facebook Messenger is a must. And chatbots are probably one of my favorite developments since social media.

But then come the marketers, right? I've been told on more than one occasion that marketers ruin everything — and that's not completely true. The truth is, bad marketers ruin everything.

Has this every happened to you? Someone asks you to subscribe to their chatbot for Facebook messenger, maybe they even offer you some sort of incentive for signing up. They promise not to spam you but then before you know it — spam city.

Almost every day you're sent a message asking you to buy something or check out some affiliate offer or buy something (did I already say buy something)?

Here's the deal — having a chatbot for Facebook messenger is supposed to help you form a deeper relationship with your audience — not be a highway for persistent spam.

Facebook has always been really clear about how and when you can use a messenger chatbot to connect with its members:

  • Promotional content can be sent out to any one who has interacted with your chatbot in the last 24 hours.
  • Nonpromotional content can be sent out at any time, but must be tagged properly and must fall within one of Facebook's predetermined use-cases.

Your chatbot for Facebook messenger must change to stay compliant

How?

Well, for one thing, subscription broadcasting, that ability to send out a blast to anyone on your entire list, will be changing in a big way.

A big way.

Changes coming to chatbots for facebook blog title overlay

You see, far too many people have been sending promotional content out as subscription broadcasts.

And Facebook is finally cracking down on that.

In an announcement that has sent nearly every group I'm in into a tizzy, Facebook has revoked broadcast permissions from the chatbot apps and started requiring page owners to apply for permission individually.

So what did the apps do to get their permissions revoked?

Nothing.

I know for a fact that every chatbot building platform out there did a phenomenal job in providing training materials, blog posts, and references about the subscription broadcast rule as well as the 24+1 rule (which has changed again, keep reading to get the most updated rules). And I'm willing to bet that most chatbot agencies building the chatbots for their clients tried their best to comply with all the rules and inform their clients of all the rules as well. The problem isn't the chatbot programs or agencies at all…

It's other marketers.

Like the marketers who use engagement bait to get you to click a button just so they can send you spam. Or the ones who send near-constant promotional messages to you.

Yeah, them.

What Does This Mean For You?

If you're using a chatbot as part of your marketing strategy, first and foremost, make sure you are following the rules.

Believe me, they are good rules:

  1. Don't treat messenger like email. Email is for outreach, messenger is for connection.
  2. Don't forget your subscribers are people. Not just leads. You treated them as special to get them to sign up — don't treat them like anything less after they've signed up.
  3. Messenger is about conversations. Use your chatbot to open a conversation and invite your subscribers to have a dialogue with you.
  4. Promotional content can only be sent out to people who have engaged with your chatbot within the past 24 hours.
  5. Nonpromotional messages can only be sent to your subscribers if they have engaged with your chatbot within the past 24 hours or if they fall within one of three scenarios.
  6. For any messages you want to send outside of the 24-hour rule or that do not fall within one of the three scenarios, you must send them as a sponsored message.

What are the Three Facebook-Approved Tags?

Every message you send out via your chatbot must be tagged appropriately.

So, here is a break down of the three allowed tags according to Facebook:

Confirmed Event Update

Send the user reminders or updates for an event they have registered for (e.g., RSVP'ed, purchased tickets). This tag may be used for upcoming events and events in progress.

Allowed:

  • Reminder of upcoming classes, appointments, or events that the user has scheduled
  • Confirmation of user's reservation or attendance to an accepted event or appointment
  • Notification of user's transportation or trip scheduled, such as arrival, cancellation, baggage delay, or other status changes

Not Allowed:

  • Promotional content, including but not limited to deals, offers, coupons, and discounts
  • Content related to an event the user has not signed up for (e.g., reminders to purchase event tickets, cross-sell of other events, tour schedules, etc)
  • Messages related to past events
  • Prompts to any survey, poll, or reviews unrelated to a preceding interaction in Messenger

Post Purchase Update

Notify the user of an update on a recent purchase.

Allowed:

  • Confirmation of transaction, such as invoices or receipts
  • Notifications of shipment status, such as product in-transit, shipped, delivered, or delayed
  • Changes related to an order that the user placed, such credit card has declined, backorder items, or other order updates that require user action

Not Allowed:

  • Promotional content, including but not limited to deals, promotions, coupons, and discounts
  • Messages that cross-sell or upsell products or services
  • Prompts to any survey, poll, or reviews unrelated to a preceding interaction in Messenger

Account Update

Notify the user of a non-recurring change to their application or account.

Allowed:

  • A change in application status (e.g., credit card, job)
  • Notification of suspicious activity, such as fraud alerts

Not Allowed:

  • Promotional content, including but not limited to deals, promotions, coupons, and discounts
  • Recurring content (e.g., statement is ready, bill is due, new job listings)
  • Prompts to any survey, poll, or reviews unrelated to a preceding interaction in Messenger

If your message does not fall into one of those three categories, then you can only send a message to anyone who has engaged with your page's chatbot within the past 24 hours or you must pay to send a sponsored message.

There is also a Human Agent tag, which would allow a human agent to respond to a customer inquiry outside of the 24-hour mark, but this is in closed beta testing and has not been opened up for businesses yet.

But what if someone has asked you to send them a reminder?

This happens to me all the time: someone will contact me through my Facebook page and ask me if I am taking on any new clients, only I am overbooked and don't have any estimate as to when I could take a look at their project.

So what happens then? Could I notify them later when I am free? Obviously, this would fall outside of the 24-hour window.

For these instances, Facebook allows you the option to apply for One-Time Notifications.

However, a one-time notification is just that: one time. So, in my case for when someone is messaging and wants to know if I am accepting new clients, I can invite them to get notified for when I start accepting new clients. The system will then add a token to that subscriber that's good for one year. Any time within that year, should I become available, I can send out the notification to anyone with that token and let them know that I am now accepting new clients.

How to Apply for One-Time Notifications

Facebook's One-Time Notifications is still in beta, so they are not yet allowing every Business Page access. But you can apply by navigating to your page's Settings and scrolling down to “Advanced Messaging.” This is where you can set up everything regarding your autoresponders and chatbots for your page.

Chatbot for Facebook Messenger FB Page Settings Screenshot

Then you're going to scroll down until you find Requested Features:

Chatbot for Facebook Messenger FB Page Requested Features Screenshot

When you request to have access to One-Time Notifications, Facebook will show you a notice regarding its Beta status and terms of use for this feature. Click on “Confirm” to submit your request:

Chatbot for Facebook Messenger FB Page Notice Screenshot

And that's it! Applying for access to the One-Time Notifications feature is super easy.

What's the point of growing a chatbot list if you can't market to them?

I think if you dig deep, you'll know the answer to this.

I've already mentioned it a few times: engagement, connection, and conversation.

If you regularly send out news, reminders, and updates that foster engagement and communication with your audience, then yes: you will want to continue to grow your chatbot list and build a messenger marketing strategy.

If, on the other hand, you just send out promotional materials, then, honestly, you might as well plan to build out a paid-advertising strategy that uses Facebook messenger.

Whatever you do, you are not going to want to grow your chatbot list and then try to skirt around one of the rules and try to send out a promotional message outside of the allowed restrictions.

Just don't do it.

It's not worth the risk of having your chatbot — or possibly your entire business page — taken down by Facebook because you sent out a promotional message.

And believe me, it can happen. I've seen plenty of authors send out a broadcast inviting their subscribers to a release party as an event update and guess what…

A release party is promotional and those subscribers had not already RSVP'd to join.

Sure, release parties can be fun and there are usually prizes and games. But at the end of the day, that author is trying to sell books. And that means it is a promotional message.

What Should You Do if You Want to Send Promotional Content?

Go back and think about what the point of Facebook messenger is: to hold a conversation. Conversations are a two way street.

So, if you want to be able to send out promotional content, you'll have two options:

  1. Pay for sponsored messages (and expect a cost of about $0.02 per person — better make sure your list is nice and clean!)
  2. Stick with the 24-hour rule (and come up with a good strategy for keeping your audience engaging with your chatbot).

How Can you Keep Your Audience Engaged with Your Chatbot?

How did you get people to subscribe to your chatbot for Facebook in the first place?

Chances are, if you look back at some of those opt-ins, you'll be able to develop a strategy for keeping your audience engaged with your chatbot:

  • Did you send out a free guide for opting in? Make sure you also ask for an email so you can deliver that guide to their email address. You can then send an email with a link to your bot to re-engage your members that way.
  • Speaking of free guides, try changing up the format of your free guide just a bit — instead of sending out one PDF file you can send out a series of interactive messages.
  • Create an interactive quiz people can share. Just make sure any message within your sequence or flow can fit into one of the approved tags or make sure it keeps people engaged.
  • Set up a daily chatbot sequence with ManyChat (or any other builder) filled with tips, jokes, or inspirational messages to connect with your audience (and keep them engaged).

All in all, these changes to Messenger Marketing are a good thing

If you really think about it, the people or businesses who are going to get hurt by these changes are those who weren't following the rules in the first place. By implementing these changes, Facebook will force those spammers to either start paying or go find a new venue.

Either way, the overall quality of messenger marketing will be cleaner, the messages will be more inline with what subscribers want, and you as a freelance writer will be free to be more creative with your chatbot strategy and using it to connect with your audience and start those two-way conversations.

And if you want more help on how to make sure your messenger strategy complies with all the new rules for Facebook Messenger, you can check out these great tips from Joren over at Chatimize.

Did you enjoy this article? Here are some more posts on messenger marketing you might like:

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