Automated assistance needs in business are growing rapidly in our around the clock mobile driven digital culture. This is where the chatbot comes in. Chatbots are designed to facilitate automated conversational workflows, to resolve customer related issues, and create unique sales and marketing opportunities.

Nowhere is this more true than on social media. Enter Sprout Social Chatbots. Social Sprout Chatbots are scalable, intuitive and highly personalizable “bots” with the capacity to give any business the competitive edge it needs on social media.

But before we can delve into the finer details of Sprout Social Chatbots there are one or two preliminaries to dispense with first.

Sprout Social Chatbots infographic

What are Chatbots?

Put simply, chatbots are computer programs whose role it is to automatically engage with messages in a variety of different ways. Depending on the level of sophistication of the Chatbot, it can be programmed to respond either in the same “rule based” way to each message, or, differently, in an intelligent and highly contextualized manner, by using AI, NLP and Machine Learning processes.

Social chat mediums on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are the happy stomping ground of Chatbots. It is there that they can influence and leverage SMS, website chat windows, and instant messaging services, in order to receive and respond to messages.

It is worth noting that chatbots come in many forms, with distinct personalities to fit every context.

What are Social Media or Social Bots?

Social media chatbots or “social bots” can be found on most social media platforms, including Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Instagram, Slack, and WhatsApp.

Businesses use social media and instant messaging chatbots to automate their

customer service, as well as digital marketing and sales strategies. 

Rapid fire welcome messages, coupled with quick responses to questions make them particularly suited to the social media context. What’s more, chatbot call-to-action buttons (CTAs) offer dynamic alternatives to any automated “socially-driven” marketing campaign.

What is a Sprout Social Chatbot?

Now that we’ve got the generic out of the way let’s look at specifics. Namely, the Sprout Social Chatbot.

Sprout Social Chatbots are automated tools that allow you to set up and manage conversations on Twitter and Facebook Messenger. These “bots” are created with Sprout’s Bot Builder. 

Bot Builder is template based, fully customizable and seamlessly integrates with Sprout’s Smart Inbox feature, to facilitate effortless, automated management of social conversations or “chats” on both platforms.

Let’s take a look at Sprout Social Chatbots for both platforms in a little more detail.

Twitter

Sprout Social Chatbots can be added to Twitter to markedly improve marketing and customer service strategies.

The Sprout Social Bot Builder allows you to create a unique identity for your Twitter Bot, by either using your Twitter accounts profile avatar or allowing you to upload an entirely unique one.

Sprout’s Bot Builder supports the setup, management and operation of three messaging or  “conversational components” within Twitter Direct Message.

These three conversational components are Welcome Messages, Quick Replies, and Auto-Responses to Quick Replies. 

1. Welcome Messages

The Welcome Messages component of Sprout Chatbots can be used to greet users via yout Direct Message channel. This greeting can be used to say hello and provide instructions on what to do next.

2. Quick Replies

Quick Replies are essentially “clickable” buttons that pick up where Welcome Messages left off. They do this by providing guidance as to the best responses a user can make in relation to your predefined Welcome Messages.Sprout Social’s Bot Builder allows for as many as six Quick Replies. 

Once created Quick Replies reside on the conversation map interface. 

By providing multiple Quick Replies options, a single chatbot can effortlessly combine the worlds of customer support and brand marketing with helpful, entertaining and engaging content.

3. Auto Responses

To further enhance the flow and interactivity of a conversation. Sprout social chatbots have Auto-Responses capabilities. Auto-Responses effectively join the dots between welcome Messages and Quick Replies. With the Auto-Responses feature you can provide custom responses to whichever Quick Reply a user selects. 

Machine Learning (Advanced Users)

If you have an Advanced plan and are looking for a little Machine Learning swagger in your Twitter presence, Sprout Social’s Suggested Replies functionality will give you just that with “intelligent” data driven responses, designed to significantly reduce response times.

Algorithms rule.

Human Handoff

A Human Handoff should always be an option with Chatbot conversations. Sprout Social Chatbots facilitate a bot to human handoff if required. Even though bots can make Twitter conversations simpler and easier, you might need to keep humans-in-the-loop for specific purposes. For example, when it comes to finalizing a sale.

The Benefits

The benefits of deploying Sprout’s Twitter Chatbots are many. The automation of repetitive tasks and faster resolution to queries leads to better, more meaningful exchanges, which in the end benefits both you and your customers.

But these more efficient streamlined processes tell only half the story. Twitter chatbots create new kinds of conversations, which can be more interactive, more enjoyable and ultimately more meaningful in terms of marketing strategies and customer service outcomes.

This in turn unlocks entirely new marketing channels. Channels in which brand experience as well as existing and new marketing campaigns are optimized.

Put differently, a single chatbot can effortlessly marry the worlds of customer support and brand marketing.

mac book next to phone opened on Facebook app

Facebook Chatbots

Sprout’s Bot Builder lets you assign a bot to a Facebook profile of your choice. Once you have assigned a Facebook Bot you can name your chatbot and give it a short description. It is worth noting that this personalization of your bot is “internal-facing” and in effect for your eyes only.

Much like its Twitter counterpart, Sprout’s Facebook Bot Builder facilitates the creation, management and operation of conversational components. Components which reside within the Facebook Private Message channel. 

It does this by providing you with various automated chatbot functions or attributes, such as Welcome Messages, Quick Replies, Images and Text.

Once again, let’s take a closer look at these features .

Welcome Messages

Much like with Twitter, Sprout Social Chabots built for Facebook can provide your customers with Welcome Messages. These messages “proactively” greet your users via the Private Message channel of your Facebook account.

Quick Replies

Facebook Bot Quick Replies are of the same easily clickable variety as seen in the Twitter version. In essence, Quick Replies provide direction for conversations by using topics as navigational signposts. 

Six is the maximum number of Quick Replies allowed, and once they have been created by the Sprout Social Bot, they can be dragged and dropped into the conversation map interface.

Image or Text?

Text or Image responses can be set up to correspond to each Quick Reply. Your chatbot will automatically respond with unique text or an image, depending on which Quick Reply the user selects.

These responses can be configured to culminate with a Call to Action (CTA) to prompt users and guide them through a “conversation tree”.

Carousel Cards

Carousel Cards are an ingenious and visually engaging message type that consist of between 1 and 10 horizontally stacked “cards”. Each card consists of an image and a title, with the further option of adding a subtitle and button. Carousel Cards offer a highly interactive way of guiding users in a desired direction. 

Sprout Queue

Sprout Queue allows you to Maintain a consistent presence on social media by allowing you to schedule Facebook posts. With Sprout Queue you can automatically publish messages at a time and date of your choosing—When your audience is at its most receptive.

The Benefits 

The benefits of maintaining a strong Facebook presence to boost productivity and performance are plain to see. With Facebook’s staggering adoption rates, a Facebook Messenger Chatbot becomes a significant marketing asset. After all, Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform.

Facebook Messenger chatbots can harvest information, field questions, recommend products, and even take orders, in an automated and highly efficient way.

In fact, Facebook Messenger has incorporated some tools of its own to further galvanise this relationship between highly automated Chatbots and its own architecture.

These include Web Plugins, Codes and Links and Customer Matching; all of which greatly encourage conversations between people and bots, albeit in slightly different ways.

It is worth noting that this form of “reaching out” will be received as a Message Request, thereby greatly facilitating people to bot conversations.

Smart Inbox (Twitter and Facebook)

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, all user to chatbot interactions stream into the Smart Inbox. This facilitates a seamless “handoff” between the chatbot and members of your team. 

From the Smart Inbox, you can reply, task, resolve and highlight messages. The nature and histories of all conversations will appear in the Twitter or Facebook reply window.

Pricing

Sprout Social is available in three payment plans—Standard, Professional or Advanced. You can try Sprout Social for free with a 30-day trial.

Conclusion

Sprout Social Chatbots empower you to leverage social media conversations to their full advantage. 

When it comes to streamlining and optimizing marketing or customer relations based interactions on Twitter and Facebook, Sprout Social Chatbots have all the features and functionality needed to keep you firmly in the loop.

Sprout Social Chatbots could be just the automated rule-based conversation starter that you’ve been looking for.

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