Everything You Need to Know About Chatbots

Everything You Need to Know About Chatbots

Chatbots are the next big thing on the social media landscape. If you haven’t heard of them you will very soon. These helpful assistants allow consumers to interact with your brand without ever leaving their messenger of choice.

Imagine if someone’s having a Facebook messenger conversation about your newest shoe release. That same consumer could message your chatbot and buy the shoe; all without leaving their other conversation, or talking to a live person.

That’s a broad description, so we’re breaking chatbots down into more detail below.

What is a Chatbot?

Chatbots are services that run over underlying rules or artificial intelligence. The “service” is actually a Natural Language User Interface. Sound confusing? It actually isn’t.

Think back to the days of AOL Instant Messenger. Remember Smarterchild? That’s an example of an early chatbot. Today’s chatbots are essentially the same thing. Pressed for a definition, we’d tell people chatbots are: A service running on rules or AI that users interact with using natural, conversational language.

They can be built into most messaging platforms, but are really taking off on social messaging programs. Chatbots are getting fairly common on Facebook Messenger, Kik, Slack, etc.

So what do people do with chatbots? Well, they chat. Different chatbots offer different features ranging from entertainment to actually purchasing products.

Instead of browsing a website to make a purchase, you can simply just tell a chatbot what you’re looking for and buy it. Pretty cool, right?

Chatbot Examples

Chatbots are always evolving, but as of today there are still plenty of examples to choose from. Let’s start by focusing just on Facebook Messenger.

Facebook Messenger is a popular medium for chatbots because of its widespread use and inherent connection to existing digital marketing strategies.

Companies can easily build their Facebook chatbot with their current social media marketing strategy in mind.

Nordstrom, for instance, offers a chatbot that can help find, compare, and order shoes directly from the Facebook Messenger app.

Kayak also offers a robust Facebook chatbot. You can ask the Kayak bot questions like, “I have $500, where should I go on vacation,” and it’ll return flights, rooms, etc.

The possibilities are really endless. From checking the weather to searching health symptoms, chatbots offer serious versatility.

Why Should I Care?

Chatbots are set to explode thanks to their ability to allow on-demand natural communication with consumers. Allowing 24/7 helpful access to your brand has never been easier.

We’re seeing this explosion because of the changing landscape of social media. People now use social media messenger apps more than they use social media itself.

This means that companies trying to get their message in front of the most people are naturally gravitating towards messaging platforms. There’s really no reason not to start developing your own chatbot. People will always take the path of least resistance, and that’s what chatbots offer.

How Chatbots Work

Two main types of chatbots make up every bot you’ll see on the Internet today. The first relies on a limited set of rules.

These rule based bots are the simple bots you’ll find on average website messengers. Visit most digital marketing websites and the chat window in the bottom corner is a rule based bot.

The second kind of chatbots run under artificial intelligence. They’re your Facebook Messenger and Kik chatbots.

These bots understand human language and learn as they converse with people. You may have heard term machine learning, and that’s exactly what these bots do.

Depending on your budget and needs, each bot type offers something that could suit your company. Though the future of chatbots is definitely moving towards AI.

Chatbots are the future of conversing with “computers.” They provide an enormous opportunity to get your brand in front of consumers while offering something useful. Keep an eye chatbots in the coming years. There’s no doubt they will help your business grow.