With the Facebook buyout of Botox maker Memorial yesterday, it looks like the Messenger Bot is about to change everything. In the past, chatbots such as Facebook's old Messenger Bot were used primarily as a novelty or educational device. They would post things like "having a bad day? Come have tea" or "oh my god I just found gold!!! Come pick me up". Of course, these ChatBots were not as interactive as the more sophisticated ones we see today, and while they did provide an easy and quick way to communicate with others, they did not have many other functions. Today's ChatBots can do all sorts of things that simply took the use of a keyboard and mouse two years ago.
For example, Facebook is looking to expand its bot capabilities to make it more useful to both Facebook users and potential customers. The company revealed in its acquisition of Memorial that it plans to take ChatBots to another level by allowing them to interact with users, as well as provide informative and educational responses to chat sessions. Right now, Messenger Chatbot responds to messages by saying things like "you have questions", "chat is now closed", or asking you to log into Facebook to chat.
The potential uses for ChatBots extend beyond simply using them to log into Facebook. The Facebook team envisions them being used in a number of different applications. One example includes integrating with existing email and chat applications to allow users to make handover protocols from their desktop, laptop, or smartphone. In this case, the chatbot would be able to log into a computer after your friend indicated that they want to contact you, and would then automatically send and sign-in to your Hootsuite inbox or Facebook account.
Additionally, Facebook envisions the future of ChatBots going way beyond personal messaging. For example, one of the applications already in development uses ChatBots to stream a television show to a group of people in your Facebook community. This would be particularly impressive if you were watching a sporting event live, but did not want to miss out on your favorite players or teams. However, because these high-quality interactive chats take so little time, it would only be seconds before you were automatically notified on television of the latest score. This could be incredibly useful if you are away from home, but want to keep up with what is happening at your favorite sport's arena.
Another application that is in the works is a bot specifically for sending and receiving SMS messages on your mobile phone. This is not similar to the way that most people text in a conversation, but instead, it sends the message as you are speaking. For example, if you are speaking to a friend, you can simply say "hey" and then include a series of numbers and letters. The Facebook Chatbot would then send a pre-written text card to the contact, complete with all of the relevant information. The cool thing here is that the Chatbot does not need to have knowledge of the particular program that you are running, as it will automatically pick up the relevant information and save it to a short messaging list.
Perhaps one of the more exciting applications is an image card bot. Facebook Chatbot will be able to browse through some of the most popular image card services and save them into an internal folder for easy access later on. Just like with text cards, the Chatbot will be able to add a variety of text commands in order to spice up your conversations. For example, it might start the conversation with "tell me about! oh, yeah! About that awesome image you gave me, I have to tell you about that." Afterwards, it will save the image card and continue with another comment on the chat.
Of course, we cannot forget that Messenger Bot is also excellent at helping you interact with potential customers. This is especially valuable because Facebook is well known for allowing users to create groups. In these groups, members are encouraged to share high-quality content with their fellow group members and help each other out. As a result, there is often an amazing community atmosphere that can help promote customer loyalty. If you add automated messaging to this equation, you will be able to reach out to this highly targeted group of people in a highly efficient manner.
All in all, ChatBots is probably the best way to reach a large audience. Although Facebook has recently added Hootsuite and Facebook Live functionality to its product, these programs still have a long way to go. If you want to take advantage of chatbot technology, now is definitely the time to do so. The sky is the limit! If you would like to learn more about ChatBots and hootsuite, please visit the link below for a free demo.