Tutorial: How to build your Facebook Messenger chatbot with ItsAlive.io
ItsAlive.io is a free tool allowing you to easily create a Facebook Messenger chatbot. You’ll only need a few minutes, no coding skills are necessary. Thanks to a simple and intuitive platform, you’ll be able to automate your conversations and optimise your customer relationship, your acquisition or loyalty campaigns, and offer original brand awareness experiences too.
You’re creating your first chatbot and you need a hand?You’re at the right place! This tutorial will go over all the basic steps you should know when creating a conversational agent:
- How to create and set up your chatbot properly?
- How to choose and add triggers (keyword detection)?
- How to organise and create your bot’s essential recipes?
- How to create a menu ?
- How to test your chatbot?
- How to publish your bot on your Facebook page?
Step 1 — Name your new bot
Start by giving your bot a name: that way, you’ll be able to recognize it easily if you create several different bots.
You’ll be the only one to see this name. For users, your bot will necessarily have your Facebook page’s name.
Then choose the main language of your bot: all users (of all countries) will use that language by default. You’ll be able add several additional languages to create a multilingual bot afterwards.
Step 2 — Create your first recipe
Recipes are the key feature. They serve as the voice and brain of all ItsAlive chatbots.
A recipe is composed of two main elements:
- User triggers: conditions that automate your content
- The bot’s answer: the content you can send
Throughout the chatbot, the principle is always the same. You’ll need to define a set of keywords to trigger the specific content you want your bot to answer.
The easiest example:
- If the user says “Hello” (user trigger: keyword detection)
- Then the chatbot will answer “Hey” (Bot answer: text)
You can create as many recipes as you like. The generic principle of the chatbot is to link all recipes together: thanks to different buttons, you can create a conversation stream from one end of the content to another. That’s the way we create a decision tree.
Tips : Try to always organise your recipes in different folders. It’s much tidier that way.
Step 3 — Choose well your user triggers
The easiest way to help users navigate in between the multiple sections of your bot are buttons. It is more natural for the user and less difficult to set up for you. Buttons will enable you to drive the conversation completely. However, you can leave a bit more freedom to users thanks to keyword detection (user triggers)
Buttons to drive the conversation
The basic principle is: recipe #1 > recipe #2 > recipe #3
When you create a recipe, you don’t always need user triggers. You may only have to add a button “Go to recipe” to the bot answer of the first recipe to redirect it to the linked secondary recipe.
There are two button formats:
- The cards buttons or text + buttons which remain visible in the bot’s conversation. There can only be a maximum of three button by type of content.
- The quick replies buttons which offer up to 11 possible shortcuts but users can only choose one answer
To trigger a recipe, users only need to send one or several specific keywords.
Tips: Don’t forget to add synonyms, different languages, expressions, plurals and willingly misspelled versions. It is important to use at least two keyword groups, otherwise the answer might be triggered too often (and not for the right reasons).
Keywords need to be added by “group”. User triggers add up between groups and are replaced within a same group of keywords.
Group # 1: “Hello” OR “Hi” etc …
Your recipe will trigger every time a user will say one of these words.
If we add a second group of keywords: Group # 2
Group # 2: “Bot” OR “Chatbot”
One of the two conditions must be fulfilled for the content to be triggered.
Try to keep these three steps in mind:
- A group of keywords for verbs / actions
- A group of key words for adjectives / complements
- And if needed a group of keywords for topics
Other user triggers you can use
You can choose other ways to trigger content. These user triggers can only be applied to users who opted in to your chatbot.
RSS feed: Send automatically your site’s news, blog, media feed, when detecting a new RSS feed.
Schedule: Send messages every day / week / month. It’s very convenient for RSS feeds.
Broadcast: Send a manual message to users who opted in to your bot.
Step 4 — Add your bot answers
Once you’ve set up your user trigger (optional, a lot of recipes can just be triggered by button without and keywords), your bot can send a message by using different formats. Each recipe can be composed of a maximum of 3 successive formats.
- Here, it’s important to add some buttons in your content if you don’t want the conversation to stop: this drives the users to continue.
- Always check the character counter: each format is limited
Text: The bot sends a message of plain text up to 640 characters.
Text button: The bot sends a message of plain text up to 640 characters and offers up to 3 buttons to redirect users to other recipes.
Cards: Cards features an image, a title, a description and up to 3 buttons to redirect users to other recipes. You can create as many cards as you want but Facebook Messenger only allows up to 10 cards at a time on a screen. You can also choose to shuffle the cards to display one at a time.
Quick reply: Quick replies are buttons redirecting to other recipes (or external URLs). They show up in Messenger as small bubbles, as opposed to buttons within the text-button feature. You can add as many quick replies you want to your recipes.
Media: You can also add an image, a video or even a GIF in your recipes to augment the content of your bot!
Here is a recipe with 3 pieces of content: Text + Cards + Quick replies on ItsAlive platform:
It looks like this when someone uses the Messenger chatbot:
Step 5 — Setting up a bot’s essential recipes
To create a bot, you absolutely need two recipes. Those are the most important recipes, you’ll find them in the Essentials file.
The Welcome message is the very first message your bot will send to users. They will only be able to see it once, so it should be engaging enough!
Introduce your bot! Explain what your bot does, show your users the first keyword/action they can use, or offer a button redirecting to your most popular recipe. User should also appreciate a “how does it work” or “help” button.
The Unanswered message is your bot’s answer when it does not understand the user’s request. .
- You bot is not meant to understand everything! On the contrary, it needs to fulfil the mission that you assigned by answering the most frequent questions.
- Use this recipe to help redirect the conversation to the direction the user is most likely looking for, You can create several messages (cards format) and choose to shuffle to display only one with buttons which redirects to your bot’s different fonctions.
- Feel free to redirect to the main parts of your bot such as menu, recipe help or contact.
- Use the handover protocol so users can switch from bot to human.
Tip: use the “card format” without any images so you can actually add several messages that you can display only once randomly.
Step 6 — Add a menu for an easy navigation
To drive your users to the different sections of your bot, you can create two types of menu:
Creating a persistent menu
The persistent menu is always visible and can contain up to 75 shortcuts to your chatbot’s recipes or to an external link. As it remains available throughout the conversation, it should contain the top-level actions and most popular recipes.
When you’re making your menu, use the persistent menu’s sections and subsections to organise your chatbot’s decision tree: essential features come first, then secondary ones.
The persistent menu tab is located on the bot configuration page.
Create a recipe with up to 10 cards or quick replies as a menu
By using cards, you can create a recipe called “Main Menu”, which will eventually be a slider of all your chatbot’s main different sections. Don’t over use it. For instance, don’t put more than two buttons per section if you have 10 cards.
The important advantage of this recipe being a menu, is that you can call it whenever you want when users are lost or simply to drive them back in the right direction. It’s great to add a shortcut to this recipe in the unanswered recipe.
Step 7: Test your bot
You can test your chatbot before uploading it by clicking directly on the “Test your bot button”.
You can also share this chatbot’s test link to colleagues or friends so you can test the bot before making it public.
It’s the perfect opportunity to test the conversation stream and optimise it if need be.
Step 8 — Deploy a bot on its Facebook page
Your bot is ready? All that’s left is to give life to it by linking it to your Facebook page.
To do that, you only need to:
- click on “Connect to Facebook” in the “bot configuration” page ,
- click on “Login with Facebook” accept permissions (important)
- Then you will have all your pages, and you just need to select the corresponding page.
Tips: Be careful, you need to accept all the authorization requests otherwise the bot will not work properly. Furthermore, you need to use this Facebook Login with a Facebook profile which is the admin of the page where you want to deploy your bot.
And… IT’S ALIVE! Your bot is now living within your Facebook Page. Congrats!
You gave life to your chatbot! It is available on your Facebook page, directly in Messenger! The direct link of your chatbot is usually https://m.me/TheNameYourPageFacebook
Now you have a new challenge: sharing the chatbot and to make sure to have users!
Feel free to contact us if you need help or want us to build it for you, a lot more tips are on our HelpDesk