Every person with a Facebook Page should have a bot

Chat with Redfoo on Messenger or by texting 323–285–9935

Two weeks ago I was on stage with Redfoo (yes, of LMFAO) at the VentureBeat MobileBeat summit.

Together we gave the closing keynote and did a live demo of his bot — one of the first built on top of Olabot, a platform for personal bots.

So, how did Redfoo end up using Olabot?

Shortly after releasing my personal bot EstherBot I got a cold email from Redfoo titled, “LOVE YOUR BOT!”.

I didn’t recognize his name and didn’t realize he was the guy behind one of the most popular music videos of all time — Party Rock Anthem is in the coveted 1+ billion view club (it currently sits as the 15th most watched video of all time).

I responded like I had to everyone who’s said hello — I thanked him for reaching out and offered to share what I’d learned about building bots so far. A few email exchanges later and we were FaceTiming. (This is a good place to share an important and valuable reminder to treat everyone with respect. You never know who you’re talking to and how you may be able to work together some day!)

We talked about the rise of messaging apps and the challenges he has with reaching fans over the usual social channels.

Although he’s got 3.8million fans on his Facebook page — only a fraction of the audience ever sees posts. Later when I dug into his page data it was even worse than I’d imagined. On average only 4% (150k people) see any given post. And there’s no way to target and segment folks, which results in a diminished experience for everyone.

The more we talked the more he surprised me. It turns out, Redfoo is a legit technologist.

As a musician he’s always been on the cutting edge — learning and developing new ways to create electronic music.

Launching the Beat Rock app in 2011

In 2011 he launched Beat Rock — an app for DJing. These days he’s learning to code and devotes 8–10 hours a day to it. Before and after his shows you’re most likely to see him hunched over his laptop hanging out in terminal.

With the help of YouTube tutorials and more formal programs like Devslopes he’s quickly picked up more than just the lingo — he’s actually connecting to APIs and running his own experiments, like building a Twitter bot that got banned when he made an error that led to hundreds of thousands of looped tweets.

But that’s what’s cool. He’s willing to quickly build, launch and learn. Which is totally in line with my personal ethos and is how I’m running my company Olabot.

Yes, that’s the craziest fish tank ever — from the show Tanked

He has millions of likes and followers on every social platform including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat — but of course he can’t interact with many people in a 1:1 context. Even if he spent all day responding to messages he’d never be able to say hello to everyone.

But, a bot can.

And it can be in his authentic voice.

During our conversations I opened up about how I was building Olabot and then asked if he wanted to be one of our first public bots. He said yes — so it was game on!

On the surface it may seem that an influencer’s bot would be wildly different from the average Jane but that’s simply not true. The scale of conversations may be 100 or 1,000x but the content turns out to be remarkably similar.

A personal bot is essentially a dynamic and interactive profile.

You need the ability to share and respond to basic queries, connect to third-party services like calendars, route to useful & engaging content, and then provide a meaningful messaging experience. For private individuals who have few inbound requests that probably means enabling 1:1 chat and for public figures where that model doesn’t scale it may look like the 1:many group chat that we launched in Redfoo’s bot.

Sure – his bot has more functionality than yours might have (odds are you don’t have a merch store) but we didn’t build anything for Redfoo that we didn’t want to make available to everyone.

Olabot isn’t a dev shop or agency. We’re building a platform anyone can use.

Introducing Redfoo’s bot

Redfoo’s bot even lets you access his merchandise — under #shop

I could talk for days about why we made certain decisions but for now I’ll just dive into a few of the new features in this personal bot that I’m especially excited about:

Direct messages: We slightly buried this functionality for Foo’s audience to prevent him from being inundated with messages but it is there. As a bot owner what’s awesome is you can respond straight from Messenger. There’s no need to use the terrible, horrible Pages app — or any other backend service. Just read and reply. Or even start a private live chat!

Broadcast messages + ephemeral group chat: Using the admin panel inside of his Messenger bot, Redfoo can send a broadcast to his audience. From earlier bots I learned that people want to chat so we turn the broadcast message into an opportunity for live engagement. Up to 100 people can join the chat (which takes place entirely inside Messenger) but it only lasts for a few minutes. And if you miss it — you’ll never see what happened because it’s only visible to the folks who join it live.

Text to Messenger: Most people don’t know how to use Messenger codes yet so we gave his bot a phone number that could start the conversation. It’s turned out to be a simple but effective onboarding solution.

Personal Quiz: On the surface this is a very simple addition. There are only a handful of questions right now in Redfoo’s bot but we’ve already expanded this feature and will be making it available in the bots we’re releasing in the coming days. What you’ll soon see is how engaging (and fun!) it is to create, share and challenge friends with personal quizzes.

You can play his entire new album through the bot

Early learnings from Redfoo’s bot

As one of the first celebrities to try using a bot on his Facebook Page we’re learning a lot about how regular (read: non-tech) people interact with — or are confused by! — the bot experience.

No, it hasn’t been smooth sailing.

There’s a learning curve to talking with a bot. It’s like watching someone try and understand Snapchat’s interface. It’s a little painful.

But, I’m excited because I see important signs of life. One nugget: the engagement from broadcasts is insane. My last broadcast went out to ~2,500 people and it resulted in 30,000 messages exchanged within 3 hours.

I could never converse at that kind of scale but my bot? It doesn’t break a sweat. 😂

From Redfoo’s Snapchat

What’s next?

Olabot is part of Botcamp. We’re continuing to design, build and test out our early self-serve platform… so sign up to bot yourself if you haven’t yet!

We’ll be updating our site and will begin letting small batches create personal bots starting next week.

In the meantime you can play around with Redfoo’s bot, Chris Messina’s MessinaBot, or my EstherBot. Suggestions are always welcome!

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