Before I answer that question, let’s talk about what Messenger bots actually are. They are NOT a glorified texting machine. They ARE an automated system that can answer simple questions and provide basic information to anyone messaging your page.
It’s no secret that thousands of business owners have simply treated their Chatbot as though it were just another text messaging system. Everyone was thrilled with the idea that you could get your next live sale right into someone’s Messenger Inbox! It was a brave new world!
Now, however, it has become clear that millions of end-users are less than thrilled with receiving literally billions of unsolicited messages spamming their sacred inbox space. These are the same people who never check their emails because it’s all “just spam.”
So, What’s Changed?
Not much, actually. It turns out that this was never what Facebook intended when they opened up the Messenger API and allowed third-party software to build bots for Messenger.
You may have heard me telling you to set up a system so that people could actively opt into the messages they want to get from you. Here’s why my team has always advocated this instead of just sending all messages to everyone on your list:
- Bot “subscribers” are anyone who has contacted your page through Messenger.
- Many of those people had no idea they were opening themselves up for a flood of messages about what is happening day to day in your business.
- If you don’t give them the chance to say “yes, I want these Messages…” you’re going against Facebook and Messenger’s TOS.
Subscription Permissions for Messenger Bots
This is what is NEW (technically). Until now, all permissions were granted through the app (ManyChat, ChatFuel, etc.). Facebook couldn’t really police it. They had to trust that you weren’t going to abuse the privilege of being able to send messages to your subscribers however and whenever you wanted to.
However, because so many page owners have used this feature with abandon, Facebook had to make some changes. People were complaining and it has become ugly. The authentication for sending subscription messages is being moved from your chatbot app to Facebook. You will need to apply for permission to continue to send regular broadcasts, and the broadcasts you do send MUST follow specific rules and fall into certain categories.
Here’s a quick over view of what this will look like:
- Apply to Facebook via your page for permission to send subscription messages based on what you’re planning to send out to your subscribers.
- These broadcasts must fall within specific guidelines and be related to news, productivity, or personal trackers.
- Promotional messages of any kind are not allowed outside of 24 hours of interaction from the person you send them to with the exception of ONE outside the 24-hour window.
- All other messages must either fit within Facebook’s approved tags or be a part of a sequence or flow your subscriber opted in to.
Let’s Break This Down
Apply to Facebook via your page for permission to send subscription messages based on what you’re planning to send out to your subscribers.
Apply for subscription permissions in the messaging settings of your Business Page. Facebook may or may not approve your application based on the information you give them.
These broadcasts must fall within specific guidelines and be related to news, productivity, or personal trackers.
No, your live sale broadcasts and album updates don’t fall within the “news” tag. Unfortunately, these notifications have never truly been in line with Facebook’s design for Messenger bot use.
Promotional messages of any kind are not allowed outside of 24 hours of interaction from the person you send them to with the exception of ONE outside the 24-hour window.
This means that you have 24 hours after any interaction with a customer in messenger to send them a promotional message. So, people who are having active conversations with your page CAN receive notifications from you about your lives and other sales! Yay!
All other messages must either fit within Facebook’s approved tags or be a part of a sequence or flow your subscriber opted in to.
Engage your customers in Messenger with valuable information. Share styling tips and fashion trends. Run a quiz! Use a comment growth tool to get their input on your outfit for the day…then remind them about your live sale that night!
Ultimately, don’t be sleazy. Messenger bots provide a powerful tool to connect with your customers on a personal level in a platform they are already in all day every day. It’s not a billboard to flash promos and sales, but a way to satisfy your clients’ needs every day.
Remember, Things Are Still Changing – And Always Will Be
Chatbots overall are still incredibly new technology. They will continue to evolve but they are here to stay. Maybe not exactly how we know them now, but they will not go away.
Focus on making sure your bot is a tool for your customers NOT just another way to promote your sales. Educate and inform and the sales will come.
Make sure you have a menu set up that has all the info a shopper may want to access. Think about the things you get messages about frequently…then set up your bot to answer those things for you!
Need help? The ThinkSocial team is here for you!
Want to get additional information about how to use your Chatbot? Click here to get updates in Messenger!