What exactly is a messenger bot? At the most basic level, a messenger bot provides a means for companies to automate certain low level client service functions over the internet. Rather than waiting on hold for hours to talk to a customer service representative, clients can now chat with a bot to complete the initial stages of an RMA request, or to answer simple pre-purchasing questions. Bots are also great for handling routine tasks, such as posting product and service updates to Facebook and Twitter. With all of these services in place, it’s now possible to use a third party website as a channel between buyers and sellers for an affordable price.
To get started with using webhook based messenger bots, the first step is to sign up for a hosted webhosting account. A hosted webhosting account will provide everything that your webhook based application needs, including installation of the Bot, webhook integration and advertising support. Once you’ve signed up for a hosting account, you’ll need to get a webhook API key. The API key is required so that your hosted application will accept “bot commands” and have access to the messaging system. The Bot will send messages to customers using your webhook API key. The messages are then delivered to the designated recipient through the designated webhook URL.
There are two primary ways to use bots in Facebook. One way is to integrate Bot into Facebook apps. This is accomplished by integrating your existing Facebook apps with your Bot. Bots built into Facebook apps allow your customers and partners to interact with one another through the Facebook interface. The other way to use bots is to create a webhook-based application and then add a Facebook Bot to it. This method is recommended for new partners and customers, as it provides the ability to directly connect with your business through Facebook’s mobile messaging system.
Bot works as a standalone Facebook application, which means that it can be installed and used on any version of Facebook without requiring the user to upgrade. It also integrates with hootsuite. The built-in social media management tool lets you manage your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts from the Bot’s dashboard. You can also view and manage your Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon accounts from within the Bot’s dashboard. By using the Facebook interface, you can perform all of the tasks that you would normally do from your computer, laptop or smartphone.
A webhook is a specific URL that allows a browser to connect to an external application, like Facebook. Since Bot connects to Facebook through its webhook, the app you want to use for the Bot’s functionality should integrate with the Facebook webhook. Once you make a web hook, you can make a URL from your clipboard that points to the Bot’s landing page, and then you can visit Facebook’s official Facebook application from anywhere by going to the Bot’s website and clicking the “Get link” button. There are a few steps that go along with this process in order to make sure the webhook you have made is properly setup and functional for your Facebook application.
Messenger Bots is currently available for testing from the developers’ site. You can give Bot a try by downloading its desktop widget, which you can also copy & paste the code from your clipboard into Firefox. Chat Bots looks very much like chat keyboards that you’d find on Facebook. Although it does not yet have all of the features of actual chat bots, it is still a very exciting project by Facebook engineers. I’m looking forward to learning more about Messenger Bots, and how it integrates with cutbacks, hootsuite and other social media tools.