David Perez
David Perez

Chatbots are the newest trendy toy everyone’s talking about, and a technology that PR pros are racing to test out on their marketing campaigns. But how you use chatbots and the ways in which they’re integrated into your communication strategy makes all the difference insofar as whether you’re utilizing this powerful tool effectively.

Chatbots are artificial intelligence designed to emulate human interaction. The digital era has grown to intertwine public relations and marketing. Social media has erupted as one of the ultimate ways to communicate and reach your target audience. New and creative ways of reaching our audiences can be seen through responses on messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Chatbots are here to stay, and as communications professionals, here are simple ways to integrate chatbots into your communication plans.

O'Dwyer's May '18 PR Firm Rankings MagazineThis article is featured in O'Dwyer's May '18 PR Firm Rankings Magazine

Storytelling

Using chatbots to communicate with your audience is an effective way to let them know your story. It is ultimately still good-old-fashioned storytelling. Get personal and guide them through your journey. People connect with people, but one thing hasn’t changed, and it’s the power of stories. As professional storytellers, we can develop the bot to guide our Facebook user to pick their own adventure within our story. Guide the customer through the journey with an end goal. People like to share stories with value. They share stories that make them feel like insiders and stories of emotion. The more creatively we build our own story of adventure, the more memorable it becomes. Chatbots can help communicate our message, building an engaged following.

Direct communication

Email marketing 2.0 has been a term used to describe how to generate more interest, awareness or sales for a product. While many communication gurus continue to practice the art of email marketing, some have moved into direct communications through messenger platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, via chatbots. The ability to connect “one to one” is more powerful than the “one to many” approach. This form of communication creates the ability to build brand loyalty and establish a relationship with your audience. Of course, you will get those people who opt out eventually, but your audience becomes an engaged audience, ultimately evolving into brand ambassadors. Building the perfect conversation takes practice, research and occasionally updating the bot as necessary.

Content distribution

Ever wonder why you only have 10 views during your Facebook Live event? The ability to send direct information to your followers has been simplified. With platforms that are used to create chatbots like ManyChat and Chatfuel, communications pros can send direct information to their audiences. The chatbot can distribute a new piece of content, statement from the company or product launch right into your user’s notification. When building a chatbot, help guide your user by asking them questions. Simple buttons can be added when building the chatbot. Understand where your audience wants to end. Your end goal is imperative when mapping out the journey. Ask for their permission to be able to receive notifications and exclusive company news. Making them feel part of an exclusive club, receiving items they can only view on Messenger, creates bigger want and a driving force to join in on the fun.

Data collection

What is it your audience really wants to hear? What type of content should we create and share? We all have heard that content is king. As we move into a new era, quality content targeted to a specific audience becomes more imperative than the quantity produced. Communications professionals need to understand what content will resonate with a specific audience. As your bot interacts with your audience, you can start developing custom content built on your audience’s responses. Instead of asking a question through your newsfeed, create a question on Messenger. Build exclusivity and have interactions. Build your bot to walk through a series of questions that will generate more data. As communicators, we are always talking and looking for ways to reach new audiences. We need to listen and understand what our audiences want. Once we understand our target audience, we can create a fluid distribution method generating an increase in buzz. A specific post may be shared and engaged in more due to the “How to…” video clip you created. All generated from your chatbot. Your audience will continue to build and create the ability to awareness.

Customer service

Make the user feel heard. Communication is a two-way street. Understand how to communicate with your audience. Build a customer service bot to help your current customers. Do not ignore those relationships. Chatbots are an ideal way to engage with your audience as a customer service. Spreading awareness is important, but building loyalty is imperative to reaching out to new customers. We have returned to our favorite store because of exceptional customer service. As more people are shopping online, we want to build a communication network that helps and continues to strengthen relationships. Pre-loaded messages can be drafted to contact customer service or send a link to the latest article to fix a minor concern. This time saving tool can help increase consumer satisfaction. Making the consumer feel heard is important when retaining those relationships.

Building your virtual assistant can bridge your communication gap. Strategize on where and how to integrate your chatbot into your plan. Understand your communications goal and use this tool to create a better line of communication. Whether you are telling your story, distributing content or asking questions, this powerful tool will help you distribute to a new range of audiences and create ambassadors.

What story will you program your bot to tell?

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David Perez is based out of Marketing Maven’s Los Angeles headquarters. He can be reached at david@marketingmaven.com.