3 Tips for Chatbot Success in Social Media

When I first heard about brands using Chatbots in marketing, specifically on their social media channels, I was skeptical. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t familiar with Chatbots. Maybe it’s because as a Community Manager- where my entire job is to build communities and facilitate authentic conversations- I was worried about a lack of personal touch becoming the norm. Maybe it’s because I envisioned this is who would be answering my question about a new shade of nail polish and it was creepy AF:


Whatever the reason for my hesitation in embracing artificial intelligence, I’ve been involved in a project creating one with a client since then and I do think there’s a place for Chatbots in social media. However, I believe that they have the ability to hurt your brand if you don’t do them right. So without further ado, here are 3 tips to ensure your Chatbots are successful:

1. Gather as Much Social Listening Data as Possible

To make sure that your fans have the best experience possible, you need to research what their common questions, feedback, and comments are. These should be the foundation of the “brain” behind your Chatbot. Yes, there are going to be a lot of scenarios, but making sure you have great responses for the most common will help the user experience. You can utilize a social listening tool or a tool you use for your reactive work to download all of these. If you don’t have anything official to use like this, your Community Managers and Customer Service teams are a great option. Since they’re on the frontlines with your customers, they can easily tell you the common themes they see in their day-to-day work so you can plan for them.

2. Involve Your Community Management and Customer Service Teams

As I mentioned in the previous tip, involving your Community Management and Customer Service teams in the Chatbot creation process is crucial. Not only will they have insights into the common needs of your fans, but they’ll know the right way to respond to those questions. One of the most important elements of a great Chatbot is providing instant service while keeping the personality and helpfulness of a live CM. If you have your CM and CS teams craft the responses for your Chatbot, it will be authentic and better received by fans. They can also make sure the information is accurate and in the brand’s tone of voice, avoiding any off-brand or erroneous responses.

3. Prepare for the Unexpected

While scenario planning is vital to the success of a Chatbot, you also have to be ready for unexpected comments … this is social media we’re talking about, after all. Your Chatbot should have responses ready for when it doesn’t know the answer, when it doesn’t understand the question, or when the person is being a troll. If these answers can be light-hearted while maintaining the brand voice, even better. Working with Chatbots can be frustrating for consumers, so having humorous answers for certain questions, comments or misunderstands can help mitigate any issues. Let’s say someone comes to your page and says, “You’re stupid.” You could train your Chatbot to say something like, “Well, that’s not very neighborly.” It’s unexpected and people respond well to it.

Your Chatbot should also know when to find a real human for your fans. Nothing’s more frustrating than getting stuck in an endless loop with a robot that doesn’t understand what you’re saying. After two times of not understanding or being able to help, a Chatbot should be able to get them to a human to help solve the issue. You don’t want to lose fans because your Chatbot prevents them from getting the help they need.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the technology and novelty of a Chatbot, but you have to remember the user experience and the very real humans that will be interacting with it on a daily basis. Using previous data, consulting with your teams that work with fans the most, and preparing for unexpected scenarios will make your Chatbot help- not hurt- your brand.

Have you considered a Chatbot for you brand? Tell us about it in the comments.

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