How to Build a Basic Messenger Bot with ManyChat • ThinkTuitive

How to Build a Basic Messenger Bot

A Step-by-Step ManyChat Tutorial

By Dana Tran | Last Updated: June 21 2018

Want to learn how to use ManyChat to build a Basic Messenger Bot? Then you’re in the right place!

This ManyChat tutorial contains plenty of screenshots and easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions on how to create a Facebook Messenger Bot.

(Click here if you’re looking for a Chatfuel Tutorial)

By the end of this tutorial, you’ll learn:

  • How to setup a greeting message and welcome message
  • How to get your Messenger Bot to automatically reply to the keyword “hello”…and other unknown responses
  • How to create a menu for your bot with a link to your website
  • How to build a simple main menu with a photo gallery
  • How to add a Message button to your Facebook Page…and other ways you can send traffic to your bot
  • How to send a simple broadcast message

Bots 101 - A Free Mini-Course

Learn how Messenger bots work, the benefits of a bot, and how to build one without coding!

STEP 1

Before You Build Your Bot

To build a Messenger Bot, you’ll need:

  • A Facebook Account
  • A Facebook Page (Messenger Bots can only “live” on a Facebook Page. Not on a Personal profile or Group)
  • A mobile device (phone or tablet)
  • A laptop or desktop with internet access ???

You’ll be using your laptop (or desktop) to build the Messenger bot. To test your Bot, we’ll be using your mobile device. You’ll be switching between the two devices quite often!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Even though it is *technically* possible to connect more than one Bot platform to single Facebook Page, you’re going to run into conflicts!!! So if you want to build another “Test” Messenger Bot (eg. using the Chatfuel platform), be sure to create a separate Facebook Page!

Let’s Begin…

a) How To Create A New Facebook Page

Even if you already have a Facebook page – I still recommend that you create a new page for your Messenger Bot…for testing purposes.

  1. Click on this link to create a Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/ 
  2. Select the page type that relates to your business
  3. Enter a name for your page and the category.
  4. Follow the remaining prompts to upload a cover image and finalize your new Facebook Page and Messenger Bot!

b) How to Create a ManyChat Account

  1. Go to ManyChat and click on “Get Started Free” button
  2. You’ll need to “Sign In With Facebook” and give ManyChat permission to manage your Page’s message
  3. “Connect” the page that you just created in the previous step
  4. You should now be logged in to ManyChat and see the dashboard

(If you have any issues connecting your page, please contact the ManyChat support. I am not affiliated with ManyChat)

c) How to Unpublish your Facebook Pages (Optional)

By default, when you create a Facebook Page, it is set to publish (i.e., accessible by the public).

If you don’t want anyone to message you or your Messenger Bot while you’re building and testing out the different features of ManyChat, you can unpublish your Facebook Page. To do this:

  1. Navigate to your new Facebook Page (the one you created at the beginning of Step 1a)
  2. Click on Settings in the top right-hand corner
  3. Click on “Edit” link for Page Visibility (should be the first option up at the top)
  4. Check “Unpublish Page” and then on “Save Changes”
  5. Your Facebook page should now be unpublished! Meaning, no one except for you can find and interact with your Messenger Bot!

STEP 2

How To Setup the Greeting & Welcome Message

The Greeting Text is used to describe your business or to let visitors know how your Messenger Bot can help them!

If you don’t setup a greeting text, the page description will be shown on the welcome screen. For example, here’s my greeting text on my welcome screen for DanaBot.

a) How to Setup a Greeting for new conversations

  1. Click on Settings on the side menu
  2. Enter in your “Greeting Text”
  3. Click the “Save” button

Note: You are limited to 160 characters for the greeting text

b) How to View Your Greeting

  1. On your mobile device, use your browser to login to ManyChat (https://manychat.com)
  2. Click on the link right under your account ID. It should start with https://m.me/
  3. This should open Messenger on your mobile device where you can see your Bot’s welcome screen along with your custom greeting

Note:

  • Messenger can cache your greeting. If you made changes, you might not see the updated greeting right away.
  • The Greeting Text only shows up the first time the user interacts with the Page on Messenger
  • You can see the greeting text only on mobile devices. Not on desktop or the web version of Messenger.

c) How to Change Your Welcome Message

What’s the difference between a Welcome Message and a Greeting Message? Best way to explain is to show you!

  1. On your mobile device, click on blue “Get Started” button for your Messenger Bot
  2. You’ll get a default welcome message saying “Welcome! ? Thank you for subscribing. The next post is…”
  3. On your laptop or desktop, go to ManyChat’s Dashboard. You should see the number of active subscriber change to 1! (You became a subscriber when you tapped on the “Get Started” button).
  4. To change the welcome message, click on “Welcome Message” under “Automation”
  5. Click on the button “Edit Message” and make your changes
  6. Once you’re done, click on “Publish” in the top right corner.
  7. Next, click on the “Preview” button to see your welcome message on your mobile device. (If you might get the following notice, just click on “Send to Messenger”.)
  8. Check your mobile device – you should get a message from your Messenger Bot with the updated welcome message!

STEP 3

How To Setup a Default Reply

If you read my article “Top 10 FAQs about Facebook Messenger Bots”, you’ll know that you can create a Messenger Bot to automatically answer FAQs.

However, a Messenger Bot can’t answer ALL the questions since a basic bot, built without any NLP (Natural Language Processing) doesn’t actually understand sentence. This means that you’ll still need to monitor the chat and reply to messages whenever a user submits a question that isn’t commonly asked.

If someone types in a word or question that the Bot does NOT understand, your Messenger Bot will reply with a default reply.

That’s what we’re going to setup in this step.

To change the Default Reply:

  1. Click on Automation on the left side menu. Then click on Default Reply 
  2. By default, the message says “Page Name typically replies in 1 day. If you want to ask something just press the Take to human” button“.
  3. To change this message, click on the “Edit Message” button at the top right.
  4. Edit the text. For example, you can change it to say “Hmmm. I’m not sure I understand. Did you want to talk to a human?”
  5. Click “Publish” in the top right-hand corner.
Note: We’ll test the default reply after we setup keywords in the next step!

STEP 4

How To Setup Keywords

How do keywords work? If the user enters in a specific keyword, it’ll trigger the bot to reply with a predefined message. You can setup keywords for:

  • Any commonly asked questions for your business (eg. are you open today?)
  • Single keywords such as “help”, “human”, “hello”

How to Setup Keywords

  1. In the left side menu, click on “Automation” then on “Keywords”
  2. By default, ManyChat has 2 keywords already setup for you: 1) “start or subscribe” and 2) “stop or unsubscribe”
  3. To create your own keyword automation, click on the “New Rule” button in the top right-hand corner
  4. Type in “hello” and click on “Create Keyword” button
  5. Click on “Create New Reply”…to create a new automated reply to the message “hello”
  6. Click on the image icon and the text icon.
  7. Change the order (if you want), upload your image and type in a message
  8. Once you’re done click on the “publish” icon up at the top right-hand corner.

b) Let’s Test the Keyword and Default Reply!

  1. On your mobile device, use the keyboard to type in “hello”
  2. Your Messenger Bot should automatically reply back!
  3. Type in any another word or sentence, the bot should get confused and reply with the default reply that we setup in Step 3.

STEP 5

How to Create a Main Menu

The main menu is a “slide-up menu” that’s located at the bottom of your Messenger Bot.

You can create “shortcuts” to the different features and content inside your Messenger Bot!

Note: ManyChat calls this the Main Menu. Facebook refers to this as the Persistent Menu.

a) How add your website URL to the Main Menu

    1. Under Automation in the left-hand menu, click on “Main Menu”.
    2. Click on the “+Menu Item” to add an item
    3. You can add a submenu with more options, trigger the bot to reply with a new message, or existing message…but let’s keep things simple and add a link to your website.
    4. Select the “Open website” option and type in your website URL
    5. Click Done
    6. Click on the text “Menu Item” and replace it with “Visit my site” 
    7. Click on the blue “Publish” button.

b) Testing Your Persistent Menu

Back on your mobile device, drag the menu up – you should see “Visit my site” right underneath the “Send a Message” 

Note: To get rid of “Powered by ManyChat”, you’ll need to upgrade to one of their Pro Plans.

c) Issues with the Persistent Menu?

If you don’t see the new “Visit my site” menu option…

  1. On your mobile device, tap on any other contact in Messenger and then back to your bot. Check your menu.
  2. If that STILL doesn’t work, go to “Setting” on the side menu to Refresh your Facebook Permissions. Repeat the previous step.

Let’s create your Bot’s Main Gallery. This is different from the Persistent Menu we created in the previous step.

The Main Gallery is a visual gallery and a starting point where users can access any and all information that’s available on your Messenger Bot. It’s like the “home screen” for your Messenger Bot.

For this example, let’s assume that we’re creating a Bot for a catering company. We’ll create a super-simple Main Gallery that’s accessible from the Main Menu. This Main Gallery will have a food photo gallery to showcase our culinary skills!

Optional: Click here to download the images that we’ll be using in this example

a) How to Create a Main Gallery for Your Messenger Bot

  1. Go to to the Main Menu (under Automation) and click on “Edit Menu” in the top right-hand corner
  2. Click “+ Menu Item”
  3. Change the text to “Main Gallery.” 
  4. When a user taps on Main Gallery, we want to open a new message. So let’s click on “+ Create New Message”
  5. Click on the X to get rid of the text message
  6. Click on the card icon
  7. Let’s drag in the “main.jpg” image
  8. Add a title and a subtitle (eg. Thinktuitive’s Catering Co)

b) How to Create a Gallery for Your Messenger Bot

  1. In your new Main Gallery, let’s add a button that leads users to another gallery. Click on “+ Add Button”
  2. Change the Button Title to “Gallery”
  3. Click on “+ Create New Message” 
  4. Let’s modify this new message. Click on the “X” to get rid of the text message 
  5. Then click on the “Gallery” icon. You should now see a blank gallery.
  6. Drop in the breakfast image, add a title and subtitle.
    • Note: If you see a little red alert icon, it’s because a gallery needs to have at least 2 cards (or slides). Once you add a content to the second card, the warning will disappear.
  7. Navigate to the second card by clicking on the right arrow or the icon at the bottom
  8. Repeat the same step as before: drag in the burger image, add a title and subtitle
  9. If you want to add more slides, just click on the + button on the right of the card. (Create as many additional slides as you want)
  10. Once you’re done, click on the blue “Publish” button

Now here’s the fun part…switch over to your mobile device, to see your new Main Menu and Gallery!

STEP 7

Driving traffic to your Messenger Bot

a) How To Add a Message Button to Your Facebook Page

One of the ways visitors can access your Messenger Bot is by clicking on the “Message” button on your Facebook Page.

  1. Go to your Facebook Page. On the “Page” view, click on the blue “Add a Button” 
  2. In the popup window, click on “Contact you”, then on “Send Message”. Click on the “Next” button.
  3. Select “Messenger” and then on the “Finish” button.
  4. You should now see the “Send Message” button on your Facebook Page. You can even test the button to make sure that it’s working!

b) ManyChat Growth Tools

You can also use one of the 13 the built-in “Growth Tools” from ManyChat. Just click on “Growth Tools” from the left-hand sidebar.

Here’s a quick overview:

  1. Bar – An opt-in bar showing at the top of a website
  2. Slide In – An opt-in window that slides into view from an edge of a screen
  3. Modal – a pop-up window appearing in the center of a screen
  4. Page Takeover – an overlay above your whole website
  5. Button – Basic button that can be placed anywhere on your site, or embed it into third-party widgets
  6. Box – an opt-in box, which can be embedded anywhere on your site
  7. Landing Page – a landing page hosted by ManyChat
  8. Messenger Ref URL – A URL with a ref-code that opens your bot’s page in Messenger – helping you track traffic sources
  9. Facebook Ads – convert users who click on a Facebook Messenger Ad into bot subscribers
  10. Facebook Comments – convert users who comment on a specific post into bot subscribers
  11. Messenger Code – a series of dots and dashes circling around your Facebook Page profile photo. When someone scans this photo, it’ll convert the user into a bot subscriber
  12. Customer Chat – a live chat plugin that you can install on your website
  13. Checkbox – trigger a sequence inside your bot when a user clicks on a button on your website

Note:

  • Some of these growth tools are only available on the Pro Plan
  • You are limited to 3 growth tool on the free ManyChat plan

STEP 8

Sending a Broadcast Message

You can keep in touch with your Messenger subscribers by sending out a broadcast! Since this is a test Messenger Bot, let’s send out a broadcast to your ENTIRE subscriber list (consisting of 1 subscriber – you!)

  1. On the side menu, click on “Broadcasts”
  2. Create your message and click on the blue “Go Next” button
  3. Double check that the broadcast will be sent to 1 user only (you can click on this to confirm the names of the users)
  4. Click “Send Now” 
  5. Grab your mobile device and check your Messenger for your broadcast message!

Note: Facebook has strict rules around Subscriptions, and sending Broadcast. I go over subscription and messaging rules, in detail in my course, Bot Essentials…but you can refer to Facebook’s policy for more detail (warning – it’s not a fun read!).

Your Next Steps

Congrats on building your first Messenger Bot using ManyChat! (Hooray!!!)

Keep in mind that this was just an introductory ManyChat tutorial. You can do a LOT more with Messenger Bot! There’s segmenting, custom fields, creating forms, creating campaigns, sequences, Zapier integration…and so much more.

To Learn More About Messenger Bots:

Bots 101 - A Free Mini-Course

Learn how Messenger bots work, the benefits of a bot, and how to build one without coding!