How to Create an Automated Facebook Chatbot Flow

SendPulse allows you to create automated Facebook chatbot flows when a bot provides subscribers with some information according to a pre-determined scenario.

The flow builder is the main tool to set up your bot to welcome new subscribers, assist users, sell products, and notify a manager about users’ questions in the chatbot. Also, a chatbot can gather information and send it to your system for future use. All you need is to create keywords, design the bot’s structure, and drag-and-drop elements in the SendPulse flow builder.

It’s important to think about the architecture and logic structure of your bot carefully. A well-designed bot will let users easily get a reply to their questions or place an order successfully by providing the necessary information.

Choosing a Trigger for Your Flow

By default, there are “Welcome message,” “Standard reply,” and “Unsubscribe from bot” flows. And you can create your own new triggers to get more functionality.

Choose your bot. Navigate to the “Bot Structure” tab and choose a trigger.

Welcome Message Flows

The flow starts after a user subscribes to your chatbot.

This flow introduces your bot to users. Here you can write about your bot and its features - how the bot can be useful, what information bot can provide, and how often bot will send messages and the content of those messages.

Standard Reply

The flow will launch in response to any user question that is outside your bot’s scenario, or by sending an image to a bot. Here you can add a message with information, that a manager will contact during them during business hours and reply to the user.

You can set up a cool down interval for launching a flow that is between 1 minute and 24 hours - so your bot won’t launch a second time within the specified interval.

Unsubscription from Bot

This a flow with one message element that will launch after a user unsubscribes using the /stop or /unsubscribe command.

Trigger Flow

You can add keywords - triggers, that your bot will react to and launch your flow.

Click “Create a new trigger.” Write your command using one or several words. For example, you can use the words “Order,” “Tickets,” “Price,” or “Delivery.”

If the user enters part of a keyword linked to your command, your bot will suggest prompts such as a button with the name of your trigger. When the user clicks the button, the flow will launch.

To disable this feature, go to your chatbot settings and select the "Disable bot suggestions when entered messages do not match a keyword" option.

Building Your Flow

It’s important to think about the architecture and logic structure of your bot carefully. A well-designed bot will let users easily get a reply to their questions or place an order successfully by providing the necessary information.

Formulate the bot’s tasks, divide its functions into sections, think of how you will connect the elements, and start creating your bot’s flow using our drag-and-drop builder.

All the elements available in the builder are optional, you can even stop building after the first message element.

We recommend checking out the different varieties of chatbots and strategies for building your bot on our blog.

Message

This element is always the start of a flow. Add a button to link it to other blocks.

Text

Within the “Message” element select the text element type and add the text of your message. Also, you can add emoji and variables to personalize your messages.

To add a variable click {} in the right corner of the text block and choose the variable you want to add from the drop-down menu. If you have a value for this variable in the user’s contact information, they will receive a message with the value filled in.

Adding a button to a message

You can add the following types of variables:

  • Custom variables for contacts. You can transfer variables when a user subscribes. Set and update variables manually in the "Audience" section. Set and update variables automatically in the flow with the following elements: "Action - set variable," "User input," and "API request."
  • System variables. You can insert the text of the last message from the subscriber using the last_message variable. You can also display the subscriber ID using contact_id.
  • Global variables. You can create your own variables in the bot settings and use messages with predefined values that will be general to all of your subscribers. By default, $bot_name and $bot_id are available.

Buttons

You need to add a button or user input element to the message element if you want to connect it with other elements in your flow. This is one of the most important elements for communicating with your users - buttons engage users and let them chose a direction for your bot to take them to the next part of your flow.

Click the "+ Add button" to add a button to the message.

Adding a button to a message

Select the type of button: "Continue flow," "Link" or "Payment."

Name your button in the first field. Note, you are limited to 20 characters. Also, you can add emoji to the button’s text.

The text on the button should be easily understandable - it’s important for users to understand what will happen when they click on the button and know what specifically they need to choose. Make sure that the next element in your flow corresponds to what the button says it will do to maintain the logic of your bot.

For a button with the "Link" type, you can also attach a link to a third-party resource.

Please note: To allow the user to continue the conversation by clicking on the link button, you need to activate the "Link Tracking" option in the chatbot settings under the "General" tab.

After the button details are set, click "Add."

Saving a button in a message

We recommend adding “Back” and “Back to main” buttons after all the information you add, so users can change their choice and choose another path through your flow. This prevents the logic of your bot from being trapped or broken with one message.

Not more than three buttons can be added under one element.

Images

Diversify your messages by using visual content that relates to your text.

Click the Select file button to upload an image from your computer or device, or drag and drop a file into the upload field.

Uploading images to a message

For better display in Messenger choose an image resolution of 500 px in width and 200 px in height. It looks both good for desktop and mobile apps.

To upload an image from a link, select "Upload image by URL" in the drop-down menu and specify the link to the image in the field.

Uploading images to a message

You can also specify a dynamic path to the image. For example, using the "API request" element or from the a360 event, launching the flow via API, you can send a product picture and use this variable in the following message, displaying order data to the client.

To do this, select a variable or specify a JSON path in the field and pass the path to the image in the variable's value. Thus, each client will receive an image according to their order.

Сards

The carousel format allows you to showcase up to 10 cards. In one card you can add an image, title – with up to 40 characters, description – with up to 80 characters and 3 buttons with link to an external source or with a phone number to call. To add more cards click + on the right.

The service allows you to add up to ten cards in one element. To switch between the cards, click the arrow buttons. To delete a card, click the cross button. 

If you add two or more cards in the editor field, they will show up in a row and go beyond the block.

File

You can add files in any format excluding executable files, with a size of up to 5 MB. Attach your brochures, tickets, commercial proposals, or other additional media.

Delay

Divide long texts into passages up to 4 lines with the “Delay” element. This element will imitate typing by showing the typing animation and gives your user a rest before the next message.

Click the “Add” button and choose the “Delay” element. Enter a value in seconds - from 1 to 5.

Input indicator details

A message is not sent when the indicator is shown. Correlate the time of typing and the size of the message it is displayed before.

User Input

You can gather information from users and save it to a variable for future use.Users can enter any value and you only need to set up the type of validation for this value — string (for text values), number, date, phone number, email address, URL, or regular expression.

Activate “Wait for the subscriber's response”. Choose the validation type, add a warning message for users who enter the wrong value, and choose the variable where you want to store information.

Input indicator details

The received email address, phone number, and other user data are saved in the automatically generated mailing list from our Email service.

You can also choose the period to wait for a response from the user. If the user does not respond within the selected time, the wait for a response from the user will expire and the chatbot will no longer check the entered data for validity to record user's response.

Input indicator details

Also, under the message, you can add quick replies buttons – so users can choose from predefined responses instead of typing their own.

Сlick "Quick replies" in the "User input" element and enter values for the buttons – you can add up to 10 Quick reply buttons.

You can add quick replies for data with the "String," "Number," and "Regular expressions" validation types. For example, enter a specific word by the user, enter the quantity of a product, or select a product category.

For data with the "Phone" and "Email" validation types, the messenger prompts the users to use the contact details of their account.

Learn more: "How to Use Regular Expressions in Chatbots"

You can divide your scenario and send the next message, depending on whether the user entered the requested data (green dot branch) or not (red dot branch).

Quick Replies

Also there is another type of quick reply, this one does not save user’s information – but you can use it to extend the limits of button amounts and tie each button to the next branch of the flow.

Adding a quick reply

Type the text and press "Enter" to save it. The input field in quick replies is limited to 20 characters. Click the cross in the quick reply box to delete it.

To add a new element to the "Message" block, click "Add" and select the necessary element.

Adding new elements to a message

Delete an element with the bin button, move it up and down with the arrow buttons. The buttons appear when you pause a mouse pointer on an element.

Flow

It allows you to link another flow to the one you are creating. Drag the "Flow" block to the editor and link it to a button or a quick reply, which will trigger this flow. In the "Flow" panel, open the "Start another flow" drop-down menu and select the flow you want to add.

Selecting a flow

Filter

Segment customers based on their personal information and history of receiving your previous messages. Select the Filter element in the left sidebar and drag it after the element that will start your branching scripts.

Then select the condition itself. You can filter by:

  • variable value (all types - string, number, email, phone, and link);
  • assigned tag;
  • participation in the flow;
  • campaigns received;
  • run time.

Combine conditions by adding the operators “any” or “all,”, or add independent additional conditions.

After adding conditions, add the additional flow elements to each of the Filter element options if the condition is met (green dot) or not met (red dot).

Action

Only you can see the “Action” element, it will not provide content to your users. Choose this element from the left panel and drop it near the block you want to link. Then choose which action you want to add.

Choosing an action

Open the Chat

Choose the “Open the chat” action for a personal consultation - this is for cases when chatbot’s work is done and the user wants personal communication. This action will open a live chat with the bot’s admin. 

You can turn off bot auto-replies when opening a chat flows. This will help in cases where the subscriber is already waiting for a manager and so that the bot won’t send a message at that moment.

Also, you can set up email notifications for the manager about an open chat that will be sent to the email addresses used to register the account or enable web notifications in the browser.

Unsubscribe from the Bot

Users can unsubscribe from your bot with the /stop and /unsubscribe commands, but also you can set up that automatically. Use the “Unsubscribe from the bot” action for the branch of your scenario where you need to delete users from your audience list to never send them messages again.

Add Tags

Add tags to mark user’s preferences and use them to create more personalized campaigns in the future.

Remove Tags

Remove an existing tag from a user if it becomes irrelevant.

Add Variables

Add a value for the variable to use information in the future - it can be information about an order or personal data, which will help filter your audience for targeted campaigns.

For numbers and dates, you can specify dynamic values. To add or subtract the value of a variable, type in value +1 or -1. If the current value is empty, the count will be from zero for numbers and from the current date for dates.

Use this opportunity to keep the information in your system always up to date. For example, if you have a limited supply and need to count it, complete or implement a survey, you can add additional flow branches depending on the value of the variable.

Send Webhooks

Add this action after an event, about which you want to be notified. For example, if a specific client just made an order. Your CRM will get a POST request with that subscribers’ data, and any variables and tags that the bot gathered.

To add an element to the flow choose the “Send webhook” action. In the first field enter a name for the webhook so that you can easily find it by name in your system and filter it. In the second field add a link to your handler where the POST request will be sent.

Create deal

You can integrate a chatbot with your CRM. To do this, add the “Action - Сreate deal” element after a specific user action, for example, clicking the Submit order button.

Select a pipeline and deal stage — the pipeline and stage to place a deal card. Then, enter a deal name. You can also add a variable to the deal name to pass custom data.

Pause

This is the period during which no automatic messages are sent to the subscriber. The pause can be set in minutes, hours, or days.

You can choose to pause in between using the "Time period" option or until a specific time using the "Till time" option.

Select the "Time period" option and set a pause between sending flow elements from 1 minute to 24 hours. Use it in a flow, for example, to warm up a client. After the specified time, the next message will be sent.

Please note: Facebook only allows the following message to be sent after user interaction for 24 hours.

If you select a pause of more than 1 day between elements, you can set the time at which the message will be sent. The system considers the next day any time after 00:00 according to the time zone set in the settings of your personal account.

Also, you can select "Till time" and set a delay until a particular time. For example, you can use this option to indicate business hours or promotion hours.

Also, using the "Pause" element, you can set the condition for executing the next element of the flow: always or when the subscriber is inactive.

API Request

Send requests to a third party server to create objects or retrieve data. Get data and use it in your chatbot messages.

You can save the received data to a variable or add it to a message as JSONPath.

Drag the "API Request" element to the workspace, connect it to the element, after which you want to retrieve data. Select the type of request and enter the URL to send the request to.

Selecting a flow

After testing the request and receiving a successful response, configure the mapping settings. If you need to save the value from the response to a variable, select the key from the received request and the variable to save to. If you want to use the received value once without saving it to a variable, copy {{$ ['somekey'] ['nestedkey']}} and use it in the next message element.

Selecting a flow

Random choice

Send elements from your chatbot script at random for A/B testing, creating quizzes, and more. You can customize the size of the recipient group for each option and send random information and test different chatbot scenarios.

Drag the item "Random choice" element to the working area, connect it to the item you start branching the script from.

Adjust the ratio for each option — what percentage of users will receive each option. The higher the value, the more users will get this option.

Save and Launch Your Flow

When you finished creating your flow and have looked over all of the elements, save your flow before exiting. Click “Save and send it to yourself” to test the flow and check if everything is working correctly.

After that, you can exit your flow by clicking “Save and exit.”

Managing Your Flows

You can enable and disable flows at any time by choosing a flow and switching it on or off from your chatbot dashboard.

Disabled flows will have a grey switch.

Analyze Your Results

SendPulse allows you to track general statistics on a chatbot in the "Statistics" tab.

You can see the number of messages sent and read, redirects from the flow, both in total and separately for each message in the "Bot structure" tab.

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