How to Use Chatbots in a Social Media Strategy – for Fun and Profit

The social media marketing arena and, more generally, the digital marketing world is inevitably one of the most dynamic, innovative and disrupting sectors, with new technologies popping up almost weekly and swarms of tools and products being launched almost daily. One of the latest and most exciting innovations in this area is undoubtedly represented by “chatbots”, virtual assistants who can autonomously interact with users and prospects on Messenger, Telegram and many other platforms (even more exotic ones such as Amazon Echo or Microsoft Cortana) and manage in total independence information request, lead acquisition, first-level customer care and even complete e-commerce transactions.

Given the power with which this innovation is sweeping magazines and blogs (mainly related to social media but also more “pop” ones – even Vogue has launched its own chatbot!) and especially their practical effect, in this article we will explain in bit more details the “chatbots” phenomenon, showing you why this is really a trend to follow today and, above all, giving you a practical way to easily start offering to your customers this new, intriguing and powerful social media marketing tool.

What are chatbots?

Let’s start with the basics and define what a chatbot is – without getting too technical but trying nonetheless to understand a bit better what happens “under the hood”

A chatbot is, in its simplest and most essential form, a software that integrates with a messaging or virtual assistant platform such as Messenger, Telegram, Slack, Cortana or Amazon Echo and knows how to intercept and reply to messages that users send using that system. For example a Messenger chatbot is linked to a Facebook page and thanks to a very well documented API it is able to “hook” itself to the page getting called whenever someone sends a message, activating its internal algorithm so that it can interact autonomously with that person, either by triggering certain answers based on specific “keywords” that the user has typed or trying to interpret the “intent” of the message through artificial intelligence and natural language processing mechanisms, responding as appropriately as possible.

As you can see from this simple description, the flexibility of such a tool enables marketers and digital entrepreneurs to provide a full, rich and effective conversation allowing users to query a knowledge base, receive 24/7, 365 days a year automated yet possibly complete and useful customer support or consult catalogs, lists of articles and breaking news in a natural and engaging way.

Why yes and why now

Analyzing deeper the reasons why chatbots are a unique opportunity, right now and right here, we can identify at least five good because, 5 compelling arguments (actually, 4 + 1 “bonus” 😉 that should convince any social media marketer to start studying, designing and deploying chatbots – today.

Interaction is natural

If you think about it, the most natural way that mankind has to interact with other people (humans, businesses or brand), engage and discover the world is using “conversations”: ask questions, get answers, and proceed in a logical and chronological way through a series of verbal interactions with an “other” than themselves. Although artificial intelligence has not yet reached levels that mimics a real human (don’t let the marketing fool you about this…), chatbots already allow people to access the same information that could be provided by a website or a book through a discursive, interactive and definitely more natural interface, using questions and answers.

Billions of people are already chatting, every day

The number of monthly users of the major messaging platforms have already surpassed the people that use the “Big 4” social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin): people love to “chat” especially on platforms such as Facebook Messenger (where every month almost one and a half billion users talks and interacts with friends, relatives, businesses and brand). The potential market is really immense, made by virtually every single person who has a connection to the Internet – no matter on what device.

Bots are always accessible from any device, anytime

Speaking about devices, at least 75%of people use the chat apps from their smartphones: what this means is that with a chatbot you will always be right in the pockets of your users, prospects and customers – who, as you can easily imagine (and see for yourself), are ready to respond very swiftly to any alert from their phones, especially those from chat apps. In addition to this, Messenger and other platforms “remember” what’s been said and the answers received, allowing the user to continue the conversion path that the marketer will have defined very naturally, almost without realizing it and no matter on what device, situation or moment he is chatting.

There is still little competition

If up until now we have seen why it makes (a lot of) sense to start using chatbots, we will now define why it’s important to start right now.

The first, main reason is that there still is (relatively) little competition. Of the 20 million pages currently existing on Facebook, for example, only 100,000 have an associated chatbot – less than 0.5%. Agencies, companies and consultants fast and smart enough to understand today the immense potential of this tool still have the chance to leverage such a powerful channel before the rest of the competition, gaining quickly the positions from which it will be very difficult to remove them. Remember the first businesses that have used SEO or Social Media Marketing?

They are (relatively) easy to make

The last (but not least!) reason, the “bonus” we mentioned before, it is that despite what might appear creating chatbots for clients and for oneself is, after all, quite simple to do.

Leaving aside the direct use of the API of the various platforms – obviously those with programming skills can start from scratch and write their own bot in the language they prefer, from PHP to Python, Java or C# – there are are a few platforms for creating chatbots that, a bit like WordPress does for websites, enable non-technical professionals, consultants and marketers to design, create and manage powerful bots ready to be used on Messenger, Slack Telegram and other platforms..

A Google search for “chatbot builder” should always provide the freshest results and allow anyone with reasonable computer skills to develop and deploy their own chatbot, often within minutes.

What do you think about all this? Have you already made a chatbot for you or any of your customers? Do you have doubts or questions? Comments are open!

Silvio Porcellana is an entrepreneur, marketers and coder working on the Interweb since 1999. In 2017 he created ChatbotsBuilder, a complete, simple and free-to-use platform for building Facebook Messenger chatbots.

Why React JS is Most Likely to Overcast Webpage Designing

A brainchild of Facebook, React JS is a front-end JavaScript framework. It is also known as the V in MVC (Model View Controller), but it has proven to be much larger than that. Once used for internal developments in Facebook org, React JS was extended to Instagram once it was integrated with Facebook. The Facebook team started experimenting with React JS to construct the Website Application of Instagram. After much thought and discussion the Facebook team decided to gift the React Framework as an open source project to the world and nothing has been same ever since.

React is gaining popularity among developers as it eases the procedure to create interactive UIs. Some of the notable React websites include Facebook Messenger.com and Instagram’s Web Application. React lets developers design views for each state in their application using a simple approach and React updates and renders the correct components when the data changes.

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It is not wrong to speculate that React JS is most likely to overcast webpage designing and below you can find a few reasons why it is inevitable.

# Easy to learn and easy to use

React brings forward a pool of tools surrounded by an easy learning curve. React can be termed as a simple and small library that deals with the view layer of development. Any developer who wishes to try his/her hand at React can start developing after a few tutorials, many of which are available online.

It may take a little time to get your thought process in sync with React, but once it reaches an equilibrium, you can create awesome projects with ease. As you gain experience with React, it will not only be easy but fruitful to work in React than a conventional JavaScript framework.

# React JS makes JavaScript coding easier to a great extent

React JS uses JSX, which is an object-oriented programming (OOP) language aimed to run on new-age web browsers. JSX compiles the code faster than the same code compiled with JavaScript only and allows the developers to mix HTML and JavaScript. HTML can be integrated into the render function without the need to concatenate strings and once you get the hang of it, you would like to continue. React alters those strands of HTML into functions using JSX Transformer.

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# Components make the future brighter

Being able to create self-contained, easily importable and customizable elements is the need and SHADOW DOM and PolymerJS have been generating a lot of buzz within the developers. This helps the developers drastically but React elevates this to another level

React doesn’t make use of Shadow DOM but it gives the developers the facility to build their own components that can be reused, combined and nested later as well. This gives a productivity boost to the developers and the biggest feature of React JS is the ease of defining and manipulation of the components.

# React JS is a friend of SEO

JavaScript frameworks and Search Engines are not exactly the best friends a developer wants them to be. In-spite of multiple improvements over time, search engines still get troubled when they have to read JavaScript-heavy applications. React overcomes these issues and renders the virtual DOM which returns to the browser as a general web page. Once you implement React JS, you have no need for PhantomJS and other renders.

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# React provides out of the box tools

React offers the developers numerous tools, one of which is their all helpful official React Chrome extension. It makes debugging a breeze and once you install the extension, you have a bucket of features at your fingertips. Once installed, developers can get a direct peep into the virtual DOM just as if browsing a DOM tree in the elements panel which makes it as helpful as it can be.

# Easy Testing and Clean Abstraction

React JS makes testing a simple process as React views are treated as functions which can be manipulated with the state to pass to the React JS view and take a look at the output and triggered events. One more feature of React is that it doesn’t uncover any complex internals to the user which provides a clean abstraction. You only need to understand a component’s life cycles, states and props to master React to accomplish everything you need.

# Quick Prototyping

React enables fast prototyping which has been cited as a huge bonus by designers and developers. Quick prototyping not only gives developers more feedback opportunities but also helps them engage clients and customers sooner before code clusters it all.

Published in 2014, React is still a child in the arena of JavaScript frameworks. Nevertheless, it is quickly gaining momentum as highly paid developers are moving to React JS at Dropbox, HipChat, Lyft and many more notable ventures.

We encourage developers to check React JS out for your next project or even for a side project. React JS has proved to an extremely flexible and useful tool for developers. With the pool of features, it provides, React JS is most likely to overcast webpage designing in the near future. Even the internet provides a number of React JS tutorial from where you can learn the ins and outs of this Facebook’s prodigy framework.

Pursuing a Challenging Career in Mobile App Development

The latest mobile app market no longer seems to be limited to only the general users. It has now extended its reach to the institutional and business users. This dynamic, progressive, and ever-expanding industry along with its immense opportunities for generating revenue has attracted business conglomerates apart from the usual customers. No other job could be more fulfilling, challenging, and greener than that of a mobile app developer’s. This actually, refers to an app developer who is competent in designing, building or maintaining mobile apps for predominantly Android and iOS platforms. There are, however, numerous other platform options such as Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian, and Psion. But the two giants namely Android and iOS are grabbing over 99.3 % of the entire market.

Reasons that Inspire You to Become a Mobile App Developer

  • The attraction of designing something innovative, novel, and fresh.
  • The golden chance of reinventing the manner in which mobile technology is being utilized.
  • In reality, mobile app developers could be working from anywhere they wish as long as they have access to a good SDK and a stable Internet connectivity.

The Desired Skill-Set

A mobile app developer must essentially possess sound knowledge and proficiency in software development skills. He must possess a bachelor’s degree in either Computer Science or some other allied discipline such as Mobile Computing, Software Engineering, and Mobile Application Development etc. Here are some of the basic app development skills you are expected to master.

  • A sound knowledge in the principles of stable and secure software designing
  • A thorough understanding of the lifecycle and software development process
  • Exposure to and experience in some development methodology
  • Professionally qualified having sound knowledge in at least two programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, SQL, C++ or C#, PHP, Python, Rails, and Ruby etc.

Training programs: You could complete relevant training programs from a college or university. Moreover, there are certain reputed online training providers who specialize in mobile app development. You could pursue training programs such as ‘Certified iOS App Developer’ or ‘Certified Android App Developer’ offered by Simplilearn. These types of app development training programs would help you stay abreast with the latest in the industry.

Certifications: At present there are only three accredited certifications in mobile application development.

  • Oracle Certified Professional (OCP)
  • Oracle Certified Associate (OCA)
  • CompTIA Mobile App Security+

If you wish to join a reputable Mobile App Development Company in Mumbai you need to stay updated on the relevant knowledge pertaining to the domain.

Some Key Responsibilities of a Mobile App Developer

A competent mobile app developer would need to take care of a few key responsibilities. He would be responsible for:

  • Developing, testing and improving mobile apps
  • Maintaining functionality and quality as per client’s requirements
  • Writing code for apps
  • Designing and developing the app’s interface
  • Conveying unique ideas and designs to group members

Conclusion

There is a constant demand for an innovative and novel mobile app and this demand seems to be growing rapidly. As such, there exist plenty of job opportunities for talented and competent budding mobile app developers either as a freelancer or as full-time employees in any reputed app development company.

Author Bio: Walter Moore is a passionate blogger and an experienced mobile app developer. He wishes to encourage amateur app developers. He recommends a reliable Mobile App Development Company in Mumbai for professional and competent services.