Instagram Chatbots and How Brands can Use them?

Instagram Chatbots and How Brands can Use them?


Let’s dive in! Conversational commerce is transferred into the familiar and personal context of messaging apps, transforming the customer experience by making it more convenient for both businesses and customers. Customers with Instagram are used to message their friends directly to ask for their opinion and advice while shopping. Besides this they also make purchases and post stories to show off what they buy.

Brands can create a positive impression on potential shoppers just by being present on Instagram. This statement is supported by the fact that the surveyed people  perceive brands on Instagram as popular (78%), creative (77%), entertaining (76%) and relevant (74%).

What is an Instagram chatbot?


A chatbot is an automated conversation partner. It makes a conversation between a human and a computer easier. 

So what is an Instagram chatbot then? It is an automated conversation partner on Instagram Direct. That’s it!

Usually, you have a conversation with another human on Instagram, but with chatbots, you don’t talk with a real person but with a computer.

Around 2010, Twitter was flooded by bots, which started to follow people, make posts and forward messages produced by other bots or written by human users. They were bots that exclusively produced texts. After  a while, Apple’s Siri provided interaction with cellphones through speech. It became popular soon. A year after, Rollo Carpenter launched Cleverbot,  the first artificial intelligence program, which passed the modified Turing test (surveying people about a possibility to identify whether it is a person or a machine that is interacting with them). In the same year, IBM’s Watson won Jeopardy (an American TV show). Two years later, WeChat was launched in China.  A long time elapsed until we reached this moment of greater popularity dating back to the first efforts to produce a conversational software program, such as Eliza (1966), Parry (1971) and Alice (2009).

 We have seen an evolution from text-based to speech-based systems, which try to recognize demands via sound, offering satisfactory answers via speech as well. Smart personal assistants that communicate by voice have become popular in recent years, because they have been designed by major technology, such as Siri (Apple, 2011), Cortana (Microsoft, 2014), Alexa (Amazon, 2014) and Google Assistant (Google, 2018).

There will be an estimated 640 million smart speakers in use by 2024. China is the  biggest consumer market now. It experienced 16% growth last year, while other markets expanded only 3%. Another major trend is voice commerce or v-commerce. According to Gartner, in 2020, around 30% of all web browsing was done without a screen, using only voice commands. Also, according to ComScore, 50% of searches in search engines will be carried out using voice commands soon.

According to Rapp et al. (2021), we can divide chatbot usage characteristics into four categories: a) task-oriented – it is built to help users to complete a task or to solve a problem (as usually happens in customer service); b) conversation-oriented – it is aimed at maintaining a good quality of conversations with humans or establishing some form of relationship with them; c) it is oriented to both tasks and conversation; and d) undefined. Thus, marketers must specify the use they want to make of their platform according to one or more of these categories

Regarding the domain of chatbots, there are a multitude of possibilities, such as customer service (help desks), health and well-being, e-commerce, education, chat, job interviews, recommendations, emotional and social support, work and productivity, search, human resources, arts, map orientation, online communities, charity, finance, safety critical environments, group discussion and many other areas.

And now Chatbots are meeting Instagram Direct!

Why should brands use an Instagram chatbot?


Instagram has 1 billion active users every month. And 500 million users are using Instagram stories every day.

One of the good aspects of  Instagram is that mostly young people are on it. 71% of the one billion users are under the age of 35.

Besides, 50% of Instagram users follow at least one company, so an extra incentive should be there.

But here is the most important reason why you should use Instagram: 80% of Instagrammers decide whether to buy a product or service there. That’s why you should be on Instagram. 

And it would be great if you have a chatbot on Instagram, because people would be able to message you whenever they want then. You would  use that opportunity to deliver a better customer experience and increase your sales.

So, let’s talk about how you can put a chatbot on Instagram.

If you’ve ever interacted with messenger marketing tools (aka chatbots) on a Facebook page, bots for Instagram are essentially the same. BUT, there are much more limitations on Instagram right now than there are on Facebook. A funny fact: you can’t randomly message people whenever you want!

The general idea is that the bot is an automated response tool that will send specific messages via direct messaging to a user, based on the input they provide. It may be a single word or a common phrase that will trigger the automated response from the bot  when you send it via DM. It can be super helpful in providing quick responses to your audience when they have a simple question or providing them with specific information based on their needs.

For example, someone may want to know your working hours or address. Or maybe someone wants to check the status of an order. Or a potential customer might want a product info sheet or has questions about a specific product. You can easily set it up in automated responses that generate the exact answer which a person is looking for. It makes replying easier for your or your team. 

Chatbots are going to transform how you use Instagram the platform

Probably,  you have  already seen some reasons why these chatbots are going to be helpful to you on Instagram. They’re going to save your time and help you with customer service.

But, Instagram is currently built in such a way that chatbots are going to change the way you use Instagram. And, listen, I don’t say this lightly. They’re going to improve your capabilities and opportunities to communicate with your customers.

You would ask: “What do you mean? How does it work?”… Here are just some of the ways:

LINKS. Yes, links. Look, I’m for keeping the link in bio because it forces brands to be creative and avoid simply link dropping in every post. That’s why the link traffic on Instagram is so important. But bots are going to open up the floodgates for link sharing, keeping the quality of traffic relatively high.

Using the bot tool, you’ll be able to have your audience type in a keyword in a post comment and it will trigger the bot, opening up its DMs. Depending on how you build the flow, you will be able to send them the link or request their email (which you can collect through integrations) immediately before providing the link or ask a question to confirm  the link they want, or whatever.

Just think about it! Now, when you say “read the blog post” or “watch the video” or “find out more” or whatever, instead of following it up with “click the link in our bio”, you’ll say “Comment ‘Blog’ below” and boom, the bot sends them the specific link to the blog post, or your blog page, or whatever you have set up. Or if you don’t have swipe up links in Stories, just include CTA that notify you of a certain word in DM ( it’s as easy as replying to the Story post) and the same thing happens, sending them the link.

You’re getting excited right now, aren’t you? I told you it would change the way you use Instagram!

Also you have to be prepared to build and manage the chatbot flows. If you want to send another link in each post, you’re going to have  unique keywords to trigger each response and keep it updated and maintained in your chatbot management tool. So, yes, It is super cool and functional, but it’s also going to require you to do some work on the backend to keep it effective.

Do you want people to sign up for your newsletter, campaign, webinar, or event? You can send them directly to the registration page OR you can even build the registration steps  into the bot  (with more integration tools) and have export in your CRM or event platform. You can get people a free PDF guide or tutorial after they give you their email address as well. There are so many creative ways you can use this tool to provide value to your audience, connect with it quickly, and build your list.

Social listening. One of the other super handy things is that you can set up a bot to launch someone @ mentions you in a Story anytime. Talk about not missing an opportunity! Since Stories are only available for 24 hours, the bot can ensure that your team is responsive to those mentions. You could program the bot to respond with a thank you message or you are able to put in a discount code such  as  “thank you”. Also, if you were running a giveaway where you were encouraging Story posts as a condition of participation, the bot could be the automatic acknowledgement of submission which could provide people with a reminder of the giveaway terms and when the winner will be announced.

Campaign tracking. In most of these examples I’ve shared, and in many other ways, you can use the bot to manage your campaign tracking for increasing efficiency. You could track the number of giveaway entries, the number of coupon code requests (against sales conversions on the code), and email registrations or event sign ups. The bot will allow you to manage and track all these conversations so you can determine better which campaigns are most fruitful for your brand.

Strengthen your ads. Yes, chatbots can integrate with your ads as well. The ad CTA could launch the chat and open up the automated dialog. Similar to all the organic content mentioned above, you could run ads for any of the same ideas, but let the action be the DM trigger with the bot which completes the automation and still allows you to collect an email address, get some information, provide them with the item they requested and even  more.

Currently, Instagram has partly opened its doors for Instagram chatbots. Instagram has provided the following dates:

July 2021 – Instagrams accounts with more than 1,000-10,000 followers can create a chatbot 

From 16, August 2021 – All Instagram business accounts can create chatbots!

You can create a test account to test out the features of Instagram automation.



How to Create an Instagram Chatbot

If you’re all excited right now and want to start using chatbots, I feel you! Me too! But as I have already mentioned, chatbots are still a closed beta program at the time of this posting. I expect them to open up for more access soon but we don’t know who will get access and when. So be ready and stay tuned!

There are a number of tools  with approved partner access in Facebook (and therefore Instagram) that you can look into. Personally, I’m going to be using BRN as my bot brand of choice. But if you’re new to the world of bots and would like to learn more, you can try them out for free to start. 

Thus, it is fundamental for brands to be completely transparent in these relations, making it clear that conversations are being mediated through a machine, what data they are capturing and what they intend to do with it. Only by clearly and objectively providing information to customers will they come to trust in this new form of relationship.

The business landscape is changing very quickly to the point that it is hard for us to keep track of all these changes. Soon, all products will “do” things and not just “be” things.

BRN.AI — intelligent tools that include all you need for successful eCommerce and visual no-code bot builder makes it easy for anyone to create their own Instagram chatbot and build.

What you have to do is to provide access to the inaccessible! To do so, fuel people’s passions by using Instagram Stories to share the excitement of being backstage, show exclusive photos of yet-to-be-released cars or provide an unfiltered look at exotic travel destinations. 

To sum it all up, encourage your audiences to follow their passions by providing them with exciting and unique content. Then, put your sales on auto mode with Easy-To-Use Instagram pipeline management and power your sales with messaging based CRM!

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