Chatbots are being used more and more by businesses for social media and customer service purposes. Chatbots for social media are great ways for small businesses to provide consistent customer service, drive conversions, and reach more people online. Many of us have probably interacted with a chatbot at some point in time, whether we realized it or not!
The use of this technology is expanding, and there are many chatbot pros and cons to consider when deciding to use one for your business. While positive aspects like chatbot sales and streamlined customer service are great, some business owners find things like the lack of human connection to be unappealing. Consider these top chatbot pros and cons if you’re deciding whether to use one for your small business.
What are Chatbots for Social Media?
A chatbot is a type of artificial intelligence software that imitates human conversation and interaction. Chatbots are often used by companies to initiate a conversation with a customer on their website or social media pages. It can provide answers to simple questions when prompted, and it’s great for making a positive first impression when interacting with your business for the first time. Some examples of common chatbots for social media are:
- Menu & button-based chatbots. These chatbots are the most basic and most commonly used by businesses today. Users choose from a selection of button options to answer common FAQs.
- Rule-based chatbots. These chatbots use if/then logic to create a more human interaction for users. Users type in their own simple questions and the chatbot answers them based on the rules written into the bot.
- Keyword recognition-based chatbots. These chatbots use keyword recognition to serve answers to users based on what they write. This bot can provide a wider range of answers than a rule-based bot.
Social media is a huge resource for small businesses when it comes to generating leads and attracting new customers. Chatbots have proven to be effective in serving iPhone repair shop in NYC customers and other customer-centric businesses. They can quickly answer people’s questions and concerns, helping businesses stand out from the crowd when one is out shopping.. They can answer people’s questions and concerns quickly, helping a business stick out from the crowd when someone is shopping around.
Chatbot sales are also a new arena that small businesses have been experimenting with to drive conversions and gain new customers. According to Business of Apps, Instagram has over 140 million users in the U.S., making it a huge market for potential customers. People are shopping online with more frequency. Using chatbots to sell products and services in-app is an untapped avenue that many small businesses are taking advantage of.
Pros of Using Social Media Chatbots
There are benefits of using chatbots for social media. Consider the following positives when deciding if using one would be a good fit for your small business marketing plan.
Instant 24/7 Communication
People are online at all hours of the day and night. Using chatbots for social media can give your customers the answers they need without the help of a human customer service representative. Customers and potential clients can get instant, consistent answers at any time. This is extremely convenient, creates a positive first impression, and can potentially drive conversions for your business.
Generate Leads and Drive Conversions
Since interaction with a company is instant and convenient with social media chatbots, there is an increased opportunity to generate leads and gain customers. Based on information gathered from chatbots, businesses can gain more insight into their customer’s needs and wants. It is also extremely easy to reach out to new users on social media when using a bot, therefore gaining exposure. Businesses can also benefit from chatbot sales if they use one that allows people to buy products and services within the bot conversation.
Streamline and Save Time
Chatbots are cost efficient and will streamline many systems within a business. As a small business owner, chatbots for social media can help save time and money. To a certain degree, they can act as a replacement for a real-life customer service representative for simple customer queries. No longer do people have to wait hours or days for a human to answer simple questions. Customers can get consistent answers at any time, instantly.
Cons of Using Social Media Chatbots
There are so many benefits to using a chatbot that many people fail to look at potential cons. For some small businesses, chatbots for social media may not be a good fit for the following reasons.
No Human Connection
Although one of the pros of using chatbots for social media is the fact that they are streamlined, this can also be a con. Most customers can tell when they are talking to a bot, and that can be a turn-off for them. Getting the same generic answers every time they ask a question can be annoying. Sure, you can provide consistent answers 24/7, but there is no uniqueness to those answers because a human is not responding. People appreciate human connection, and using a chatbot doesn’t create a unique, memorable experience.
Cannot Handle Complex Issues
As of right now, most conversational chatbots can only handle responding to basic-level questions. If a potential client needs questions answered about something more complex, they will most likely need assistance from an actual human. If you use only a chatbot for social media interactions, this can cause frustration and annoyance. Chatbots will not drive conversions if they are not answering questions and end up annoying customers.
Lack of Trust
Not everyone trusts chatbots, and using one as part of your business model may cause potential clients to feel wary. If someone doesn’t have trust in the security or service of your business, they’re not going to be converted to a customer. Using a chatbot for any of your social media channels can come off as disingenuous and can leave people feeling disconnected from your brand or business.
Human Interactions vs. Chatbots for Social Media: Finding a Middle Ground
Integrating a chatbot into a small business shouldn’t be an all-or-nothing approach. Chatbots are great, but they can’t solve every single customer service and marketing issue. If you do decide to use a chatbot for your company, it’s best to use it as a complement to the human interaction employees provide for clients.
People often shop for products and services based on feelings and positive experiences. Leading with a chatbot and then following up with some amazing customer service from a human representative can really make your business stand out from the rest. Chatbots for social media can take care of a lot of the basics, allowing for the humans to fine-tune more complicated aspects of marketing and service.
Are Chatbots for Social Media Right for Your Business?
Chatbots may be commonly used nowadays, but that doesn’t mean that they are the answer for every small business. Despite the many positives of using chatbots for social media, it’s important to consider if using them truly adds value to your business marketing plan.
From law firms to construction companies, chatbots are being used by small businesses everywhere to streamline their online presence and expand their reach. If the pros outweigh the cons, it may be time to take the leap and start integrating chatbots into your marketing plan today.