Instagram chatbots, what are they and how to use them?

By Joren Wouters Updated on

Instagram chatbots, what are they and how to use them?

Lately, more and more people are asking me about Instagram chatbots.

What are Instagram Chatbots? And can you use them to get more sales or reduce your costs?

I will cover it all in this new post.

Let’s dive in.

 

What is an Instagram chatbot?

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

So what is an Instagram chatbot then?

An Instagram chatbot is an automated conversation partner on Instagram.

Usually, you would have a conversation with another human on Instagram, but with chatbots, you are not talking with another human, but with a computer.

How this can look on Instagram:

instagram-chatbot

 

Why should you use an Instagram chatbot?

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

What is even better about 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 why should be on there.

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

With that many people on this platform, and users deciding whether to buy a product or not, you should be on there.

And it would even better if you have a chatbot on Instagram, because people can then message you whenever they want. And you can 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.

 

Who can create an Instagram chatbot?

Instagram business accounts can create Instagram chatbots, regardless of the number of followers they have.

 

How to Create an Instagram Chatbot

Now, I will show you how you can create your own Instagram chatbot.

If you are not much of a reader, you can also watch my Youtube video:

Create an Instagram Test Account

If you want to test out the features of Instagram chatbots, you need to create a test account on Instagram.

Just go to Instagram and create a new business account with a handle starting with “test_”.

For example, I created the @test_chatimize account to create this tutorial.

By the way, you need to make sure that this test account is a business account and that it is connected to a Facebook Business account.

If you haven’t connected your Instagram account to a Facebook Business account, go to one of your pages on Facebook, click on Settings –> Instagram.

Here, you can click on Connect account and connect the two accounts to each other:

connect-instagram-facebook-business

 

Connect ManyChat to Instagram

Once you have an Instagram test account or an account with at least 10,000 followers, we can start with creating our Instagram chatbot.

To create our Instagram chatbot, we are going to use ManyChat, which is one of the best chatbot builders for Instagram. If you don’t have an account yet, click on the button below and create your ManyChat account.

Create ManyChat Account

NOTEIf you want to use ManyChat for Instagram chatbots, ManyChat is 100% Free.

When you’ve created your ManyChat account, go to Settings –> Instagram, and click on Connect:

connect-manychat-instagram

Next, you can select one of your Facebook Pages that is connected with your Instagram account. In my case it is ‘Chatimize Test’, so I will click on that one:

select-instagram-account

And now we’ve successfully connected ManyChat to Instagram.

Let’s say, we are a company and we want to use an Instagram chatbot to automatically reply to questions of potential customers.

Then, we can start by setting up our Conversation Starters.

 

Set up Conversation Starters on Instagram

When somebody wants to start a conversation with your Instagram account, Conversation Starters will automatically be shown to the user.

And this is really useful, because you can guide the user in a certain direction.

So, go to Settings –> Instagram –> Conversation Starters –> Edit:

create-instagram-conversation-starter

And here, we can just type in a Conversation Starter, for example, “What are your opening times?”:

instagram-conversation-starter-setup

Then, we can click on Create New Message and ManyChat will automatically make a new flow for us.

You can just click on the first message and edit the message to something else:

manychat-edit-message-instagram

 

And then you need to hit Publish on the upper right corner so that the flow is really live.

Now, you need to go back to your Conversation Starters and you need to Activate the Conversation Starters and click on Update:

instagram-conversation-starter-activate

Now, our conversation starters are showing on your Instagram account!

But this will only work for Conversation Starters. What if somebody asks us about our opening times, without using the Conversation Starter?

Then, we can use ManyChat Keywords to automatically reply to questions!

 

Automatically reply to questions on Instagram DM

In ManyChat, we can set up a keyword that will automatically reply if someone types in a specific phrase, such as “opening times”.

So, if we go back to our opening times flow, we can add a trigger by clicking on Add trigger:

add-instagram-keyword-trigger

Then, you need to search for “keyword” and select the Keyword Instagram:

manychat-keyword-instagram-trigger

Here, you need to set it to message contains and fill in “opening times”:

instagram-keyword-manychat

What this will do, is when somebody sends a message to your Instagram account and the message contains “opening times”, you Instagram chatbot will automatically reply with “We are open every day from 09:00 tot 17:00.”

 

Reply to questions your chatbot does not understand (Default Reply)

But what if your chatbot doesn’t know the answer to a question? Then we need to use the Default Reply in ManyChat.

The Default Reply is the flow that responds to your user if your chatbot doesn’t know the answer to a question.

And to be honest, this is the most important flow of your entire chatbot. Because if your chatbot doesn’t know the answer, and you don’t provide a good backup, your potential customer will leave dissatisfied. And you don’t want that.

Let’s go back to Settings –> Instagram, and next to Default Reply, click on Edit:

edit-default-reply-instagram

Then, you need to click on Edit flow (upper right corner) and set the first step of the flow to an Instagram Message:

first-instagram-message

The next thing we will do is apologize for not giving an answer and asking if the question should be forwarded to a human.

We can do this by selecting the User Input element and asking the question:

manychat-instagram-question

Then, you need to set the Reply Type to Multiple Choice (so the user can reply to buttons) and create a new custom field called Forward to human:

new-user-field-manychat

Just leave the name of the custom field as it is and set the Type to Text:

create-user-field-manychat

Then, scroll down until you see “Skip button text” and remove the “Skip” in the field:

remove-skip-button-text

This will make sure that people cannot skip this question. The last thing we will do is add two buttons for “Yes” and “No” by clicking on + Quick Reply:

manychat-add-buttons-question

Now, the answer to the question will be stored in the custom field “Forward to human”. So the next thing we will do is check what the answer to the question is. We can do that by adding a condition to the flow:

manychat-add-condition-instagram

And fill in the name of the custom field (Forward to human) and checking if it contains “Yes”:

manychat-instagram-condition-contents

Then, we can create two messages. One for the Yes option and one for the No option:

manychat-instagram-condition

Now, we are almost done. We only need to set the conversation to “Open”, so that we can reply to using the Livechat feature of ManyChat.

So, we can add an action that will mark the conversation as open:

manychat-instagram-conversation-open

And that’s it! Just hit the Publish button and you’re done!

Now, if your chatbot doesn’t understand the question, it will ask whether the conversation should be forwarded to a human and if the user wants that, a human can take over the conversation by using the Livechat feature of ManyChat.

By the way, if you want to see the chatbot in action, go to my @test_chatimize Instagram account and start a conversation!

 

Can you create an Instagram chatbot with a personal profile?

No, if you want to create an Instagram chatbot, you need to have an Instagram business account.

 

Now It’s Your Turn

And that’s how you create your own Instagram chatbot.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Do you already use Instagram chatbots?

Or do you want other tutorials about Instagram chatbots?

Either way, please leave a comment below.

instagram-chatbot-thumb

Comments (27)

  1. Dimitris_Alfapro

    I like!!!

    1. Lenore Ava Jaffe

      Can a chatbot be used on my Square space homepage to personalize the experience by asking what the user wants to look at first? I am thinking of a completely automated bot with no human backup. I am planning a complete rebuild. It is a site that will have 2 artists, 2 subject matter options (educational/engagement opportunities) and a store for affordable options. Also how will I know if you answer this question?

      1. Joren Wouters

        Hey Lenore! Yes, you can create a chatbot and place it on your Squarespace homepage.

        1. Lenore Ava Jaffe

          What service do you recommend for this proposed chatbot? Can it be free or inexpensive?

  2. RpgChatbot

    Wait does this mean i have to pay for ads?

    1. Joren Wouters

      If you want to use ads, you need to pay for them.

  3. RpgChatbot

    We want to make a simple chat bot for our game using Instagram private message like start the game using “!start” Command and “!help” and other commands which will be used. Is there a way we could do it for free?

    1. Joren Wouters

      Currently not… But Instagram is working on opening its platform for chatbots, so hopefully, this will be possible in the coming months!

  4. Punit

    Is there any way we can reach out for Instagram APIs (any email id)?

    1. Joren Wouters

      Unfortunately, you cannot. It is only possible to apply for the Instagram API through one of the chatbot builders, such as ManyChat, Chatfuel or MobileMonkey. And even then the possibility that you are included in the Beta is really small.

  5. Jane

    Use the smmbot.net service, you can use it to create a chat bot on Instagram.

    1. Joren Wouters

      Thank you for the suggestion, I will have a look at it 🙂

  6. Priya Sharma

    chat bots can be very helpful for responding on the queries of the customers on time, hi there! thanks for sharing this informative article with us its really very helpful for me.

    1. Joren Wouters

      Thank you 🙂

  7. Lordee Mastrow

    Hi there! I wish more companies will be allowed to connect IG to their conversational motors, but until then, lets try Manychat or Chatfuel! thanks for this.

    1. Joren Wouters

      Hey Lordee! Yes, I would like that too. But for now, we still need to wait for the official release to come…

  8. Priya Sharma

    Hi there I am doing some self learning about instagram marketing and I must say that this article i very helpful for me, using chatbots can really be very helpful for a brand.

  9. Ruby Gayle

    I was reading Instagram marketing, and i got your blog. After reading this whole blog, I got some new information regarding Instagram chatbot. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    1. Joren Wouters

      Thank you, Ruby!

  10. isaac

    when i reply chat bot still replying with me in the same time

    1. Joren Wouters

      Hey Isaac! What is your question precisely?

  11. Daria

    Hey, thanks for the article, it was very useful. Can you please answer, what chatbot would you recommend for a small store on Instagram? Smmbot, manychat, maybe other

    1. Joren Wouters

      I would recommend to use ManyChat.

  12. Dinesh

    Is this mandate to have account with 10k followers to integrate chatbot. What if its an new account and need to have chat automation. It this possible?

    1. Joren Wouters

      Hey Dinesh! Yes, you can now use Instagram chat automation with every business account, regardless of the number of followers you have 🙂

  13. Derek Aitken

    Excellent tutorial! Thank you.

    1. Joren Wouters

      Glad that you liked it, Derek!

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