Blog Your Bot Development ProcessBots are still relatively new technology, so people are naturally interested in how they come about. In the run up to launching your blog, capture the essence of how it was built, the decisions into how it converses and any debate along the way. These blog posts can be shared on social media to prepare the audience, and help spread the word that a bot is coming. They can also encourage interest from other businesses about your efforts, sparking conversations and marking your company as a technology leader, which can have its own rewards and recognition.
Launch Your Bot In StyleMost businesses, brands or agencies announce their bot with a press release and some social media efforts. The key is always to highlight the benefits of the bot, which should be well known. Spread the effort around social media platforms, your own blog posts, while encouraging influencers, or partner/aligned businesses to get involved. Differentiating your bot from rivals is a key part of the design, process. But, often, the only real differentiator is the name of the bot, so make some effort to create something memorable, we like the example linked here purely on the, perhaps inadvertent reference to Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) from Men in Black.
Build Shareable Content into the BotBots themselves aren’t naturally shareable on social media, beyond sharing the main link to it. However, by building in responses that can be shared, such as specific products or advice, you can encourage people to share what the bot produces. Make sure the bot is built to recognise people jumping into a conversation, saying ‘Hi, I see you’ve been sent a link to xxx. How can I help you?’ To make the process of joining natural before resuming normal service.
Write About Your BotWith interest in bots high, once your chatbot is up and running be prepared to share some of the detail on the results. Did user interest meet your expectations? What did you do to boost interest? Were the responses positive, and how did you go about addressing negative feedback? There are plenty of relevant websites (especially ours) for any market or trade where you can discuss the progress and plans for the bot. These can be written either as op-ed pieces, business features or similar types. Encourage the natural writers in your business to discuss the success and interest in articles, with a few infographics to encourage sharing. As well as increasing awareness of your chatbot, the web links can help improve search rankings for it and provide further opportunities to discuss as those in your industry find out about the project.
Leverage InfluencersBrands have a wider natural audience for their bot, and they can also take advantage of influencers who are more invested in the brand to promote their bot. Beyond brands, most trades, markets or vertical have well-known and reliable commenters, who can act as influencers. They can play a dominant role across industry publications, social media and on forums, in periodicals or speaking at events. Ensure these people are aware of your bot, and encourage them to use and review or share opinion about it. Take the time to follow their comments and writings, YouTube broadcasts or webinars, and be prepared to promote and discuss your chatbot as part of any relevant discussion to attract a relevant audience. Any or all of these efforts can play a key role in raising awareness of the chatbot, and helping people find and use it. Taking a short time each day or week to drive these efforts and track their progress can play a major part in building an audience for the bot.
The Art of Chatbots & Presenting Your CreationWith a huge growth in the number of bots, the instinct of most businesses is to push them as a technical feature, which no impact on the user whatsoever. A little time and effort spent being creative with a representative character, image or logo can make all the difference. Human beings are a visual species, we are attracted by movement, bold images, stark contrasts and things of beauty. Anyone’s first impression of a website, app or chatbot is probably the logo across the top, so sites have defaulted to clear, simple and bright messages. But that little chatbot window or marketing message in the bottom corner can easily get lost when your bot has no character. Search Google Images for chatbots and you get a raft of lookalike cheeky robot faces with speech bubbles or sci-fi robots reaching out to be helpful, these images look good in a research or press article, but they’re all horrendously similar and fail to get across the value that a chatbot can add to a business and the time they save customers.
Making People Want to ChatUndoubtedly, leading the way when it comes to a making a chatbot look good is IPSoft’s Amelia, based on an actual model Lauren Hayes. As a consumer and enterprise AI construct, she can put a happy productive face to any business using Amelia. From booking holiday at work on the HR chatbot system to talking to your bank or travel agent, she’s clearly a pro. But you don’t need a big budget to build a character to represent your bot. Here’s some expert advice on creating a brand character from Campaign magazine. Your chatbot doesn’t have to go to such levels to make it presentable, but it does take a little effort, and it comes as a shock to see how many bots are out there that are faceless and uninviting. All it would take is a clever character design, stylish logo or piece of art to make the bot more attractive, memorable and help build a relationship between user. If you’re working for a big brand, then the company will likely stick with that famous and distinctive logo, but for everyone else there is the opportunity to get creative. Taking time to make a difference, and coming up with something that’s not like clip art or stock images won’t take any good designer long, but can make the bot more appealing. That art can go out with press releases to make the news about your bot more likely to get noticed, and the articles read by people. They certainly won’t care about your company logo, or that other standby, a picture of your shiny glass-fronted office that so often appear with press releases.
Extend Imagery Into ChatsOnce you’ve got a character or suitable logo for your bot, it instantly becomes a more recognisable part of the company, a face that’s more visible in the corner of a website homepage or on a Messenger post. Once people are using the bot, don’t be afraid to make use of the imagery, or variations, during the conversation. A welcoming smile to say hello, a big smile for a successful conclusion, a sad face if someone wants to quit the chat might be broad brush stroke emotions, but depending on your bot, there’s plenty of scope for creativity. If you’ve built a full character, be it a simple animation or static cartoon, then it can be used to appear alongside product images, if your business is in retailer. Or in various guises depending on what services you offer. Making the bot a part of the company helps reinforce the message and remind people of the bot when they next need to interact with you.
Image, Form and VoiceFor any company with major chatbot plans, the bots will likely be adding voice features in the coming months or years, take that into account when creating a bot character, most of the voices available are soft and feminine, like Siri and Alexa, but as services diversify, you should be able to get a voice that best matches your bot and business. As a new art, chatbots are that rare feature in technology that allows people to be creative and come up with something stylish and innovative to help build a brand or dive engagement. In-house or contract designers should be able to present a wide range of options that will help make the chatbot more personable, and feel a part of the company.
Chris Knight writes about where technology will take us next, from the power of neural networks, artificial intelligence and chatbots, to the endless worlds promised by augmented and virtual reality. From the latest in gadgets and hardware to how digital businesses can use technology to grow, Chris makes the future clear and understandable to all.