Growing a Following with Chatbots

Grow with Angie and April: A Podcast for Teacherpreneurs
Grow with Angie and April: A Podcast for Teacherpreneurs
Growing a Following with Chatbots

We recently asked our Mastermind group what they wanted to know about using chatbots. The questions that came in were all over the board from basic to really complex. So, we did our best to address them during episode 25. If you aren’t already in our group, we invite you to join us at 

Let’s start at the very beginning. A chatbot is basically when you have the computer program, or bot, set up to interact with your customers and followers. The bot is programmed to give certain responses based on what the person it’s interacting with says. You will see this on a lot of websites when the chat box pops up. But, you’ll also see it when you go on a Facebook page for a major company and the Messenger box pops up right away.

A chatbot will interact with you to answer your questions the best that it can. And, you can eventually make it to a real person, but many times the bot has the answers that you’re looking for. For example, you can program it to say things like “How may I help you?” or “What are you interested in today?”. Using a bot like this is really complex, so Angie and I aren’t currently using ours like that. Instead, we are going to share how you can use it similar to an email list.

The chatbot we recommend

Angie and I both use Manychat as our bot option. We don’t have an affiliate link to this and we don’t benefit from passing the name along to you, but we do highly recommend it. The basic unpaid version allows you to set up chat using Facebook Messenger. But, it also has an area where people can opt-in to your chat list. This allows you to automatically communicate with the followers that have joined. Essentially, we’re using it get people to opt in just like we would an email list.

This is really beneficial because we’ve noticed they have much higher open rates than what our emails are getting. But, we also offer them through the chatbot the chance to sign up for our email list. It’s super easy to do, but you do have to have the paid version in order to do that. It’s a nice option because it allows you to keep communicating with them regardless of how Facebook changes its rules in the future. But, even if you don’t want to go with the paid version you can still benefit from using the bot.

Manychat Features

From what I can tell, Manychat is one of the most widely used bots. There are a lot of features to it. I watched a lot of YouTube videos when I first signed up for it to learn how to use it. This helped me be able to show Angie how to do it. Once I showed her the first time it was really easy for her to do on her own the next time.

So, as I mentioned earlier, the paid version is completely worth it because it allows you to build your email list. But, feel free to start with the free version. Manychat connects with your business Facebook page. Then, any messages you send from Manychat will come from your business page. Any subscribers you get are going to be subscribed through the same page.

Audience tab

The Audience tab allows you to see everyone that has subscribed to your list. Make sure you pay attention to the “Live Chat” section. I missed this when I was first getting started. The live chat is used when someone replies to an automated message or bot and you don’t have an automated message set up as a response. This allows you to pick up the conversation. It works similar to your email inbox.

Growth tools

Pretty much everything email services like Convertkit (affiliate link) do, Manychat can do too. You can segment your Manychat subscribers, tag them, add them, and create automations.

Growth tools are essentially similar to forms. I’ve tried some of them, but not all of them. There are options for forms you can add to your blog such as pop-ups, slide-ins, buttons and such. You can use it just like getting people to sign up for your email list and even offer an opt-in lead magnet. You can say something like, “Join to get a free resource” and then send them a file with the resource once they sign up. The nice part is since it’s connected to Facebook and most people are always signed in to their account it allows them to sign up with a single click.

How you can use it

Here’s how I put this to use on my blog. When someone signs up for my email list on the thank you page I added a button and said something along the lines of, “Do you want to receive Messenger reminders too?”. It’s been doing pretty well because people that make it to that page are already joining my email list and engaging with my content.

Another option you can do is to include an option to sign up for reminders when you’re going to be doing a webinar or Facebook Live training. This will allow them to get a Messenger reminder before the training starts. People have their phones on them all the time. If they ask you to send them a reminder, then they are more likely to click over and watch the training. I’m planning on using this strategy over the summer when I typically hold two or three webinars.

Delivering free resources

There are two options you can use, one is a URL that people click to be added to your list. The other is a Facebook Comments Opt-In. I tried using the first one along with a free resource and it didn’t perform that well. However, when I used the comments opt-in and said something along the lines of, “Comment on this Facebook post if you want this free resource and I’ll send it to you via Messenger.” performed much better. On the latter, it’s a requirement that you let them know that you will send the resource through Messenger. Then, when people comment on the post the bot automatically sends them the resource The one thing you need to watch out for is that you don’t also share it to Instagram. When you do that the bot isn’t able to connect with your Instagram comments which can create a real headache for you.

The extra bonus to choosing the Facebook comment option is that the more comments you get on a Facebook post the better your organic reach becomes. It’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone. You can even use it on Facebook ads or boosted post.


This is a way that you can send regular messages to your list. You can send to everyone on your list of subsections of your list. There are even options for automations. I’m not currently using this section so I can’t give my opinion on it.


This is the section of Manychat that allows you to create sequences.

Chatbot rules

There are some rules that come along with using chatbots. It’s the 24+1 rule. You can send them one promotional email in the first 24 hours after they’ve interacted with your chatbot. If they comment or write back you can send another one within 24 hours after that. It’s kind of tough, but to be honest, you may not even want to send promotional messages. The bot is great for building relationships and sending blog posts and helpful information. But, people don’t really want to be sold to in Messenger.

Over Thanksgiving break, I sent 5 days of free resources. When black Friday rolled around I shared a crazy deal I had going on at my TpT store. People loved the free resources, but the one about the deals did not have a good click rate and some people even replied and asked not to be sent stuff like that. People were annoyed enough to actually say something. The free resources worked really well, the sales notice did not. So, I highly discourage people from sending these types of messages through the chatbot.

A better way to sell

A better way to do this would be to send people a link to a helpful blog post that includes details about the sale at within the post. Or, if you’re selling an $80 bundle, you could send a message to show a freebie from the bundle. Then, you could send them a follow-up blog post that shows them how to use it. In the blog post, you have a link to the free resournce. Then, ask if they have any questions and go into live chat and reply to them. It takes time but most of the time people will want to buy a larger bundle if you’re interacting with them. Then, you can even send them to a landing page with a video showing how you use it in a classroom and on the landing page have a link with a promotional deal for them to save money on it. They can click from there to buy it. Those are a few opportunites to sell using Messenger without actually selling through Messenger. It’s more of a soft sell and they perform much better.

Running surveys

I recently used my chatbot to do a survey about a big product that I’m working on. I wanted to know what teachers really want out of it, so I sent out a few surveys with my chat list and it was really helpful. While I didn’t sell anything, but I received great feedback and was able to encourage people to follow me on Instagram to see more about the resource as it’s released. I’m sharing a lot of stories about what I’m working on over there. My click rate was somewhere between 18-20%.

I’ve found that the more conversational you are in the messages you set up on your chatbot, the better response you will get. You want people to think that they are interacting with you in real time. And, make sure you get in there and let them know they’re being heard. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the Live messages section to catch what your bot wasn’t able to handle.

Hop into mastermind group as you are getting this setup or if you’re already doing this and ask questions or let us know what you’re working on with your chatbot. And, if you aren’t set up just yet make sure to check out Manychat.  

Written by April Smith

April runs her business Performing in Education, LLC full time. She lives in Arizona with her husband and twins.