How to auto reply to Facebook post comments inside Messenger

Yes, you can answer comments privately on an autopilot

You can see this method live by commenting under this post.

If you are like me and advertise a lot on FB, you have found your ‘ideal’ prospect for your ads to reach. He or she liked your ad, commented on it, and probably even shared it. Bingo. Extra social proof and organic reach.
But is this what you really want? I am honestly more interested in the more practical KPIs. How many purchases did I make? Or if it is too deep down in the funnel for Facebook then CPL (Cost per Lead) or the Add to Cart for frequent pixel fires. It all comes down to one thing at the end. Money. I mean you cannot run a business on likes and comments, can you?

Sometimes your single purpose is to get their email address so you can reach them later on as well. Facebook lets you do that easily with the Lead ad format. But sometimes people need a little bit more reason from you before they drop their holy * and already over spammed* email addresses. 

If you are advertising on Facebook, you’ve probably come across their newest feature, the Messenger Ads. They’ve opened it last year in September and it aligns with their overall efforts to make brands communicate with their customers inside of Messenger. Since then Messenger ad has started to roll out as well, just to show how seriously FB thinks about their messaging platform.

But what if there would be an even better option?

In this article, I’ll show you a method that helps you have the advantages of the above methods all at once.
  1. Get the social proof and organic reach of the countless comments of your post
  2. But still will be able to direct them to your website or they can shop directly in Messenger
  3. While you have the option to reach them later on with their full attention unlike email

The lighter orange is organic reach. Unfortunately only #1 happened from the list above:

Disclaimer:

This method won’t fix badly calibrated targeting or crappy creatives and copies. And if the offer sucks, you probably shouldn’t advertise on Facebook anyways. 🙂

But it does help you reach your audience privately with your offer with them only by commenting on your post/ad. After you have them in the Messenger you are also free to follow up.

Also, I only recommend tools I’ve personally tested. If there is an affiliate link, I’m going to use it. But I only recommend tools I can also wholeheartedly recommend without any compensations.

Here is what you are going to learn from this article:

Why directing your customers to Messenger makes sense?

Attention

As briefly mentioned in the introduction Messenger has many advantages. According to mine and many others’ experience, the open rates are over 90%.  If you look at the email open rate statistics, they seem to be settled in the 30ish rate, and nothing suggests that this metric will improve. That is a 3x win for Messenger.
Story time
I registered to FB in 2010. Back then I mostly sent an email to friends if I did not expect to get an immediate answer (well for chatting we used Windows Live Messenger in my circle….). With time correspondence gradually moved to Facebook or WhatsApp depending how our relationship was. Now I almost exclusively use Messenger to the extent that I don’t even have the number or email address of many of my friends. And I’m probably not the only one this way.

100% delivery

With email providers, you can’t really be 100% sure that they’ll deliver the email to the main folder of your recipient. With the double opt-ins and often twisted flows, you will lose quite a few prospects on the way as well.

On Messenger, however, you don’t have to worry about that stuff. If they give their permission to you to message them, then your message lands in there. No, not in the message requests… Also, will be checked probably realtime or not so long later then signing up for the lead magnet. So people are less likely to forget what they’ve opted in…

Usually 1 account

How many email addresses do you have? Honestly. Even if you only use mainly one, you’ve probably heard of and used at one point a temporary email address to sign up for lead magnets. Of course, you should be only collecting contact details from people who are wholeheartedly willing to give you their best emails.  Even if it is their main email, it may be over flooded by countless other newsletters and yours is just one of the many.

Although, people receive a lot of messages in Messenger as well but receive way fewer messages from brands. Most users read every single message they receive. Also, unlike the case with emails, they are way more likely to use only one account. So if you have their messenger contact, it is definitely their best contact. 

Easier communication

FB pages have the option now to send so-called rich messages. Pictures, videos, voice messages are nothing really groundbreaking you can say. But having galleries (carousel), buttons, menus, and options with the webview are something that can really make the communication easier. And I didn’t even talk about the countless API integration options or the payment system. So if people can just answer by pushing a button, they are more likely to do that. Also, Messenger is going to roll out with suggested answer as well – you can see a great example of that in Google’s Allo.

The easier you make it to your customer, the more likely the desired action will happen

Before you say that building your list in Messenger is dangerous because Facebook can just ban your account or change things that are negative for you. I suggest everyone also asking for email addresses at some point of the interaction. It serves at least two purposes:
  1. You will have their email should anything negative happen with the current system.
  2. You can match your databases. You won’t message them twice the same thing. Also, you can make some integrations so they have an amazing consumer experience and you have all the data.

Now let’s look into who can profit from the ‘reply in private message’ method.

Is the auto private reply method good for me?

So you understand the importance of messenger marketing. But why not just use Messenger as an ad destination? It is a solid option for sure and there are situations I would recommend it over the comment to Messenger flow. But there is one thing you may not count with. How many of those who click on your ad actually land in your inbox? Messenger ads according to my experience it is still better than lead ads, but as not every click on your ad will reach your website, also not every click will be an actual new message for you.

On this campaign, the clicks to messages were on average 85%. In my opinion, it comes down to testing. We have tested different offers in various countries and the results differed greatly. Seen 90% from clicks to messages, but also under 50%. You also need to have a great offer and targeting as well. It should make sense for the users to land in the Messenger after the click. On the other hand, with the comment methods, it is pretty much 100% after they have commented on your ad. Leaving a comment can show also a higher commitment level, so these prospects are also more likely to buy and take action.

So when does it make sense to send private replies to comments?

In short, it is suitable for pretty much everyone who posts regularly or advertises on Facebook. You may be just boosting some posts or already have a kick ass funnel with several tests and cross sales or OTOs (one-time-offer). One thing is for sure,

With automated comments, you don’t have to worry about your ad not being ‘clickable.’

What do I mean by that? If users click on a regular post then they are not directed to a website. They just see the picture on more of their screen. If they comment, however, your message will land in their Messenger box and they are going to open it sooner or later. In some cases, the topic is more sensitive and people may not want that others can see their comments. I would still quickly test it and see how it goes. However, many of these cases are not allowed to advertise to on Facebook anyways. If your offer is good, people will comment, if that is what you ask them to do. Some of the marketers who can extremely benefit from this method:

You get a lot of comments anyways

It really makes sense to use this method where people are likely to comment on your posts also without you explicitly telling them to do so (with a CTA). All the viral stuff where people are tagging their friends and comment. It’s great, but harder to make them anything. Here is your chance.

If you don’t advertise on Facebook, but you have a decent organic reach.

Facebook is going to cap the number of ads shown in the news feed around the middle of summer this year. They don’t want to spam their users. Remember, all Facebook cares about is the user’s experience. This means that brands who don’t pay will be unlikely to reach any significant number of their fans. Just while I am writing this article a friend of mine posted this in our business mastermind.

So it obviously makes sense to bring the commenting fans into Messenger and send newsletter to them there. That way you can preserve your reach with Messenger, even if the organic reach goes ‘finally’ dead.

eCom marketers

It is really a perfect match. Many e-commerce guys are using PPE (Post Page Engagement) even though it is not ‘clickable’. That way they can reach many people organically with bigger ‘ad real estate’. Combine that with a good discount code delivered to your Messenger if you comment and you have a killer campaign.

Actually, someone from my mastermind pointed:

If you combine this with a chatbot to answer your frequently asked questions automatically, you will not only not have to manage your Facebook messenger, which saves time, but you will also see a huge impact in sales.

Affiliate Marketers

This is something I’ve struggled with since being 2015. As an affiliate, you often just buy paid media and run it to an offer that you don’t own. You do the hard work and at the end, you remain with no lists in your hand. Here you can sell to the same audience more times. It is way easier and cheaper than to acquire new buyers. The list goes on and on, but you are here to learn the ‘how to’ so I will just stop here and let you imagine how it could help you.

How is it possible to privately answer to a post comment?

Alright, so you know at this point why it makes sense to direct your customers into the Messenger. What I promised you at the beginning is that you can bring them to Messenger just by them commenting on your post. So let’s look into how that works.

I am sure you know about some publishing systems or advertising software like Adespresso. These allow you to publish on Facebook with a higher efficiency. They interact with the Facebook APIs and give you a nice interface. If you know or someone from your team how to code, you can set up such an app internally as well.

Basically, you can do things that Facebook does not offer on their standard interfaces. One can create an App and connect it to a Facebook Page or Account so it can act on behalf of the page.

The API we are looking for here is the Graph API.

The first time I heard about it was when I asked the support of these tools to make sure what they offer is compliant with Facebook’s policy. In the answer, I received a link of an Adweek article and one about the graph API. The graph API enables the app (among many other things) to publish new status updates, schedule posts, check whether two users are friends or react to certain events. You can read more about here: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/graph-api/

I was actually not aware of these solutions until the middle of February 2017. I had a call with a fellow marketer to help him out with his chatbot. Artur told me about that solution and I didn’t look into it more deeply until in my business mastermind someone was asking about a different tool. So I purchased both and started some test and setups.

Of course, you can build a tool on your own as well. But does it really make sense to put in the development hours when you can just pay for an already ready solution? I think it is rarely the case, think about this as an email provider. You don’t really want to start from scratch, do you?

So as of now, I am aware of three solutions with two of them being a viable option for us: FB auto reply and MSG Hero.

So let’s start with FB auto responder

FB auto reply

FB auto reply offers the most functions at once for a very friendly price

So what does FB auto reply offer?

The 3 main things that are visible in this picture are:

  1. Page responded privately – If you see this, you know that the commenter received a private message from the Facebook page. The most likely reason you are reading this article right now.
  2. Automatically likes the comment under the post. It also goes for the posts on the page, not just comments.
  3. Replies to the comment automatically. As with the previous point, it also possible for page posts.

All 3 actions were triggered by simply leaving a comment on a post. You can have it for all posts or setup which posts should be relevant. Filtering posts are possibly either by date or post ID. For the former, the only option is after a certain date e.g. posts published after the 31st of March. With the ID can give the exact post you want to use FB autoresponder on. That applies only to comments, though.

You can also setup which comments should be responded to. Here you have keyword options or the same date option as in posts. So if you want to react to certain keywords differently, you have the option to do that. So if asked about your product prices, for example, you could set up keywords like price, how much, cost, fee etc. The script also enables you to set up a timeframe for answering the messages. It can be very beneficial if you don’t have a chatbot activated, so there would be a different message during working hours and when you are closed.

One can choose to only reply once per user under a post and there is an option for second level replies as well.

 In the message you can use the following variables:

What else?

You can send private messages right from Facebook Auto Reply. You can choose the users by the name and also filter users by post ID. So you can follow up with the exact persons that have reacted to a certain post of yours. Another great option is to schedule the message. So if you have a deadline for a certain launch or discount, you can send a message at a certain time in the future.

You can also delete or hide comments if you want. Haven’t found a use case for it for me yet, but hey it is an extra option. Another thing if you do Facebook Group marketing that with the Pro option you can set an autoresponder to the FB Groups you are an admin in. I am the admin of the Chatbot Marketing – Facebook Messenger Ads Group and I find it great to have this option.

Set up

This tool is basically a script that you can upload to your server and run it there. You may know that I am not a techie and was still able to do it. You just have to follow the description. Maybe also look into the way how your hosting company has certain things. I am going to post up a detailed guide on that with my little learning points J. If you are more comfortable with technology then this is just a fun thing for you to do.

Should you have absolutely no clue about technology, you can have FB Auto Reply guys set it up for you. They will host it for you and set it up only for 20 bucks a year. If you want to host it but not set it up on your own, then just one time $20 fee. No brainer if you ask me. Time is money.

Pricing, Support

Even though FB Auto Reply has the most advanced usability the pricing is quite friendly.

It probably comes down to its shitty web design and marketing.  Their website design is not that promising, it lowers the trust. Honestly, it was great that a friend of mine already used it, as I probably just didn’t buy it because of that. If you are reading here you know the power of design and trust elements in marketing :). But I digress.

There is only a one-time fee for a lifetime license and free updates. You can use unlimited Facebook accounts and set unlimited fan pages. Also, there is no limit on the number of campaigns you can create.

So the PRO costs $79 with the FB Group and scheduled messages functions, the basic costs $49. 

The support is probably the fastest I’ve experienced for a while. Alex was answering my first question about the FB compliance within like 1 minute. I am not sure which time zone they are in, but since then we’ve exchanged a couple of messages and probably there was only one answer that took more than 10 Minutes to get a reply to. 

There is a 30-day Money-Back Guarantee, should you have any issues.

  So let’s take a look at the next option.

MSG Hero

Functions

MSG Hero was the first tool I’ve used to ‘lure’ commenters into my Messenger funnel. At first, I only wanted to test quickly if it works with my chatbot together. The whole buying and setting up process was really smooth. It does basically only one thing, but it is the most important thing. To send a private message to people who have commented on your Facebook post.

You can filter your posts to easily under the Campaign tag and chose the post you want to use. One thing I really like is that you also see the number of comments and likes here. This was my first attempt with a really funny video about voice recognition and Scottish accent. You can personalize your message here as well:

 

You have also the option to add more messages, should one be too limiting for you.  A cool feature is to be able to delay messages. If you want to hide this whole automation thing, you may just set up a message after one or two hours. I personally go to the instant direction, as the users have it fresh in their mind and also I want to leverage chatbots as well, which is harder to hide J

You can exclude certain keywords if you don’t want to deal with certain kind of commenters. Also, there is an option to include different keywords when you want only special words to trigger your message.

There seems to be a bug currently in the system. The software did not work when I tried to show it 2 of my friends. Interestingly, both of them are located in Australia. I will update this post if it works well.

Set up

MSG Hero does an amazing job at keeping things simple. Has a great interface, easy to use and the learning curve is really fast. Brad Stephens made a great job at turning a complex thing into a simple to use web interface. You don’t need to host anything, you don’t need to create an FB app. All you need to do is click a couple of buttons and you are good to go.

You need to approve the app the way you approve any other apps that make life easy Once you have that you connect your Facebook account and you are ready to go.

Price, Support

MSGHero has two options available. One has a monthly fee the other offers you to buy the tool for a lifetime license. I imagine if they expand on their functionality you’ll get the updates as well. So the monthly fee is $47 per month or you can choose the lifetime option for $197. The support is really great, I got all my questions answered on the same working day, sometimes within an hour. There is a 30-day money back guarantee, should you be unhappy with the product.

Credi response

I came across a third tool that seemed to have the same functionality as well. To be honest, I have not bought it, so I can only comment what I see from the outside. So take what I say here with a grain of salt. I liked the landing page http://getcrediresponse.com/ and also the price seemed reasonable. 140 real FB comments also help to build up the trust. It seemed like they are already more established in this market. But the standard sorting of the comments was with the oldest first, so I was curious to see how is it for the newer ones. The newest was in January and it was about not having the comments answered.

I don’t know about you, but it was a big turn off for me. The support seems to be very bad if it exists at all. Just thinking about the almost inconveniently fast response time of FB auto reply and great prices I think we can close this discussion. But I am ready to change my mind. So if someone from the company or the user base reaches out to me and convinces me that it is a great solution and things have changed, I’ll update this post. I don’t want to judge without buying it, but I as of now (12th of March) I wouldn’t encourage my readers to buy this software.

Which tool to choose?

So I’ve tested two tools as of now. More coming soon 🙂 Both are capable of fulfilling the most important task: sending a private message as an answer to a Facebook post comment. Both have great support according to my experience. Both come with a 30-day money back guarantee

* When already installed.

As I said they offer to install and host the tool for 20 bucks. If you know what CPanel is and can follow written instructions it should be also easy to set it up on your own.

So overall I recommend you buy FB Auto reply. They not only offer way more functions for less money but also have a little bit faster support. Although it does not have the nicest design, it works well, and this is what we need.

You can’t go that wrong with MSG Hero either. If you don’t mind paying a premium price for fewer functions but a slightly better user face. But as of now with the little bug in there I wouldn’t recommend it, especially if you have traffic from Australia. It might change anytime soon, however.

Bonus: Power of chatbots

If you are new to the topic make sure to check out my intro guide on chatbots. Chatbots are software that is able to communicate inside of a chat application. They can understand what the user wants and answer accordingly.

With the help of chatbots, you can direct your customer to the information that can help them to buy (more). You can save information, so you know at which stage in the funnel they are, what they are interested in. Chatbots can serve the duties of a landing page, a live chat, a shopping cart and a retargeting channel at the same time.

In my training, I teach free methods to do this. You can send as many newsletters as you want with no additional costs. Also, as already mentioned the messages can be enabled with a short call to actions.

Just a newsletter I sent out. Yep, I didn’t have to wait long with the winners 🙂

You’ve probably heard of the social media superstar Gary Vee, the author of the books ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook’ and ‘Crush it’. When he was asked about chatbots he answered the following:

People value time over human interactions” Gary Vaynerchuk

Source: GaryVaynerchuk.com

Chatbots are able to answer instantly, bringing your brand an invaluable competitor advantage when the customers are hungry for information. According to a Harvard Business Review study:

“There is 400% decrease in chance of converting a lead if responded to at and after 10 minutes after he made contact with you.” 

I’ve tested both FB auto reply and MSG Hero with my chatbots and they’ve worked well together. This is how my flow looked like:

  1. User comments on my post.
  2. Receives an automatic reply in Messenger with a CTA to type ’menu’.
  3. When the word menu is written it triggers the bot to bring up the menu I’ve prepared as an answer.
  4. There the user has the option to choose via the buttons.

Should there be a question, there is always a live support button, where I get a direct message to jump over and talk with the customer H2H (human to human – yeah, that is a thing now…) without the bot interrupting it. So basically, you don’t need anything extra to make this method work with a chatbot. Two different software. The first brings the users to you chatbot, the second one handles the conversation from then on. In order to work well, you need the user to answer your initial message. If you craft your offer accordingly it is an easy pie.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. This was my first bigger article and took many many hours to put together. I am going to write many more quality articles, so if you could give me feedback I would be very grateful.

If you are interested in chatbots, sign up for my FREE webinar where you can get your questions answered live! Also, if you think it can bring value to anyone else please share it with your friends.