Brightspark Consulting has worked with St Patrick’s College in Maynooth on a variety of projects, including Instagram, Facebook Ads, and most recently a Facebook Chatbot for Messenger Marketing.
At CAO application time (the national college application scheme for Ireland), St Patrick’s College Maynooth needs to target 17-18 year olds who are considering their options for third level. Facebook Messenger is a great way to reach out and engage with this elusive audience and a chatbot was designed by Brightspark to answer their questions and show them stuff about life in college.
Facebook Messenger is the second most downloaded app of all time, with over 1.3 billion monthly users. Although they’re not using Facebook itself so much these days for sharing content, teenagers still have active Facebook accounts primarily for using Facebook Messenger with a whopping 91% of them sending messages through the app on a daily basis.
What is a Facebook chatbot?
A chatbot is an integrated program that interacts with users via a chat interface and is an increasingly popular tool for businesses globally. Chatbots are big in the US; at Social Media Marketing World last year, Facebook Messenger Marketing was the word on everyone’s lips. The reason why I love chatbots is because they can bring your site content to life, offering assistance or automatically providing information.
In the case of the Facebook chatbot we did for St Patrick’s College, the aim is to provide potential students with easy access to general information on the courses, the college, and to show it’s culture in an interactive, fun and engaging way.
Why a chatbot?
These days people are more impatient than ever, and we live in a world in which we expect to be able to access any information we want, whenever we like. A chatbot is always on. It can interact with your customers instantly any day of the week and at any time of the day or night, ensuring that every lead is engaged and captured. You can also be sure that the information communicated to your visitors is consistent, accurate and on brand. Indeed, this is one of the fun things about the chatbot that we made for St Patrick’s College – it’s full of gifs and videos featuring current students, so it really enables the college to bring the college experience to life and to show a more fun side that they might not otherwise be able to portray in their more official application documentation.
St Patrick’s College began to see the benefits immediately not only in terms of visitor engagement but also in how much time the chatbot saved for their team and said;
MUSIC CREDIT: Bensounds
The software we use for building chatbots for our clients is smart; it uses artificial intelligence to comprehend language (rather than just commands) and it provides a list of words used by people who engage with it or freeform questions asked, so that we can better adapt the bot to respond. Now while this all sounds very exciting, folks – this is AI version 1. I can’t wait for it to evolve, and that’s going to happen, rapidly.
- St Patricks College Maynooth has a school liaison officer who knows better than anyone the kind of questions asked by 6th year students and what is on their minds. We started off by interviewing her and this gave us a structure for the chatbot content.
- Next we applied our clever copywriter to break the content down into a series of short questions and answers, and these were signed off by the client.
- Design and build happened next where we built out the chatbot, added all the nice content assets we had developed (videos, images, and gifs) and spent time testing to ensure there were no dead ends or delays in delivery.
- We added some personalisation and deployed on their Facebook Page (naturally) and also on the St Patrick’s College website (it sits on the lower right corner just like a regular chatbox).
We love the way the chatbot pops up automatically and we control the friendly message that greets users there.
The chatbot starts by asking the user what kind of info they are interested in:
- College life
- Course info
When the user selects an option, they go on a path that guides them through and provides answers to all the questions they might have. At any point the user is in full control and can leave the bot or go to a new section.
We added more GIFs than usual to this chatbot for Maynooth College because of the demographic we were targeting. When we created a similar chatbot for a property company in 2019, we went light on GIFs and inserted more videos.
You can check out the St Patricks College Maynooth Chatbot here.