3 tactics to grow your ManyChat subscribers using comment-to-messenger without looking like a bait

Lots of marketers and SMBs use ManyChat/Chatfuel/MobileMonkey  to build chatbots for their Facebook pages. This is a relatively new marketing channel to engage with leads and customers. 

Additionally, ManyChat's Comment-to-Messenger feature became one of the hottest and most successful list-building tactics for chatbots. More and more Facebook pages are asking their page fans to comment "YES" on their posts.

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However, some users started to get annoyed by this. Moreover, Facebook published an article explaining what comment bait is, and updated their news-feed algorithms to make posts with comment baits reach a fewer number of users.

Recently, there have been discussions within marketing chatbot groups and communities about whether Comment-to-Messenger is still a valid tactic and whether Facebook's policies actually allow using this feature?

I will try to clarify all this in this article, and more importantly, I will tell you about 3 simple tactics which could help you keep using Comment-to-Messenger the right way without looking like a comment bait.

Let's jump into it!


Does Facebook policies allow using Comment-to-Messenger?

Facebook rolled out an update to their News Feed algorithm to fight engagement baits in December 2017. They provided an example of what comment baits look like:


In the example above, it clearly shows that asking your target audience to comment "yes" is a clear comment bait.

Facebook said that they would demote individual posts from pages that use engagement baits meaning that such posts will appear less frequently in news feed. However, they didn't mention that such posts are completely disallowed.

In a nutshell, using comment-to-messenger is not against Facebook policies. However, Facebook's move aims to "promote more meaningful and authentic conversations conversation".

I will explain to you a slightly different way for using comment reply feature to grow you chatbot subscribers without looking like a bait to Facebook algorithms.

But firstly let's start with the basics! Why even use Comment-to-Messenger feature?


Three benefits from using Comment-to-Messenger feature:

There are 3 main reasons why marketers love this feature. You can now skip this part if you are already familiar with it. Otherwise, I recommend you keep reading. 

1) It increases a post's reach and engagement

It occurred to almost all of us that we see a Facebook friend leave a comment on a page post but we have never seen that page before! It is a great way of increasing posts' reach for free.


2) It lowers your Facebook ad cost

"If you are using the comment-to-message strategy and then turn that post into an ad, this is going to significantly increase relevance score." From digitalmarketer.com

Higher relevance score can lower CPM (Cost per 1000 impression). In other words, it lowers your Facebook Ad cost.


3) It helps you grow your chatbot subscribers real FAST

We have been start using manychat at Aug 2016, even earlier than digitalmarkter.com

We have been start using ManyChat at Aug 2016, at that time comment-to-messenger feature was not rolled out yet

If you are already doing list-building using email. You can do it via chatbots too! In email marketing, we use lead-magnet to opt-in email subscribers. In chatbot marketing, we can publish a post using the same lead-magnet and ask users to comment if they want it. Then using chatbots we could trigger an automated private message to users who comment. The commenter will become "subscriber" (i.e. they are added to the list) if they reply the private message.


Two main problems arose since people started over-using it:

1) The quality of subscribers is too low

Some of your users might not be really interested. They might have been just curious about your magnet and by simply replying your automated private message, they ended up opting-in. However, they don't know or have any expectation that you would send them broadcast messages in future. The worst case is that users could end up marking you as spam. Additionally, because those subscribers may not actually be proper leads, they could unnecessarily cost you more money since ManyChat pricing is based on the number of your subscribers.

What you can do about it:

  • Ensure your subscribers know you will send them messages in future.
  • Always let them unsubscribe easily.
  • Always check your "mark as spam" insights from your page


2) It could become annoying to your users when you keep asking them to comment yes

Email marketing's nature allows for asking for email addresses (e.g. You would email your leads a free pdf file, book, document... etc so it is somehow acceptable to ask for their email addresses.). However, it is a little different in chatbot marketing, if you are providing something your audience want but you keep asking them to comment "yes" to receive it, they tend to think that what you are doing is actually a bait, and over-time they tend to feel annoyed. 

What you can do about it:

  • "Get your audience to comment as a full sentence." Mari Smith
mari_smith_live

Famous Facebook marketer Mari Smith's suggestion in her Facebook Live


3 ideas you can use to make it BETTER right away

Marketers ruin everything! (and it is totally fine)

As a marketer, we know that markets keep changing and we are used to adapting to the change. That's marketing in the digital world, and here is what we can improve about the Comment-to-Messenger feature:

1) BETTER quality lead: Call to action at the end of video 

Call to action at the end of video instead of asking on ad copy. In a 3-min video, you can explain to your audience the pain and present your solution (lead magnet). And instead of saying "please comment yes if need it", say something along the lines: "Let me know if you need it, I will send it to you via Messenger.

Targeting audience who have already watched 95% of your video in order, and got to hear your call to action will result fewer subscribers but of much higher quality.  

Frank Kern's call to action at the end of video instead on ad copy.


2) MORE fun or challenge: Using multiple choice 

Instead of just asking them to comment "yes". Give them multiple choices, and based on different answers reply with different messages and/or comments. It is more engaging and it looks more human-like.

Derek Halpern asking for multiple choice question


3) BETTER engagement: Stay engaged, Reply the comments publicly!

Quite a lot of pages don't reply to their users' comments. Our advice is not to focus only on the number of subscribers, at the end of the day marketing is about building trust. Stay engaged with the audience who comment! Reply their comments, you could say something like "Thank you, John! I have sent you a private message, please check it ????" or reply to them with a funny animated GIF if it is suitable!

Online shop Zappos actively reply comment.

If you are too busy to reply to comments one by one, you can use PostJelly to do it automatically. It works well with all chatbot platforms including ManyChat / Chatfuel etc. You can try it yourself at below post.

Hope this could help you improve. Think out of the box, be creative! 

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