You’ve got the keys to drive a new bot, but how do you know when it’s the right time to go live? And how exactly do you launch this thing, anyway? Read on for essential tips on unleashing your new Messenger channel. ☄

Are you using Octane AI for Shopify? Read this instead.

Shh! How to build your bot in secret 🙊

The experience of creating a bot for the first time can be nerve racking. If you’d like some time to become familiar with Octane AI in private as you build out your Messenger presence, that’s totally fine!

To tweak your bot in secret prior to launch, you’ll want to disconnect your *real* Facebook page from the bot, and connect a *fake* Facebook page instead. To do this, login to Facebook, create a new page and call it whatever you like, and then follow these quick instructions to disconnect, unpublish, and reconnect your bot to the new secret page.

Now, you’ll be free to tweak to your heart’s content, send out test messages to yourself willy nilly, become an Octane AI bot pro, and no one will be the wiser until you’re ready to let them know. 😉

Customizing your first features 🔧

Now that you’re all set up in incognito mode, it’s time to decide which features you should customize first before setting your bot free for all to find.

The exact features you choose to create or edit will depend on your brand and goals, but we’ve found that the following areas of your bot usually require some initial quick attention:

Welcome Message

This is the first message that *new* users will receive after finding your bot and clicking “Get Started.” It’s your chance to say hello, introduce yourself, and give all your new Messenger friends a taste of what you’ve got going on.

Read this for instructions on customizing your Welcome Message.

Main Menu

Your Messenger followers can access your bot’s Main Menu at any time by clicking the hamburger icon at the bottom of their screen. This is a great place to highlight your most valuable content and important calls-to-action. It’s also the place where followers can locate and update their notification preferences.

Read this for instructions on customizing your Main Menu.

Messages

Bots are bot-tastic and all, but some brands find it important to also provide an option for Messenger followers to connect with a human if need be. The Messages feature allows your audience to send in messages to you, which you can access at any time from your Inbox within Octane AI. You can also receive email notifications anytime someone sends in a typed message, if you like.

Read this for instructions on customizing the Messages feature.

Smart Responses

The majority of folks who interact with you in Messenger will do so via a button-guided experience, meaning that they will select buttons that you pre-write in order to continue on in the bot experience.

Sometimes, though, your audience may not realize this right away, and they may type in random messages to the bot (which the Messages feature will not capture). Take a moment to consider how you’ll want to address these unrecognized messages using Smart Responses.

Read this for instructions on customizing your Smart Responses. Read this on why it's important.

Getting approvals squared away 🔏

As you begin to customize and add content to your bot (and maybe even create your first Convo or two), you’ll likely want to be mindful of media rights for all those images and audio clips you’re inputting.

Consider passing your secret bot off to your legal team before you launch so they can check off any relevant legal approvals. They may encourage you to only use owned media within your bot, and will want to check that you have the promotional rights to share all your carefully-curated cat GIF’s.

Decision time: soft launch vs. rocket launch 📣

Once you’ve built out your bot a bit and ensured the content is squared away, it’s time to decide exactly how big of splash you’d like to make with your initial launch.

For some brands, a quiet soft launch means time to gather beta users, refine customizations and content, and test or tweak functionality in front of a small audience before promoting the Messenger channel fully.

For others, a PR push date may already be in the works, in which case you’re prepared to go big and wide with your release.

The difference in a soft or rocket launch, then, really depends on how fast and publicly you promote your Messenger channel. For tips on how to promote your bot using Octane AI, read this.

Connecting to the real deal 🔛

Once you’ve decided your launch approach, it’s time to circle back to the first step in this article, take a deep breath, and follow these instructions for disconnecting from your *fake* Facebook page and connecting to your *real* one.

From here, there’s only one more step to complete your going live experience:

Step #1/1: CELEBRATE

Setting up a new bot is equal parts careful work and good old-fashioned fun. Celebrate your success in releasing your Messenger bot into the world. We’re proud of all you’ve accomplished so far! 🙌

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