GIFs and emoji are both useful elements of conversational design for Messenger chatbots. Here's some guidance on when and how to use them.
Why use GIFs in your bot
GIFs can help you improve your chatbot’s performance by enhancing the user experience and improving engagement. Add GIFs to your chatbot for the same reason you use them in conversation with family and friends: because they help you connect with the other person, and because they add humor, humanization, and movement.
What kind of GIFs to use in your bot
Make sure the GIFs are appropriate for your audience and the topic your bot is covering. It's also important that the GIFs you use match your brand voice.
Your key objective with GIFs should be to connect with the user in a simple, friendly way that reflects your brand's typical communication style and won't feel out of place in the conversation.
Here's a good example of a fun, upbeat GIF being used appropriately by a trendy vitamins brand:
Avoid using GIFs that are:
unrelated to what your business offers
inappropriate for the circumstance
completely at odds with your usual tone
They can cause the user to abandon the conversation and even mistrust your brand. (In some situations—like for serious or sensitive topics—it may be best to avoid using a GIF at all.)
Here's an example of a Messenger chatbot conversation where the GIF feels inappropriate—where the user might feel that the GIF is mocking or making light of their complaint:
How to add GIFs to your bot
Follow the steps below to add GIFs in your chatbot's conversational flow.
Go to Giphy and search for a GIF you'd like to use.
Once you find the perfect GIF, right-click it and select Save image as...
3. .In Chatfuel, open the Automate tab and navigate to the block where you want to add the GIF. Once there, click Image in the Add Element menu at the bottom of the screen.
4. Upload the GIF you just saved. (Keep in mind that the maximum recommended size is 10MB.)
That's it! 🙌 The GIF will now be displayed in your bot's conversation.
For certain types of brands or topics, reaction GIFs from Giphy may not be appropriate. You may not want to use them if you're building a bot for a luxury watch brand or a law firm, for example. If you still want to use GIFs in these bots for movement and engagement, consider creating your own and uploading them as an image using steps three and four above.
For instance, the luxury watch brand could upload a custom GIF showing their watches in action, from different angles, or being built.
Why use emoji in your bot
Just like GIFs, emoji are a great way to make a Messenger chatbot conversation more engaging and fun. They also help break up blocks of text, making your chatbot's messages easier and more enticing for the user to read through completely.
What kind of emoji to use in your bot
Make sure the emoji are appropriate for your audience and the topic your chatbot is covering. Again, they should match your brand voice. Remember that emoji may not be appropriate for every brand or situation. Don't use too many emoji in one block, button, or quick reply, as it can make the user experience feel spammy.
Here's an example of a Facebook chatbot that uses way too many emoji. This message will appear overwhelming, hard to read, and even spammy to the user.
This version of the same message would be a better alternative. It still uses emoji to break up the text, but there aren't so many that the user will feel overwhelmed or mistrustful.
It depends on your brand and the topic at hand, but it's generally a good rule of thumb to avoid using more than one emoji per text card, button option, or quick reply.
How to insert emoji into your bot
Chatfuel's emoji picker is the easiest way to add emoji to your conversational flow. You'll see the emoji picker option in the AI, Live Chat, and Growth tabs in Chatfuel when using any of the following:
Text and button cards
Save User Phone Number and Save User Email plugins
It appears as a smiley face in the corner. When you click on it, the emoji-picker window will expand.
When the emoji picker appears, you can scroll through the options and select the one you want. Or, you can search for emoji by name in the search bar.
Go to the Automate tab of your bot and choose a block you want to add emoji.
Click on the text card, button, or quick reply where you want to add an emoji. Click on the emoji icon to pull up the emoji picker.
3. Click on an emoji to insert it. The emoji picker will automatically minimize itself once you've selected an emoji.