As multichannel becomes omnichannel, solutions like the Facebook Chat plugin for WordPress sites are changing the way that brands communicate with their customers.
In this how-to guide, we’ll take a look at WordPress and Facebook’s own help guides to explore how to integrate Facebook Chat on your WordPress site so that you can keep in touch with customers in a way that works for them. (And at the end of the article, we’ll talk about how Smith.ai’s live chat agents can handle it all for you so you don’t have to worry about Messenger at all.)
Today’s audience wants personalized communication, and they love the ability to connect with brands on social media. According to the most recent reports, more than 4 billion people are using social media around the world. Not only that but of those that are communicating with businesses:
So, now that you understand a little more about the importance of offering this solution to your own audience, let’s dig into how it works for WordPress so that you can get started integrating and communicating with your customers where they are.
The Facebook Chat Plugin for WordPress is an open-source tool, which has been contributed to by Facebook and WordPress alike, along with the Facebook Developer Community that offers resources and support for users along the way.
The plugin supports all modern desktop and mobile browsers, except Internet Explorer and Messenger in-app browsers. It also automatically loads your recent chat history between customers and your business, which means that all communications across Messenger.com, the Messenger app, or via your website directly will be right there, in one place, for a streamlined conversation so you don’t miss a beat.
According to WordPress.org, installing this plugin requires WordPress version 3.9 or newer, as well as PHP version 5.2.4 or higher. Once you’re logged into your Facebook account, follow these steps:
First, you’ll want to navigate to the Chat Plugin settings page, where you can click on the ‘Setup Customer Chat’ button. That will populate a new window where you will select the Facebook Page that you want to connect to the plugin.
The next step will allow you to select the language and customize your greeting message (the default is set to “Hi! How can we help you?”). You’ll then be directed to a screen to select a response time, which allows customers to know how long it will take to get a response. You can also choose the color of the chat for a fun custom touch.
Next, you’ll click ‘Finish’ to save all the settings and then click ‘Done’ to close the window. The plugin should now be installed and ready to use. You will also have the option to rerun setup by clicking on the ‘Edit Customer Chat’ button, as well as to remove it by deactivating and uninstalling the plugin.
The Facebook for WordPress integration helps save a lot of time and effort, but it’s not for everyone. If you want to skip the setup tool and use Developer steps, you can customize the integration exactly the way that you want. Facebook for Developers offers a full explanation of how to do this, but it involves two main steps, which we’ll cover briefly below.
The first thing to do is to whitelist your domain. You can do this programmatically, or you can do it via the Page settings. Simply click “Settings”, then click “Advanced Messaging” and edit the whitelisted domains that your page has in the appropriate section.
The other option here is to just add the code to your website using a div in the HTML, which looks like:
**NOTE: Although the option is available, Facebook and Smith.ai do not recommend moving the default position of the Chat Plugin from its location on the bottom right of your webpage.
There are a lot more features and options for developers offered through Facebook for Developers and WordPress, but it gets pretty complex and doesn’t usually apply to our audience, so we’ve just linked the rest of the details for those who want them here:
On this page, you’ll also find a list of custom attributes, but it’s advised to only use those that are not readily available in the Page Settings part of the setup tool.
The Facebook Chat plugin supports several types of messages and offers plenty of templates and features. Supported features include:
Of course, this is just a sampling of the available templates and message formats supported. You can find all the details on the Developer page linked above.
The Facebook Chat plugin allows you to see all your messages right in your Facebook Page inbox on the desktop or mobile Facebook Pages Manager app. You can also link your Messenger app and Page accounts to access everything through the Messenger platform directly.
Finally, Facebook offers analytics for this feature and all of your chats and messages, which are accessible for the navigation bar on your Facebook page. You’ll see the “Insights” button, and when you get to that screen, there will be a tab on the left for Messaging that will show you all of the analytics behind your messages.
Starting in late 2020, Internet users around the world were able to connect with businesses via Facebook Chat plugins and apps, even if they didn’t have a Messenger or Facebook account. These guest users are given a temporary account that allows them to send and receive messages, but only when they are on your website. These chats will remain active from 24 hours of the start of the conversation, or when the user chooses to end the chat manually from the “more” menu.
Although guests will only have access to the transcript for 24 hours, your business can have the conversation on file even once it’s expired, until you decide to delete it. There is also a new upgrade that allows users to transition from “guest mode” and log into Messenger to continue their communication. This will happen when:
Guest mode is a way to guarantee that every customer can reach your business quickly and in a way that works for everyone. Plus, the integration to transfer to a registered account makes it even easier for customers to get started without having to give all of their information until or unless it’s necessary.
Today’s customer demands convenient, accessible options for communicating when it comes to the brands with which they do business. With 46% of all customers preferring live chat as a means of contacting a business, it only makes sense that you offer Facebook messaging integration right on your website. This makes it easy for customers to contact you in a familiar way without having to take a lot of extra steps.
Of course, we can’t forget the most important reason to use Facebook Chat directly on your WordPress site: It's a completely free way to put live chat on your website.
That’s right, not only is it a tool that billions of people already know and use, but it allows you to create another channel for customers to reach you without spending a single dime. With the guest mode that guarantees that every customer can contact you, you really can’t go wrong.
Of course, there’s also the risk that it will create a lot of additional work when people actually catch on and start using it. That might mean that you need to step up your customer service team or find another way to handle the work.
Of course, if you’re like most businesses today, you’ve got enough on your plate without one more message to answer. But you can’t forego providing that 24/7 service that your customers demand. What’s a brand to do? Simply enlist the services of the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai.
When you hire us as your live chat agents, you’ll get comprehensive support for Facebook messages, website chats, SMS texts, and more. Our software and dedicated 24/7 agents are provided with every live chat plan, offering complete coverage for all of your English and Spanish live answering needs. We will answer every conversation on your behalf and we’ll integrate with any and every website and e-commerce platform.
Our virtual receptionists can do it all, from answering questions to lead screening and appointment scheduling, client intake and payments, and so much more. Ask us how we can change the way your brand handles live customer service by acting as the face of your business, and how we can help you create a custom strategy that meets all of your communication needs.
Learn more when you schedule a consultation to discuss Smith.ai’s 24/7 live chat and Facebook message answering services, and other ways we can take your chat integrations to the next level. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (650) 727-6484.
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