Building a Twitter chatbot with Sprout Social’s Bot Builder

I recently stumbled across a TechCrunch article titled “Twitter bots get enterprising, courtesy of Sprout Social.” Before clicking and reading it, I didn’t know a lot about Sprout Social, but I understood enough to know that it’s a platform for businesses to manage their social media on. As I read down the article, it said that Sprout Social is launching a product called Bot Builder. Now, I’m a person who has experience building bots, and I’ve used a few different platforms to build them, so I wanted to give it a try.

In order to access the Bot Builder, you need to be on the Enterprise plan with Sprout. Keep in mind that Sprout Social isn’t for individual accounts unless you have a huge following. It’s mostly for business accounts such as Microsoft, Grubhub, Ticketmaster, etc. If you would like to follow along with this tutorial, Sprout Social offers a free, 30-day trial for any of the three plans. This means that you could access the Bot Builder and build you own bot.

The rest of this article will be a tutorial on how to build a bot using the Bot Builder. If you would like to check out the account that I used to build the bot, the Twitter handle is @MadeWithSprout. If you would like to know how I feel about this particular bot builder, I am writing a separate article on a few different platforms where I address pricing, functionality, difficulty, etc.

On To The Tutorial!

Step 1

Create a Sprout Social account and start your free one month trial. I should also mention, you DO NOT need to enter any payment method.

Step 2

From the main dashboard, click the gear icon at the top right corner. It should bring down drop-down menu. Click the “Bots” option.

Step 3

Once you click “Bots”, you’ll be greeted with a message telling you that you don’t have any chatbots configured for any social media account that you’ve connected. Simply click “ADD A CHATBOT”

Step 5

From there, you’ll be able to assign your bot to the Twitter account that you want it to function on. If you only have one profile connected in Sprout, that profile will be the default one.

Step 6

You’ll want to “ALLOW DIRECT MESSAGES FROM ANYONE”. Optionally, click here to go to Twitter’s business settings page. You can add a more prominent DM button to your profile on mobile, show that you provide support and display your support hours.

Step 7

Now it’s time to customize you chatbot with an avatar and a name. Name it whatever you want. This name will show up everytime your bot replies to a message. As for avatars, you have 3 options. Your Twitter avatar, a Sprout Social pre-designed avatar, or you can upload a custom avatar.

Step 8

Create your welcome message. This message will be triggered every time someone new starts a DM conversation with your account.

With the help of Sprout’s live previewer, you can see exactly how your bot will function before you turn it on.

With the help of Sprout’s live previewer, you can see exactly how your bot will function before you turn it on.

Step 9

Time to add Quick Replies! As the name suggests, these buttons help customers quickly reply to your messages.

First, you can type the text that will be displayed on the button itself. If you want to add an auto-response to the Quick Reply, feel free. That is usually the standard procedure for these bots. You can add as many Quick Replies as Sprout will let you.

Unlike Tweets, DMs are not limited to 140 characters. They are limited to 10,000.

Unlike Tweets, DMs are not limited to 140 characters. They are limited to 10,000.

Add emoji’s for an extra friendly look

Add emoji’s for an extra friendly look

Step 10

Once the setup is complete, turn on the bot!

Step 11

If you want to test out the bot for yourself, sign into another account and send a DM to the bot.

That’s it! You have created a Twitter DM chatbot.