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.

Twitter DM Chatbots

Back in November, Twitter announced a new way to speed up customer service for business accounts. They introduced new features such as quick replies & welcome messages. Over the course of a few months, businesses started integrating these features into their DMs. When Twitter released their API Roadmap, they also released the DM API to the public. This meant that ANYONE could build a DM bot with these new features.

Listed below are multiple accounts, business and non-business, that have DM bots.


Customer Service Bots

@EvernoteHelps

@United

@BarkBox

@CES

@Monarch

@BloomsburyBooks

@GVCMortgage


Food/Drink Bots

@Wingstop

@TGIFridays

@DennysDiner

@Patron


Entertainment Bots

@SpiderMan

@FocusFeatures

@ValerianMovie

@ISA1307_2


Subscriptions

@TheEconomist


Official Twitter Bots

@Support

@TwitterAdsHelp

@JoinTheFlock

@TwitterU

@Furni


Other Bots

@LIVEScheduleBot

@SamSchmir

@Snowman

@SimonBot30

@Amged

Top 10 Features Within iOS 11

Apple’s Keynote event at Worldwide Developer’s Conference (#WWDC) took up more than two hours. Lot's of news about Apple and it's OS's, hardware, etc. iOS took up a big chunk of that two hour time period. Apple spoke primarily about it's biggest improvements and features that we will be seeing with iOS 11.

Here is my list of the TOP new features in iOS 11

10. QR Code Support

I personally don't really use QR codes much as I find them bit of a burden. Before iOS 11, you'd have to download a 3rd party QR Code scanner, and honestly, who wanted to do that. With the camera app in iOS 11, just point the camera at a QR Code, and it'll read it!

9. Type to Siri

Previously, you could only interact with Siri vocally. Apple decided to change that and add a feature that let's you type messages to Siri. This is one of the most requested features for any digital assistant. Take Google Assistant for example. It's easy to communicate with it vocally, or with the tips of your fingers.

8. One-handed Keyboards

This is especially helpful for those with larger devices such as the iPhone 7+. Unless you have Shaq hands, chances are you've struggled at least once with one handed texting. 

7. Screenshot Editing

Apple is making it much easier to mark up the things you screenshot on your iOS 11 devices. Instead of dipping back into the camera roll after you take a screenshot, you’ll be able to quickly re-crop and markup the image right away

6. Control Panel

Apple completely redesigned how the Control Panel looks and how it operates. If you don't see an option that you want, chances are you can add it via the settings. 3D touch enables even more options.

5. Redesigned App Store

The App Store got a whole new look! Everything changed from the icon, to the placement of app information.

4. Storage Settings

Apple has added an option to Settings labeled "iPhone Storage". When clicked, a storage bar that's similar to that on iTunes will show up. Below will be your app sizes, etc.

3. Maps

Apple updated it's Maps application and has appeared to have added some additional features such as location info, and a cool virtual "tour" called a Flyover Tour.

2. Screen Recording + Control Center

Screen recording has been a feature requested my many people and it's finally here! You can access screen recording the easy way by adding the button to Control Panel. 

1. Files

The new Files app brings together files and documents stored across various apps like Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.


There are many more features on iOS 11. Improved password management, FaceTime Live Photos & more! Even features that we have yet to find out about ;)