World AIDS Day 2020, Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact
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It's been one month since we launched our first Facebook chatbot—a tool that can simulate conversation to deliver tailored content to your audiences. We are always excited to try emerging digital tools because our experiences help us support our partners (including you!) to experiment with innovative ways of communicating with their audiences.
If you're considering using a chatbot for HIV/AIDS communication, we hope this blog post will help you prepare for your launch.
Before we dive into the details, if you need a refresher on what chatbots are and how they can be used for HIV/AIDS communication, you can read our previous blog post.
As we discussed in that post, the use of messaging platforms has exploded. While social media timelines and email inboxes are often congested, messaging platforms, like a chatbot sent via Facebook Messenger or hosted on a website, are often not as crowded.
Another feature of chatbots is that they can be personalized. Depending on someone's interest and responses, we can tailor our content so that we are sending our subscribers the information they want—easily and quickly.
We launched our chatbot before the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018). We planned to offer extensive conference coverage, including blog posts and Facebook Live streams, and we thought this would be a great time to try a new platform for sharing.
There are many chatbot options and tools and we chose one that integrated with Facebook Messenger. We knew the audience we were trying to reach uses Facebook and would most likely use Messenger too.
But, like the old adage about a tree falling in the woods, if we sent chatbot content but didn't have any subscribers, no one would receive it. So before the launch, we encouraged our users to subscribe by promoting our chatbot plan across our social media channels, emails, and website/blog content.
Once we began building our audience, we shared background information about the conference and the guests we planned to interview in our Facebook Live streams. We asked our subscribers about their preferences; for example, did they want to receive reminders before each Facebook Live stream?
That question, in particular, served two purposes:
In addition to Facebook Live reminders, we also sent exclusive behind-the-scenes content, like short video clips and photos, from AIDS 2018. We also sent messages when we posted breaking news from our blog.
We weren't sure what to expect when we launched the chatbot. We were pleasantly surprised with our open and click rates: we had an average of 90% open rate and a 27% click through rate. We often sent multiple messages per day, and our engagement rates stayed stable throughout the week-long conference.
It's safe to say we learned a lot during our pilot. The three most important lessons were:
Our team plans to share updates during the upcoming 2018 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA). Subscribe to our chatbot today to follow along.
Are you interested in learning more about chatbots? Do you need help setting up your own chatbot? Sign up for Virtual Office Hours for a one-on-one coaching session from a member of our team.