Chat marketing is big business. As more brands start to recognise the power of 1-1 conversations using Manychat, check out these five mistakes I often see in chat flows


  • Not using personalisation
  • Not opting them into the bot
  • Not utilising the 24 hr window to follow up
  • Not having a keyword strategy
  • Not setting expectations

Piqued your interest? Got a little more time to explore more? Great. Read on. ⬇️


I had a client once – and this was his favourite phrase. Every meeting we had this phrase came up.

“We’ll get that done for ya… bish, bash, bosh.”

“Let’s start this straight away – bish, bash, bosh – won’t take long.”

On the plus side, he was a very positive guy, nothing seemed to be out of reach. On the not-so-plus side, nothing seemed to be out of reach because he always took the shortest, quickest and cheapest route to get there.

Corner cutting was his speciality. So many corners were cut that we literally went round in circles trying to achieve anything.

He would dive right in without really:

  • Planning anything, or
  • Understanding what could be achieved if he took the time to fully understand what we were trying to do

I see the same in chat marketing. Being a chatbot nerd, I quite often opt into other brand’s chat flows to test the experience, see if they’re fully utilising the functionalities.

These are some of the most common mistakes I see (and often there’s an easy fix!)

1. Not using Manychat functionality to ask their name!

What’s the first thing you do when you meet someone in real life for the first time? Dive straight in with your pitch? Immediately direct them elsewhere?

Unlikely, right?!

Introduce yourself and ask their name? That’s more like it.

The ability to send 1-1 personalised, automated DMs on Instagram is one of THE biggest plus-points of chat marketing – so why don’t more chat flows gather this information?

It’s sooo easy to do. It can go a bit like this:

“Hey! Good to see you here! Before we go any further, can I ask your name? (I do like to be on first name terms!) Just type it below for me.”

Once they type their name into the User Input box, just ensure the Reply Type is set to {first name}. Then as the flow continues (see image below) use their first name to maintain the personalisation and build rapport.

Any further automations they opt into, you won’t need to ask again as Manychat saves their name in the system field. A bonus also if the conversation is then continued via human interaction!

It works in a very similar way to your email automation. Try this in your next chat flow build!

Manychat flow

2. Not opting them in to the bot

Using Manychat to send people from your Instagram post or reel to a link is one of the simplest ways to get started with chat automation. 

It’s not always the most strategic – but it is beginner level 101. 

(I’ve included a template for this very flow in my Instagram Chat Funnels Starter Kit, which you can access for FREE, right here).

BUT… I often see automations where the keyword activates the flow and then the first node in that flow gives them the website link.

However, this is a missed opportunity!!

By doing this, your followers will arrive in your DMs, hit that link and be taken straight out again. This means they have NOT opted in to your chatbot. In order for them to opt-in, they need to take an action within the chat flow. 

Manychat flow

In the image above, you can see that by simply asking a question in that first node, they need to tap ‘Yes I am’ to continue. Tapping that button opts them in – they have taken an action within the bot – and then the link is delivered in the next node.

But if you’re only delivering a website link, why do you need them to opt-in?


3. The fortune is in the follow-up!

If someone has opted in to your bot, you have a full 24 hours to send them more automated messages.

  • 24 hrs to ask for their opinion
  • 24 hrs to ask if they have any questions
  • 24 hrs to ask if they need any further help… etc

Even on a simple flow that delivers a website link, there’s an opportunity to follow up!

4. No keyword strategy

Keywords are important. FACT!

On Instagram, they are the predominant way that your chat flows will be triggered.

Therefore… not something to rush.

  • Don’t make them too long… people won’t be bothered to type them out.
  • Don’t make them too hard to spell… makes it hard for the user, plus, flows possibly won’t activate if the spelling is incorrect.

Powerful words that resonate with the ‘thing’ that people are opting in for are best. You can grab some ideas right here in this freebie resource.

One more tip… don’t use a word that you would ordinarily use in human DM conversations. Why? Because if you, or someone you’re chatting to uses that word, the automation will trigger – and interrupt the human interaction!

You can counteract this by putting a # before the word or maybe adding some numbers ie: ‘Webinar24’ or ‘10x’

5. Use Manychat functionality to set expectations

I mean, everyone knows that automation exists on Instagram, right?

Err…actually no.

So despite you saying ‘comment XX’ on your posts, reels, stories and lives, there will be some people who won’t understand why you’re asking them to take that action, or what will happen after they’ve typed your trigger word.

So we need to spell it out, ie. set their expectations.

Manychat flow

This doesn’t need to be long-winded. If you’re using automation on a post or reel, you can set expectations by using the Comment Reply function. This will reply to their comment and clearly tell them what to expect next. See image above.

If your trigger word is also used in your stories, then you can easily use that story to explain what’s going to happen next. 

For example: “Just message me ‘XX’ and I will send you a DM giving you access to YY’.

As cool as Manychat and chat automation is, the more people understand what action is going to be taken, the higher your conversion rate is likely to be!

Have questions? Want to chat further? Email me:

Want to understand more about the foundations of chat marketing using Manychat? Download the Instagram Chat Funnels Starter Kit here.