Gift giving and the season of goodwill is something that naturally spreads into the workplace. According to OfficeTeam 58% of staff plan to give gifts to colleagues but 48% feel pressured to overspend. 

As such, fun activities like White Elephant gift exchanges create a fun and controlled way to allow everyone to join in the fun. And using a bot on Workplace, running and organizing a gift exchange is easier than ever. 

So, let’s show you how easy it is to build a White Elephant gift exchange bot for Workplace from Facebook.

Summary

  • Time to build: 30 minutes 
  • Skill level: Easy 

If you’re familiar with how the White Elephant bot works then scroll down to the next section, otherwise we suggest taking a look at this short overview video that will show you the key screens and features that make up the gift exchange bot.

What you need

In order to build this bot you will need: 

  • A trial account or log in for The Bot Platform 
  • Admin status on your Workplace instance so you can connect the bot
  • A computer that, ideally, is running Chrome
  • Some festive cheer. Because it’s the Holidays after all!  


Template instructions

Step 1: Creating an account

Ok, so the first thing we’re going to do is log into The Bot Platform. You can do this by clicking this link. Sign in using your TBP log in details. If you don’t have a TBP log in then you can sign up for a free trial using this link. Once you’ve done this you’ll need to verify your email. As we’re security conscious, we’ll use this as an opportunity to suggest all users enable 2FA too.

Step 2: Launching the template

Once you’ve verified your email you’ll be logged in to your dashboard. If you’re a new TBP user then you’ll see a blank dashboard like the image below. As you build bots they would appear here. 

Click on the blue “Create a new bot” button. 

You’ll then see our template dashboard screen. There are a number of different templates you can choose and each has a ‘Learn more’ button that clicks through to more information about that particular use case. 

For the purpose of this tutorial, we’re going to click on the ‘Gift exchange bot’ icon.

You’ll then be asked to name your bot. This is the name for how your bot on The Bot Platform. We will come to what your staff see when they use the bot when we connect it to Workplace in step 4. 

Type in a name for your bot, for example “Company Gift Exchange”, and click the blue ‘Save’ button. 

Congratulations - you have created your first bot! This isn’t live on Workplace yet, but you now have a template that you can start editing! 

Click on the blue “Customize your bot” button and you’ll be taken to the message menu.   

The message menu contains all the messages that make up a given bot. For the White Elephant template there are 10 messages which includes the broadcast, gift exchange instructions, FAQs and reminders.  

Step 3: Reviewing and editing the template

We’re going to start off with the Welcome Message. Click on the blue ‘edit’ button to open that particular message. 

The Welcome Message is the first message your staff will see when they start using the bot. It is made up of 1 GIF, 4 message parts and 3 buttons. 

If you want to change the GIF, simply click the camera icon and select a different file from your computer. We recommend images/GIFs/media that are less than 3mb in size. 

If you want to change any of the text, simply click into the text block and start typing. 

You’ll want to replace our company name with yours in the initial greeting. If you scroll down then you’ll also want to change the time and date of your gift exchange and possibly add in the venue/location it will take place. 

Once you’re happy with the updates you’ve made click the blue ‘save’ button. 

We should then go back to the message menu and we now want to find the message called ‘FAQ - What is it’. Click on the blue edit button. 

This message gives people more information on what a White Elephant gift exchange is and how it works. 

You may wish to update the budget guidelines for the gift, in the bot template it’s set as a maximum value of $20. You may also want to edit the message that says when the gift exchange will take place. 

You can edit or delete any of these message parts as you wish. Just make sure you don’t delete the message at the bottom containing the buttons. 

Once you’re happy with what your message says, click the blue ‘save’ button. 

Now we need to do the same to the message called ‘FAQ - When is it’ Click the edit button, and then update these to reflect the correct details. Once you’re done, click the blue ‘save’ button. 

Now we’re going to find the message called ‘Confirmed opt-in’. This is the message people see if they click a button to say they want to take part. Click the blue edit button and you’ll see a screen like the one below. 

Update the GIF or text as you see fit and edit the date, time and gift budget to be in line with your other messages. Then scroll down to the bottom of the message and click on the cog in the button that says ‘Gift ideas’. 

When your staff click this button you can choose to open a website with inspiration for good gift exchange ideas. To change the URL simply paste a URL for a website you want the button to open. Or, if you want to remove the button, just click the red ‘remove’ button and then confirm by clicking the ‘lose settings’ button.  

Once you’re done click the blue save button and you’ll be taken back to the message menu.

The last message we’ll edit before connecting the bot to Workplace is the ‘Broadcast reminder’. Click on the blue edit button to open the message editor. 

This message is what gets sent to staff who’ve said they want to take part in the days leading up to your gift exchange. 

You’ll want to update the time, date and location that your gift exchange is taking place. When you’re done, click the blue ‘save’ button and you’ll be taken back to the message menu.

Step 4: Connecting to Workplace

OK awesome, your White Elephant Gift Exchange bot is pretty much finished! We’re now going to connect it to Workplace. 

Click on the ‘Connect to Workplace’ button in the orange bar. 

You’ll see a screen that asks you to connect your Workplace account. Click the blue ‘I am a Workplace Admin’ button. If you’re not an admin, you’ll need to involve someone from your company who is in order to add the bot to your Workplace instance.

Ensure all the boxes are ticked on the next screen giving your bot various permissions and then click the red ‘Next’ button at the bottom. 

You’ll then be redirected to Workplace’s website and asked which Workplace account you would like to use. Click on the correct one. Note, you may only have one account to choose from here unless you have a test or sandbox instance that you have an account for too. 

Now we have the ability to customise how the bot will look to your staff and which groups on Workplace it has access to. 

We’ll start off with the bot name, description and icon. 

Click the ‘Customise’ button and enter the name you’d like your bot to appear as in the ‘Integration name’ section. 

Then update the description of the integration. Change it to something short and sweet like “Get involved in our company gift exchange!”. 

You can change the logo/icon of the bot too. For example, if you wanted the icon to be an image of a gift, or your company logo, or any other icon - click the ‘Update logo’ button, add one from your computer and resize as appropriate. 

Then click the blue ‘Save button’. 

Now we need to select which groups have access to the bot. You can change this whenever you want, so our suggestion is to start off by connecting it to a test group or Workplace group that you and other Workplace admins or people you might work on the bot with are in. 

For example, you may have created a group on Workplace called “bot testing” or “Company gift exchange” that only a few people are a member of. 

Click the ‘Specific groups’ button and start typing the name of the group or groups you want to connect the bot to. This means only people in those groups will be able to find and access the bot. 

Once you’re ready to launch it to the whole company you can add more groups or change the settings to ‘All groups’. 

Once you’ve added the correct groups, click the blue ‘Add to Workplace’ button. 

Wait a few seconds and then you’ll be redirected back to The Bot Platform and you should now see a green bar at the top of your dashboard that says “Success! Your bot has been successfully connected to Workplace”. 

Your bot is now connected to Workplace!! Easy, right! 


Step 5: Connecting to Groups

Now our bot is connected to Workplace, we can add in the functionality such as posting to groups or sending broadcasts. 

Click on the ‘Messages’ button in the left hand navigation menu. 

Scroll down until you find the ‘Broadcast attendance confirmed’ and click on the blue ‘Edit’ button. 

You’ll want to update the date, time and location in the second message part. 

Then we’ll add the Post to Group feature into the bot. This means when staff confirm they are taking part in the gift exchange and have bought their gift then the bot will automatically post that information to a certain Workplace Group and alert the organisers. 

This could be a private group that only you and the organisers have access to. Or it could be a public group that the whole office or company has access to so people know who is planning on coming to the gift exchange.  

This could also be the test group that you connected the bot to in the last stage. 

In the top message, which has the saved attributes, click on the text that says ‘Gift Exchange Sign ups’. 

You’ll see a dark blue screen. In the text box start typing the name of the group you want the bot to post this information. If you can’t see the group you want the bot to post to then click the ‘Refresh groups’ button. 

Once your Group is selected, click the blue ‘Save’ button. Then click the other ‘Save’ button at the bottom of the ‘Thanks message’. 

You will now be redirected back to the message menu and see an orange bar with a button that says “Push the changes live”. Because your bot is now connected to Workplace, changes that you make to your bot will only appear to users on Workplace when you click this button. 

Click the ‘Push the changes live’ button in the orange bar. 

Your bot is now ready to use. Click on the name of the bot in the top left of the dashboard. In the image above we would click on the button that says ‘Company Gift Exchange’ with the Workplace icon next to it. 

Click on that and your bot will open in a new tab on your computer. Or, search for the name of your bot on Workplace Chat on your phone.

The screen you’ll see is the Get Started message you edited earlier. Click the ‘Get Started’ button at the bottom of your screen to start using the bot. 

Your bot is now working! Have a play with it and run through the flow.


Step 6: Sending broadcasts

We’re now going to set up the broadcasts. This allows you to send messages out to your staff inviting them to get involved in the gift exchange and then reminding them a few days before the event takes place.  

You can send broadcasts to all staff, members of specific Workplace groups or custom segments of staff. 

Click on the ‘Broadcasts’ button in the side navigation. You’ll see a screen like the one below. Click on the blue button that says “Create a broadcast”.

In the section that says ‘Select the message to schedule’ start typing and then select ‘Welcome Message’. 

In the choose a target for your broadcast select ‘Workplace Groups’ and in the ‘Send to group(s)’ section start typing the name of the test group you set up earlier, or a group that has people in that you want to test or use the bot. 

If you don’t see the group when you start typing then click the ‘Refresh groups’ button and try again. 

Scroll down the page and click the ‘Date / time’ section. This will bring up a calendar. Select the day and time you want to send the broadcast. Or, if you want to send it now, click the ‘Set to now’ button. Then press the blue ‘Schedule’ button to save the broadcast. 

You’ll then be redirected to your Broadcasts menu where you can edit, test and delete scheduled broadcasts. 

You’ll want to then repeat this exercise for the message called ‘Broadcast reminder’. 

Once you’re done, you should have two messages scheduled. One to go out asking staff if they want to take part, and one a few days before the event. 

And that’s it. You’ve now successfully built a bot that automates the process of telling staff about a company gift exchange, answers FAQs and explains the rules, sends reminders and saves information on who’s taking part. 

Congratulations! 

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