As a business owner there are a lot of things you are juggling at one time- replying to messages on social media is on that list. Let’s discuss ways of automating your social inbox to save you time, stay in touch with your audience, and maintain your sanity.
What do you mean by “Automating Your Social Inbox?”
I remember setting up a “vacation responder” on my Gmail account back in 2006 and I thought it was the coolest thing. I was going out of the country for almost 2 weeks and did not want anyone that emailed my photography business to think that I did not want their business by not replying to their email in a timely manner, so I set up a personal message to let them know. These “out of office” replies are standard now. With more and more customers reaching out to businesses on social media the amount of time you can spend stopping and replying to messages can take valuable time away from other things.
Automating your social inbox means that you set up a certain message to automatically respond on your behalf when you receive a direct message from a customer. These messages can be as simple as “Thank you for your message. We will respond within 24 hours.” or on some platforms, the messages can be tailored to specific keywords and have different replies. Automating social inboxes allows you to dedicate a certain portion of your day to answer messages but also does not leave a potential customer believing you have ghosted them.
Automation By Platform
You have probably been greeted with a message option when visiting a business page. The message may say something like “How can we help you?” and then gives a list of commonly asked questions. This can all be set up easily by automating your Facebook Messenger. You can also set up a reply to send when you receive a message after your normal business hours. You can find a step-by-step tutorial on setting up Facebook automation here.
Automating Instagram messages is referred to as “quick replies.” You set these up and save them with a title that only you see. You can save the answers to commonly asked questions so you do not have to retype the same things over and over again. This is only available for direct messages. You cannot use it to reply to comments. Note that with quick replies it is not true automation in that you must actually reply by tapping the quick reply button. It will not automatically answer the direct message without your action. Auto replies do help you by saving valuable time with the saved text. You can find a tutorial for setting up quick replies here.
Automating LinkedIn’s inbox is limited to paid accounts. You can personalize your message and set dates for it to expire. Here is a full tutorial from LinkedIn.
At this point, Twitter does not have a built-in feature that allows automating message responses like the other platforms. They do allow you to use a third party for automation.
The Simplest Solution: Sycamore Social
You can go to each platform and set up automation if you want to but that still leaves answering comments, tags, and mentions yourself. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could manage every single direct message, mention, tag, or comment in one single place? Well, there is! We love Sycamore Social for automation. We use it for our own social media accounts and all the clients that we manage social media for. Once linked to your platforms you can easily toggle between each platform and see all the activity that needs your attention. Automatic responses can be set up to answer messages as we discussed above but when you are ready for that dedicated time you have for interacting on social, Sycamore Social brings it all in one place. We also have real people to train you, answer questions, and support you if you need it!
The Bottom Line
No matter how you choose to handle your social media inbox, YOU MUST RESPOND. You have to show up and respond, reply, answer, comment, insert-all-the-social-media-terms, and interact with your customers…or guess what? They will notice and they will do their business elsewhere.
There is a doctor that I follow on social media. I have read his post, links, and followed his live videos for years. He always says “Got a question? Ask me and I will answer.” One day I had a question so I messaged him. He answered within a day. That spoke volumes to me and I have been a loyal customer ever since.
About a month ago I was watching Instagram stories of an account I have followed for a while. She shared a mirror she purchased and it was exactly the style I was looking for. In her story, she said “Want the link? Respond here.” So I responded. A day went by with no reply. I was ready to spend my money. Crickets….and I never received the link. That spoke volumes to me also.
I know that life happens and someone may not be able to answer every message or question immediately. (No I did not unfollow the Instagram account but I probably won’t ever ask for a link again.) I get that, but as a business owner, you have to reply, respond, engage.
The crew at Dogwood is ready to help you streamline your inbox and social media interaction! Contact us today and let’s get a conversation started!