Everybody knows that answering your DMs on social media as quickly as possible is extremely important. According to statistics, people want to get feedback within half an hour, but experts advise you to keep it to 15 minutes. If you fail to do this, your customers will contact your competitors instead and then the invisible battle for customers will begin. Fortunately, Instagram has a tool to help reduce the likelihood of this situation. Here's how to use it.
The auto reply feature appeared on the social platform several years ago, but only a few people know about it and use it in their work. When actively shopping on Instagram stores, we only once saw them use it and frankly, it was not executed well.
Automated replies are not newsletters or even welcome messages for new followers. The platform doesn’t allow these methods of promotion, so it's better to avoid implementing them. In this case, everything works on a different principle: when someone contacts you via DMs, and you are not online, a bot responds, sending them a pre-written text.
This is useful if your working day starts at nine a.m. but customers need an early and urgent response. In this case, they’ll get a message notifying them that they can contact a manager from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but in the meantime, they’ll have to wait. During busy times, such as holidays, it's not always possible to keep track of all requests manually and promptly. Setting up the auto reply feature solves this problem. Even if you can’t answer as soon as the standard 15 minutes and respond in half an hour, the bot compensates for the waiting time with a pre-written message. This helps to retain potential customers because it lets people know that their request or question will definitely be processed.
This tool is only available for business accounts, and your Instagram profile must be linked to your Facebook profile. If you haven't already done so, here are the brief instructions.
Go to settings and look for Meta Accounts Center. Click on Add Facebook account.
If the Facebook app is already installed on your device and you are authorized in it, the system will automatically link the existing profile to your FB account. Otherwise, you’ll need to enter your data in the browser window that will open. Meta Accounts Center lets you manage all your Instagram and Facebook profiles. It's convenient: comments, messages, and even notifications are displayed in one place.
Next, you need to go through all the steps on Facebook. To set up your auto reply feature, go to Meta Business Suite and click on Inbox. At the top, select the Instagram tab and connect the account to your profile.
After that, click on Automated Responses.
From the suggested options, pick Instant reply and enable it. Now click on Edit message and pick the platform - Instagram. You’ll notice that a default reply is already there: “Hi, thanks for contacting us. We’ve received your message and appreciate your getting in touch."
You can customize your response in this form. To do this, just type in the message you find appropriate. You can also add a recipient’s name. For this, click the Add Customer’s Name button below and select one of the suggested options.
For example, if you pick the Recipient Name option, your customers will receive a message addressing them by their username. So if it says "Nails Kyiv," then the system will recognize this and write: "Hello, Nails," so be prepared for this little inconvenience.
Click on Save and you're done! Now all users who send you a first DM will receive a pre-written text.
Similarly, you can set up an Away messsage for the time when you are not online. Return to the Automated responses menu and select the Away message option.
The settings are the same: enable the Away message auto reply feature, pick the platform, and come up with a text of the message. To let the system know when exactly it should send these automated replies, set the appropriate schedule. Specify your time zone, and then select the desired day of the week.
Let’s say that on Sunday, your profile manager can respond only from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and aren’t available for the rest of the day. In that case, your settings should look like this:
To save all changes, click Save.
You can start by setting up a regular welcome message for customers. Briefly thank them for contacting you and mention the time when your profile manager is available for contacting.
"Hello, (name)! Thank you for contacting our online store. A consultant will send you a reply within an hour."
Next, connect automatic replies, setting them up to fit your work schedule. Typically, an Instagram business runs 24/7, but you have to admit that it's not a good idea to talk to your customers late at night. So even if you work seven days a week, you can set up your auto reply feature for nighttime.
"(Name), welcome to the world of nighttime messages! Right now our managers are restoring their energy after a long day at work. But don't worry, we'll be sure to respond as soon as morning arrives. We're open daily, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m."
This feature also comes in handy when you go on vacation or take a long weekend. In addition to greeting and thanking your customers for contacting you, you can offer a link to your online store so that they can place their orders. Alternatively, leave your contacts in case there's something urgent.
"Hello, (name)! We're on vacation and can't answer right now. If you need beautiful dresses for your summer promenade, check out our website (link in your profile bio) and place your order there. Requests are processed daily, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thank you for contacting us, and see you again!"
It's also a good idea to add a promo code for a discount to your message. Then, if the situation is not too urgent, potential customers will be more likely to wait for your return and not go to your competitors instead.
It’s especially important to use this tool when your business is especially hectic. Your customer must know that their orders will be processed in a timely manner and on an ongoing basis. So they should wait and not DM you over and over again, as this will not speed up the response process. Specify when your profile manager will be available and offer a link to a post with all the important information they might need.
"(Name), Good afternoon! We really appreciate that you contacted us and apologize in advance for the delay in responding. We could blame Mercury Retrograde, but the situation is trivial: there are too many requests. A manager will give you an answer within an hour. In the meantime, you can check out our catalog and shipping terms by following this link. Thank you for your patience."
If you have a very busy appointment schedule, you can let them know when you have a window in your automatic reply. If you don't offer advice in DMs, but there's a manager who does that for you, be sure to include his or her phone number.
"Hello, (name)! Thanks so much for your message. We pre-wrote this message to reduce the processing time, and it was sent to you by a robot, which is not yet capable of a proper dialogue. If you would like to set up a hair dyeing appointment, the closest day available is Saturday, April 2. You can make an appointment by calling the receptionist: (phone number). If you have another question, please wait for our manager to respond. We read our DMs during the day and will get back to you with a response."
Sometimes, they create Instagram profiles as business cards. No one really reads DMs there, most requests and questions remain unanswered and as a result, clients get lost. To avoid this, we recommend adding an auto reply to users' messages that includes your contacts.
A built-in auto reply feature is a reliable assistant that helps retain potential customers and strengthen their loyalty. Thanks to this tool, people understand that you care about them and their issues, even if you can’t respond right away personally.
Of course, it's not artificial intelligence that can recognize text and take context into account. Because of this, there may be difficulties and misunderstandings. For example, if someone sends some negative feedback, your automated reply will be completely amiss. So before writing your automated response, analyze what questions you get most often and try to create a message that will suit all. Adjust it from time to time.
In this article, we offered some examples of how you can respond to customers. Paraphrase them and use them in your communication with your followers. Humor helps to lighten it up and set up the mood for a positive dialogue, so don’t be shy to be creative. Don't forget that your message’s tone of voice should match your usual style of communication with your audience.
Meta offers other features that help businesses simplify communication with customers. Among them are Quick Answers and the FAQ built into the DMs. We'll tell you how to use these tools in our following materials.