The Complete Guide To Using Facebook Automated Responses in 2021

Manager satisfied with automation feature: Facebook automated responses

Automation has become a big part of our lives. As a business, you send automated emails, automatically track orders, and auto-generate your accounts… but are you automating social media? 

Consumers are spending more time on social platforms each year, using them to keep in touch with brands, resolve customer service issues, and purchase goods.

35% of customers prefer social media over other customer service channels and 30% use it to buy products (source).

For your business, this means spending an ever-increasing amount of time managing comments, messages, and other interactions on social media. Leaving you with less time and resources for everything else.

But happily, automation can help you meet this demand and free your staff up for more important tasks.

In this post, we’re going to explain the what, why, and how of Facebook automated responses – Facebook’s native automation feature. We’ll cover:

Let’s get started…

What are Facebook automated responses? 

Facebook automated responses allow businesses to generate automated responses to common queries they receive through the Messages function of their Facebook Business Page.

Canopy and Stars. Facebook Automated Responses: Get Started

Think of automated responses like a very basic chatbot.

You can use them to send replies to your customers whether you’re available to chat or not. Meaning you can:

  • Be instantly and constantly ‘present’ for your customers
  • Answer hundreds of queries while barely lifting a finger (after set-up)

However, unlike chatbots, the things you can communicate with through Facebook automated responses are very limited.

You can use them to greet people, share information about your Page, respond to Page recommendation actions, and communicate about jobs and appointments. As we’ll see later (see ‘How to set up Facebook automated responses’) you do this by setting up automated responses to eight pre-defined queries. 

Let’s take a closer look at them now…  

What you can do with Facebook automated responses

Before we go any further, here are the ground rules of Facebook automated responses. Your automated responses can:

  • Include up to four questions and corresponding answers
  • Be up to 280 characters long
  • Include clickable links and tappable buttons
  • Contain attachments such as menus, forms and other media

Here’s what Facebook lets you use them for…

Send ‘away’ messages using Facebook automated responses

Sending ‘away’ messages is one of the most common uses for automated response technology.

You can set Facebook automated responses to reply to all incoming messages with a note explaining that you’re unavailable.

You might use this option if your eCommerce store is on holiday, you operate seasonally, or just have strict opening hours. 

Note that ‘away’ messages won’t be sent when your Page’s messaging status is set to ‘away’.

Example message:

Thanks for getting in touch. We’re away until 23rd August. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. In the meantime, please visit our FAQ page for speedy answers.

Timings: Sent instantly

Send instant replies using Facebook automated responses

When people contact a business through social media, they expect a quick or instant response.

If you don’t have a social customer care team manning your Facebook Messenger 24-hours a day, you can use instant replies to plug the gap.

Instant Replies allow you to:

  • Buy precious time until a human agent is available
  • Show people that your business is proactive about social customer care
  • Manage expectations by including information like typical response times

Note that instant replies are not sent when your Page’s messaging status is set to ‘away’ and aren’t included in your Page’s response rate or response time calculations. So you can’t improve your score by setting them up. 

Example message:

Thanks for getting in touch. We’ll pass your message to our customer service team who will get back to you within one working day.

Timings: Sent instantly

Send contact information using Facebook automated responses

If your staff is constantly bombarded with requests for contact information, you need to set up an automated response.

By automating this response, you free up your staff to do more important things, like provide excellent social customer care.

Example message:

Thanks for getting in touch. If you’d like to speak to our customer service team, please call 0123 123 1234 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday or email us at hello@business.com

Timing: Sent instantly

Send location information using Facebook automated responses

If you run a physical store, it’s likely you get a lot of queries about its location.

Even if this information is displayed on your Facebook Business Page, you should set up an automated response.

Provide written address information, a link, directions or even a map.  

Example message:

Thanks for getting in touch. You can find us at 54 Some Street, Some Town, Postcode. We look forward to seeing you there.

Timing: Sent instantly

Respond to Page Recommended actions using Facebook automated responses

You can automatically respond to people who Recommend your Page on Facebook – e.g. to thank them for letting other people know about your business. 

Example message:

Thanks for recommending us. You’ve made our day.

Timing: Sent 10 minutes after someone publicly recommends your Page on Facebook

Respond to Page Not Recommended actions using Facebook automated responses

You can also automatically respond to people who have publicly Not Recommended your Page – however, we don’t recommend using this function. If you give a standard response, it might not be appropriate to the original comment and the lack of human touch may cause further offense. 

Example message:

We’re sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience with us. We’d like to hear your thoughts so please get in touch with customerservice@business.com to let us know how we can do better.

Timing: Sent 10 minutes after someone publicly shares that they don’t recommend your Page on Facebook

Respond to job applications and appointments using Facebook automated responses

If you use your Facebook Business Page to advertise job openings or make appointments, use automated responses to manage them.

Set up a response to confirm you’ve accepted an application and let applicants know when you’ll get back to them. Or else create up a button that allows people to book appointments without leaving Facebook.

Example message:

Thanks for your application. We’re looking forward to reading it and will get back to you within 7 days.

Timing: Sent instantly

Four things you can’t do with Facebook automated responses

As with most native functions, Facebook’s automated responses fall short in some areas.

To help you choose the right applications and functions for your business, we’ve highlighted four important things you can’t do using Facebook automated responses. 

1. Tailor your out of hours messages to your customer’s specific query

Simple ‘away’ messages are great if you want to let someone know you’re not available and will deal with their query soon. But sending the same message to everyone can be problematic.

With NapoleonCat’s Social Media Automation, you can respond to specific words and phrases in a person’s messages and automatically respond with relevant information that’s tailored to their query.

For example, you could create moderation rules that automatically generate messages to: 

  • Redirect your customer to the person or department best suited to answer their query
  • Provide a link to a relevant blog or FAQs page
  • Make product page recommendations

Here’s how it works:

This tailored approach saves your business time by dealing with more queries automatically. Plus, your customers will get the information they need in fewer steps, offering them a better social customer care experience. 

2. Channel customers towards the right department

As mentioned above, with Social Media Automation, you can channel all new customer queries to the individuals and departments best able to deal with them. 

Easily set up email notifications to inform your staff when a customer asks a question they can answer. This is especially useful for medium to large companies where staff are separated into different departments, as well as businesses that are likely to inspire press and other non-transactional interest.

For example, the Social Inbox can forward enquiries from journalists and bloggers directly to your PR department – saving your customer service team from filtering through them and passing messages on.

Use Social Media Automation

Use Social Media Automation

Facebook’s automated responses fall short in some areas while NapoleonCat’s Social Media Automation has it all. You’ll love it. Try it for free:

Try NapoleonCat free for 14 days. No credit card required.

3. Bring down your response time and earn your ‘very responsive to messages’ badge

Setting an ‘away’ message through Facebook’s native automation tool does not affect your Page response time and cannot help you earn your ‘very responsive to messages’ badge. But our auto-moderation tool can. 

To get the badge, you need to demonstrate:

  • A consistent response rate of 90% or more
  • A consistent response time of under 15 minutes

Through Napoleoncat’s Social Media Automation tool, you can use auto-moderation to filter, prioritize and respond to customer queries quickly and effectively. Giving you the best chance of getting the badge and keeping your customers happy.

4. Automatically delete and hide spam comments and trolling

Facebook’s automated responses are restricted to Messenger. You can’t use them to automatically moderate spam, offensive comments or public complaints. For that, you need a more comprehensive auto-moderation tool:

With the Social Media Automation, you can:

  • Automatically delete offensive or spam comments
  • Set up automatic responses to specific words and phrases, and 
  • Automatically forward certain comments to your Messenger support team.

And since 47% of consumers say they take to social media to air their issues with a brand, most businesses with a Facebook presence could benefit from this feature. 

Automate and save time

Automate and save time

You can automate answering your customers on Messenger but also reporting, analytics, publishing, and even handling comments and SPAM. Try it for free:

Try NapoleonCat free for 14 days. No credit card required.

How to set up automated responses on your Facebook Page

With all that in mind, let’s move on to how you can set up Facebook automated responses for your Business Page. And remember, you must be a Page Admin, Editor or Moderator to set up Instant Replies for a Page. 

To start using automated responses, follow these four simple steps:

  1. Click Inbox in the toolbar on the left of your Page Admin dashboard
Manage Page at Facebook: Inbox button in menu. You'll configure Facebook automated responses there.
  1. Click Automated Responses in the left toolbar
  1. Select the type of automated response (instant reply, away message, job application received, etc.) from the options listed
Facebook Automated Responses: Instant reply

Facebook will give example messages in a mock-up on the right hand side of your page.

  1. Use the Edit button to personalise your automated responses

Use the Edit Message function to customize your message and add personalisation, e.g. to autocomplete the first name, last name or full name of the recipient, or add a Facebook Page or website link.

That’s a wrap!

Congratulations, you’ve just mastered Facebook automated responses. If you’d like to take your social customer care further and save more time with smarter automation, check out our Social Media Automation feature here.

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