June 8, 2016
It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is, and how big or small your staff may be, if you are on social media to market your business then fans, followers, and customers also expect you to be available to respond to questions, comments, and concerns via social media.
This presents a quandary for many small business owners because our fans, followers, and customers have become conditioned to believe that something posted on Facebook, for example, should be responded to within minutes. That’s hard to do when you’re elbow deep in your latest batch of salsa or have sticky jam-covered hands. Not to mention, there are times when you need to be focused on your business – be it the production, the operations, the accounting, the marketing, or one of the hundreds of other things that are vying for your attention every day. It’s jus not possible to sit around on social media waiting to respond quickly.
By the same token though, your inability to respond quickly may turn some potential customers off. They had a question and if they can’t get it answered from you, they’ll find someone else who can help them. So what is a food entrepreneur to do?
In case you’re not aware, Facebook has made this a little bit easier via the Response Messaging functionality. By activating Response Messaging for your business page, you can set up auto reply messages anytime anyone sends you a message to ensure that they know that you’ll be getting back to them as soon as possible. This may sound simple, but for many people that acknowledgement of their message and the promise that you’ll respond is enough to keep them happily cooling their heels until you do have the time to reply.
Here’s how you can set up Response Messaging or, at the very least, take a look at it to see if it’s right for your business.
- Open up your Business Facebook Page and click over to your Messages tab.
- At the bottom of your messaging tab you should see a small i in a circle. You may also see a blue box inviting you to set up your Response Assistant. Click on that circle.
- This will open up a popup box where you can click Setup Response Assistant
- Scroll down to the Response Messenger section of the new page that opens up and you can start drafting messages that will automatically be seen someone messages your business. You can create messages for someone who reaches out to you via Facebook Messenger outside of your normal business hours (the Away option) or also draft an automatic response that will be sent out to everyone regardless of when they send you a message. The great thing, to me at least, about this latter option is that you can use this auto response to explain that you will be getting back to them ASAP.
- Make sure after you’ve drafted your messages that you click the buttons from ‘No’ to ‘Yes’ in order to activate those auto replies.
- In case you’re wondering why the ‘Enable Away Message’ says ‘Hi Jennifer…’ and then ends with my name is because Facebook personalizes the response and in this case is showing me what it would look like if I messaged the business. However, if Sally or Stew messaged my business outside of my normal business hours then the response would start with ‘Hi Sally’ or ‘Hi Stew.’
This is one of those little things, in my mind, that takes just a few minutes to set up but can really go a long way in helping you communicate effectively via social media without necessarily needing to be tied to Facebook around the clock.