Canned responses are great, but don’t forget the personal touch

I love the way my Gmail knows me so well.

It finishes my sentences for me. Suggests instant responses. Gives me a nudge if I haven’t replied to an email. So helpful (but kind of scary too!).

But the great thing is, these auto features have made me a better emailer. I’m not the most organised so the nudges really help. And I’m time poor, so the automatic replies mean I can instantly respond with a “Will do” or “Sounds good” in one click.

It’s like having my own personal assistant.

However, the same approach won’t always fly with social media management.

While Facebook does have an Instant Replies function, it shouldn’t be relied on too heavily.

If someone has taken the trouble to visit your page and get in touch, you owe them more than just a stock-standard answer. Every social media enquiry should be treated as a potential business lead – how you respond, and how quickly, is important.

Facebook measures response rate and response time. (Instant replies don’t count.) If you respond quickly and consistently, you will earn yourself a ‘very responsive to messages’ badge, which lets people know you’re a great communicator.

And, like your social media content, if your replies are authentic, you will create good rapport with your audience. It’s easy to spot when someone has cut and pasted an answer to your question – now where’s the love in that?


If you need to direct someone to information on your website, make it personal. Use their name and invite them to get back in touch if they have any further questions.

Thank people for compliments and acknowledge when other pages share your content, or tag you.

If you receive negative comments, think carefully before responding. Getting into a war of words in front of your target audience is not a good look. Bite your tongue and be polite. And if you choose to continue the conversation privately (through messenger or email), be aware that your response is only a cut and paste away from being made public.

Always talk like everyone’s listening.

The way you respond to people on social media says a lot about you and your business. Use the tools at your disposal to make things quick and easy, but never forget the personal touch.

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