Engaging with Instagram comments

Every time an Instagram comment goes unanswered, an opportunity to create a lifelong customer is lost. By contrast, the best marketers today are building loyal fans and followers by interacting with their audience and nurturing their brand in the comments.

We’ve created a comment inbox feature that helps you turn every Instagram comment into a meaningful interaction. Your posts are shown in a grid with the number of new comments clearly displayed, making replying incredibly fast and easy! Comments are prioritized for you based on the things you care about — such as queries about orders and sentiments that need attention.

⭐️ This feature is available on our Publish Pro, Premium, and Business plans. Learn more about our plans and pricing here.

📝 Notes

  • At the moment, only the organization owner is able to access this feature. It's not currently possible for team members to engage with Instagram comments but we hope to make this available in the future.
  • Engaging with Instagram comments is not currently available on the Buffer mobile app. We invite you to add this feature request here.

This article contains the following sections:

  1. Video walkthrough
  2. Choosing your Instagram account
  3. Replying to comments
  4. Dismissing comments

Video walkthrough

In the video below, Katie, from our Customer Advocacy team, will walk you through how to engage with Instagram comments.

Choosing your Instagram account

To get started, click the Engagement tab at the top of your dashboard. You'll then be able to choose which Instagram account you’d like to work with. Any Instagram business accounts you have connected to Buffer will be available. If you need guidance on connecting your Instagram business account, please see this guide. If you run into any errors or don’t see your account, head over to our troubleshooting guide.

Replying to comments

Once you’ve chosen the Instagram account, you will see your posts as image thumbnails. We will backfill up to 30 posts with up to 2000 comments per post, and any new posts you send will then appear in the Engagement tab moving forward.

You’ll also see small icon indicators on the thumbnails showing unanswered comments along with specific sentiments, such as questions, replies about orders or negative comments. Learn more about labels and sentiments here.

Click the Total Unanswered Comments counter next to your chosen Instagram account to see a breakdown of comments by sentiment.

Buffer engage posts

Simply click on the thumbnail of a post you’d like to work with and the comment thread will appear on the right-hand side of your screen. Alternatively, you can start replying to the first unanswered comment that we've pre-loaded for you.

engage tab dashboard

When replying, you’ll see the username of the person your reply will be sent to at the beginning of the message you are composing. You can add more Instagram usernames to your comment if you’d like to reply to multiple people.

📝 Due to limitations with Instagram's API, we are not currently able to pull in Instagram direct messages, show paid ads, show profile avatars of commenters, or allow liking (adding a heart) to comments.

We will check for new comments every five seconds and they are automatically loaded. Comments and posts are also refreshed every time you click on a post.

📝 At the moment, we are only able to pull in comments on organic posts. Comments added to a post while it is boosted, will unfortunately not be pulled in. As soon as the boosting ends, we will start pulling in comments again. We are hoping to improve this soon and apologize for the inconvenience in the meantime.

We'll show you the most used emojis for your brand. We even detect these during the backfill period, so you have them right off the bat. Emojis are organization-wide, not per social channel or per Buffer user.

Want to see your post directly on Instagram? Just click the image at the top of the comment thread and we'll take you there! And, if you reply natively in Instagram, we'll update that for you and it will be marked as "Engaged".

Dismissing comments

You can dismiss comments that don’t need a response by clicking the tick shown in the right-hand corner or using the Control + D hotkey. If you've accidentally dismissed a comment, you can bring it back to life by clicking Open and Reply.

open and reply comments

If you’re running a giveaway, we’ve made it easy to dismiss all comments with one easy click! If your post contains any of the following words: ‘Giveaway’, ‘Contest’, ‘Concurso’ (Spanish), or ‘Sorteo’ (Spanish) and has between 20 and 2000 unanswered comments, you’ll see an option to Dismiss All comments in that post.

Using hotkeys

You can use the following hotkeys to reply to comments even faster!

  • ‘Control + D’ to mark comments as Dismissed
  • Up key to go to the previous comment
  • Down key to go to the next comment

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