Buffer Expands to Include Engagement Features for Instagram

Last Updated:Saturday, February 17, 2024

Things tend to fall through the cracks—especially when you're a small business with only 24 hours in one day and a few pairs of hands. 

After talking to many small businesses, Diego Sanchez, the Product Manager at Buffer, realized there's a common issue among companies trying to engage with their customers on social media: the struggle to stay on top of comments.

Buffer decided to end that problem and came out with a set of engagement features for Instagram to help small businesses build a community of loyal followers.

buffer instagram features

With these new engagement tools, Buffer users will be able to:

  • Quickly reply to Instagram comments from their desktop/laptop.
  • See important comments that need to be answered quickly.
  • Use hotkeys to speed up their engagement with followers.

"We’re building Buffer with small businesses in mind, to give them the tools to do this important work. We’re now expanding Buffer to become a comprehensive social media toolkit, which will help our customers save time, get better results on social media, and see more growth."


Buffer Helps You Turn Followers Into Fans

At the core of Buffer's new Instagram features is the argument that every time a company doesn't follow up with a comment on social media, it loses a customer.

At the same time, Buffer acknowledges that staying on top of comments is time-consuming and challenging. There are three reasons why this is the case: 

  • Instagram shows comments in a reverse-chronological order. In other words, the most recent notifications come on top, while the older ones move down. However, the newest notifications are not always the most important. For example, a comment by a user inquiring about your shipment options may get lost somewhere in the middle of all your notifications. 

  • Instagram is mobile-oriented. This social platform is geared toward mobile experience while the majority of marketers work from a laptop/desktop. Beverly McLean, CTC, Director of Social Media at Covington Travel says, I’m on a laptop/desktop most of the time and IG is so mobile device oriented. You can’t do everything on the platform from a desktop.

  • Businesses have been focused on publishing content daily. Publishing plenty of content is a way for businesses to stand out from the crowd, impress their fans, and build relationships. But at the same time, it makes it challenging for companies to pay attention to every comment they get on their posts and answer every user's inquiry. 

Buffer solves these issues in a clever and innovative way. ⬇⬇⬇

Prioritize important conversations

buffer engagement features instagram

Using a mix of filtering and machine learning, Buffer identifies three types of comments that you may want to follow up with first:

  1. Negative comments.

  2. Comments with a question.

  3. Comments about an order.

Posts with one or more of these comments will appear with a label so you can notice them instantly. In other words, there will be no more need to scroll and search manually for the most relevant comments. All of your unanswered comments will appear in one simple dashboard so that you can quickly jump from post to post. 

Stephanie Kaluza, the social media manager of Sass & Belle, says, "We use the Engage tool on a daily basis to ensure we never miss a comment or question from our community. I really like how it flags out comments that may be an issue or that is potentially an important question that we may have missed."

Reply to comments from your laptop and desktop

Buffer has made it easier for marketers to reply to comments directly from their laptop/desktop, instead of their smartphones or tablets. Marketers can now go through comments much faster than doing the same from the mobile app.

buffer instagram marketers

Speed up your engagement with hotkeys

Buffer has added several hotkeys to help marketers work faster and more efficiently. This is another new feature that promises to speed up the interaction between businesses and their followers. 

Marketers can:

  • Use the UP and DOWN arrow keys to navigate their comments

  • Dismiss comments by holding CTRL + D 

  • Hit ENTER to send a reply

And if you have an emoji that you like to use often in your replies, Buffer will suggest it to you when responding to a comment.

buffer instagram comments

Southern Elegance Candle Co. is one of the companies that has tried the new features. This US-based candle company went from making $20,000 a month to well over $100,000 a month by simply engaging more with their customers. 

"Compared to what we were using before, the notifications are more accurate and it’s so much easier to interact and comment back," says Bryanna-Nicole Evans, Social Media Manager at Southern Elegance. 

Buffer has a dedicated team building these features further, along with plans to expand them to other social media platforms. 

The new features only work for Instagram business profiles. To take advantage of the newly-released features, companies using a personal profile should consider switching to a business profile.

Check out buffer.com/engage to see these features in action.

About Buffer

Buffer is a social media marketing software helping small businesses build an audience and grow their brand. Using Buffer, small businesses can publish social media posts, analyze the results, and engage with their audiences, all from one central place.