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Day to day management of your channel

Monitoring and responding to inbound messages

Monitoring and responding to inbound messages is a two-way communication process that focuses on listening to the audience:

  • Inbound messages include inbox messages, comments, mentions and check-ins that you might receive on your social media channels.
  • Responding to inbound messages and engaging with your followers is one of the most powerful aspects of social media.
  • Inbound messages are integral to the way both internal and external audiences engage with your content, brand, channel or department.

Default setting for replying & Auto-replies

Having a default setting for replying to inbound messages gives teams a consistent and controlled way to resolve inquiries while retaining the channel’s tone of voice. However, it should be noted that the default setting to replying should always be adapted on a channel-by-channel basis.

If you want to use automated replies make sure that they are a fit to your channel’s tone of voice, and that you provide your audiences with emergency or alternative contacts.

'Minimum standards'

  • Follow the Online and Social Media Communications Policy. The policy sets out the required standards of behaviour for staff and students, at all times, when using social media and other online communication tools. The guidance notes that accompany the policy also offer further advice for managing a social media account.
  • Stay in touch with the Social Media Team. The team is here to help, and can work with you to get the most out of your content and support you when things go wrong.
  • Be Polite - aim to be courteous at all times and don’t argue. If a conversation gets out of control or gets offensive consider whether you should engage or not (see flowchart below).
  • Respond to genuine questions and signpost - a lot of incoming messages can be answered by sharing a link to a webpage or the contact details of the respective team (or individual) that can resolve the inquiry. Passing on this kind of information needs to be done in a GDPR compliant manner, therefore, sharing resource email accounts with audiences is recommended.
  • Respond promptly - where possible you should try and respond promptly. Even if you do not have the full answer, you can inform them that you are looking into their question and follow up with them when you have more information.
  • Evaluate your channel - evaluate the sentiment and the gravity of your inbound messages in order to improve your channels, campaigns and services.
  • Be CMA and GDPR compliant - make sure you are compliant with Competition and Markets Authority and GDPR guidance.
  • Use the best tools - explore the various monitoring applications and tools that are available, and choose the best one for your needs.
  • Be prepared for crisis communications - our approach in critical situations is to, initially, not engage but listen, monitor, evaluate and report. If you are not sure on anything, contact the central team at

How to respond – a flowchart