[Reply] Automation rules

Automation Rules are only available on our Business Plan. More information on our plans can be found here.



Automation Rules are a powerful way to automate common tasks like tagging, moving, assigning, or setting the status of, incoming conversations. In their simplest form, you'll setup a Filter to match specific incoming conversations, which you can then apply an Action to.

If you need a hand getting your rules set up for optimal success, please don't hesitate to drop an email to customersuccess@buffer.com and we'd be thrilled to help!

Setting up Rules

To get started, click  Settings on the left hand side of your dashboard and then select the Rules tab.


Click New Rule.


The first thing to do is select the filter you'd like to use. Filters allow you to target specific conversations, based on criteria such as keywords or language, which you can then apply automated actions to. Here's a run down of the filters you'll see:

  • Contains: Filter conversations by keyword, hashtag or phrase. This will search the body text of a thread item, e.g. a tweet or Facebook comment. This is one of our most popular filters.
  • Contains (Include Links): Similar to the Contains filter, but also searching within links. For example, you could use this filter to search for keywords within links like UTM parameters, or to filter conversations that contain shortened links, e.g. buff.ly or bit.ly.
  • Contains Only Mentions: Filter conversations that only include mentions, but no actual text content. For example, when a Facebook user only tags a friend in a comment on a post.
  • Begins With: Similar to the Contains filter, but only searching the body text that starts with a given keyword or phrase. For example, pre-populated Tweets or other messages.
  • Recipient Is: Filter conversations sent to one of the social accounts you have connected to Buffer Reply.
  • Language Is: Filter conversations based on detected language. Reply currently supports the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Urdu.
  • Type Is: Filter conversations based on type. This includes Twitter @mentions, direct messages and searches, Facebook comments and private messages, and Instagram comments.
  • Is In Reply To Tweet: Filter conversations that were in reply to a specific tweet (based on the tweet's ID).

Please note, the Contains filters do not currently support comma separated lists. Rules containing multiple words will only find conversations with an exact match. For example, a Contains filter with "shipping, ships, delivery" would only find conversations with that exact phrase, it would not find conversations containing any of those keywords. We hope to include support for more advanced searching soon!


The next step is to choose an action, i.e. what should happen to conversations matching the filters you've set? Here's a run down of the actions you'll see:

  • Assign To: Assign matching conversations to a specific team member.
  • Move To: Move matching conversations, either to the Spam folder, or one of your custom folders.
  • Tag With: Add a tag to matching conversations. Please note, only existing tags can be added. If you need to create a new tag, hop over to the Tags tab within Settings.
  • Set Status To: Set the status of matching conversations to Closed.


Once your filter and action have been defined, click Save Rule.

Order of Rules

At the moment, it is not possible to combine multiple filters and actions. For example, if you wanted to automatically assign and tag conversations based on keywords, you would need to create two separate rules.

One thing to bear in mind is that rules are generally run top to bottom, which is sorted by creation date, oldest on top. If you have conflicting rules, the one created most recently (i.e. sitting closest to the bottom of your list) will take precedence.

Example A

You have the following two rules:

  1. FILTER “Contains = shipping” and ACTION “Assign to = Hannah Voice”
  2. FILTER "Contains = shipping" and ACTION "Tag With = shipping"

These rules do not conflict, so matching conversations would be assigned to Hannah Voice and tagged with shipping.

Example B

You have the following two rules, where the first one was created before the second:

  1. FILTER â€śContains = shipping” and ACTION â€śAssign to = Hannah Voice”
  2. FILTER â€śContains = shipping” ACTION action â€śAssign to = Darcy Peters”

These rules are conflicting. Matching conversations will be assigned to Darcy Peters, since that rule was created most recently and sits closest to the bottom of the list.


Automatically move conversations to a custom folder based on recipient or message type

By default, all new conversations will land in the Team Inbox. This works great for smaller teams, where everyone is responding to anything and everything. However, if you have specific teams dealing with certain conversations, they might find it easier to work out of dedicated folder(s) as opposed to the Team Inbox. This can be achieved using a combination of tags and automation rules. Two common setups are:

  1. Routing conversations to folders based on recipient (i.e. the social account receiving the conversation)
  2. Routing conversations to folders based on message type (e.g. Tweets, Direct Messages, Facebook Comments, etc)

Check out this comprehensive guide on configuring either of these setups >>

Automatically assign conversations containing a specific keyword

Perhaps one particular person within your team deals with all enquiries of a specific type. For example, maybe Katie takes care of all shipping related questions.

In this case, choose Contains from the "Select Filter" drop down and then specify the keyword "shipping". Next, choose Assign To from the "Select Action" drop down and choose Katie.

Automatically assign Spanish conversations to your Spanish speaker

Maybe you gets lots of conversations in Spanish and there is a particular person on your team who speaks Spanish and therefore deals with those questions best.
In this case, choose  Language Is from the "Select Filter" drop down and then select Spanish. Next, choose  Assign To from the "Select Action" drop down and choose the appropriate team member.

Automatically change the status to Closed

Do you gets tons of Tweets that only contain mentions and find that they never require a response from you? You might like to auto-close those conversations.

In this case, choose Contains Only Mentions from the "Select Filter" drop down. Next, choose Set Status To from the "Select Action" drop down and choose Closed.

Automatically move conversations to Spam

Maybe the name of your brand or organization is real word. For example, at Buffer, we’ve seen Tweets about Netflix taking a while to “buffer”! Since these aren't relevant to us, we have a rule set up to automatically route those to our Spam folder.

In this case, choose Contains from the "Select Filter" drop down and then specify the keyword you'd like to filer on. Next, choose Move To from the "Select Action" drop down and choose Spam.

Conversations from social contacts that you have  muted will also be automatically routed to the Spam folder.