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  Article updated: June 11, 2024

Automate assignments and tags

Create and use keyword-based rules to automatically route messages and optimize your workflow in Inbox. With automation, you can do the following:

  • Ensure important messages aren't missed. Automatically route them to the correct individuals or teams.
  • Find keywords in streams.
  • Route direct messages to Inbox.

Plans: Enterprise

Admins or users with custom access can assign inbound messages based on specific keywords. For example, a hotel chain may want to create an assignment to monitor incoming social messages for the keywords "food poisoning" or "sick." They can then automatically route those messages to the PR or crisis management team.

Triaging with automation ensures timely replies by the right people in your organization. It also helps you categorize and track inbound and outbound messages. For more on this, see Tag posts and messages. Active automations run whether you are signed in to Hootsuite or not.

Using Hootsuite automated assignments and tags video.

Types of automated actions

There are two automated action types:

  • Inbox assignments - Assign incoming conversation threads to specific teams or team members in Inbox. These assignments are only viewable in Inbox. You handle and resolve these in Inbox. You can apply automated Inbox assignments to Twitter profiles (@mentions and direct messages) and Facebook Pages (visitor posts; and comments and replies on your organic Page posts, ads or dark posts).
  • Tags - Tags are useful to categorize posts. For example you can categorize positive interactions or campaign-specific replies. You can apply tags to individual posts in stream based on keyword themes like sentiment or topic. You can apply tags to Twitter profiles (@mentions and direct messages) and Facebook Pages (visitor posts, and comments and replies on your Page posts). Hootsuite Advanced Analytics customers can also apply tags to comments and replies on Facebook Page ads and dark posts. Before you use automated tagging, you must first create your tags. See Create and manage tags.

Gain insight into team efficiency and message volume using Analytics reports (see Track your team's performance).

Create automated actions

  1. Go to My profile, and then select Manage accounts and teams.
  2. Select Automation.
    The Manage area for a sample organization with automation highlighted.
  3. Select an automation type, and then select Create New or Add New Action to create a new tag or assignment action.
  4. Enter a name for your monitor so that you can easily identify it in your list of actions.
  5. Select the social accounts to monitor.
  6. Select the message types you want to monitor, and then select Apply.
  7. Enter the keywords to monitor (refer to the following keyword tips section). Leave the keyword boxes blank to tag or assign all messages.
  8. Under Automatically, select whether this action will tag messages (categorize incoming messages or assign them using Inbox (route incoming conversations).
    Automatically section showing options to categorize incoming messages, route incoming messages, and route incoming conversations.
    • If you select the Categorize Incoming Messages option, select the tags to apply.
    • If you select the Route Incoming Conversations option, search for and select the team or team member to receive the messages.
    • For Inbox assignments, ensure that assignees have permissions to view and respond to threads on the social account.
  9. For assignments, under Assign to, enter the name of the person or team to whom you want to route messages.
  10. Select Create Action.

Tip: Any admin who creates or edits an automated tag or assignment becomes the owner of that action, and that person's name appears as the assignor in email notifications.

Keyword tips

Separate keywords by commas, not quotation marks. Keyword fields support phrases, emoji, and non-Latin languages. Automation only matches a keyword in a message if it is an independent word or phrase - this means there must be a space before and after the word. Keywords are not case-sensitive. You are not required to enter keywords if you want your action to apply to all the messages you have selected. You can use one or more of the following keyword options:

  • Has all the following keywords - Messages must contain ALL of these keywords.
  • Has any of the following keywords - Messages must contain at least one of these keywords.
  • Excludes the following keywords - Messages containing any of these words are not tagged or assigned by this action.

Tip: Create a tag hierarchy by applying multiple tags to a message. For example, you could tag messages with ‘Billing’ or ‘Outage’ with the tag ‘Customer Support’.

How actions are applied

New incoming messages are reviewed against the actions in your list:

  • Messages that match the keywords in more than one tag action will receive all the tags from each matching action.
  • Messages that match the keywords in more than one assignment action will only be assigned once, based on priority. Assignments are prioritized in sequential order from top to bottom in the actions list. You can move actions to change their priority.

You can activate or pause actions using the toggle next to the action. Activated means it is on and actively monitoring incoming messages. Turn an action off to pause an action. Messages received when an assignment is paused will either default to any other relevant active assignments or not be assigned at all. If an action is turned on again, it will resume action on new incoming messages.

When automations are running, you can see them in action in Hootsuite stream feeds (go to Streams). Tags are visible on in-stream messages, and assignment banners display at the top of each assigned message.

Filter your inbound message metrics by tag in your Analytics reports. Or track support team response and resolution times with tags and assignments using Analytics reports (see Track your team's performance).

Duplicate, edit, or delete actions

Select More options next to an action to edit, delete, or duplicate that action. You can duplicate actions to use them as templates as a way to easily create new ones. You can also duplicate actions to assign and apply tags to the same messages. For example, create an assignment action that captures specific messages, and then duplicate it to create a tagging action for those same messages.

More selected showing options for edit action, delete action, and duplicate action.

Flagged actions

Actions flagged with a yellow warning are still active, however part of the action’s configuration has become invalid and it may not be performing as intended. This can happen when:

  • A social profile used in the action becomes disconnected.
  • Some, but not all tags used in the action are archived.

To remove the warning, edit the action, review its configuration, make changes, and then re-save it. If a social network involved in the action was disconnected, the action will continue performing once it's reconnected, but the yellow banner will still appear.

Actions flagged with a red warning are broken and stopped. Actions break when:

  • All social accounts used in the action are deleted.
  • All tags used in the action are archived.
  • The assignee's account is canceled.
  • The assignee's team is deleted.
  • The member who created an action is removed from the organization.

To fix a broken action, it needs to be edited and reconfigured by an admin. In some cases an action may need to be duplicated to recreate it.


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