Add the Instagram Channel to Help Scout to Manage Instagram Conversations

NEW Make meeting your customer where they are easier to manage — connect the new Instagram channel and bring the conversations customers start from your Instagram Business Account(s) into Help Scout. Your team can respond right along with your other conversations without having to switch to another app.

The Instagram channel is available for current plans. Only Account Owners and Administrators can access Inbox settings to add or manage the channel. See User Roles and Permissions for more on that.

Note: You will need to upgrade to a current plan to add the Instagram channel if your account is on a legacy plan. More information about legacy plans is here: Legacy Plan Changes

In this article

How the Instagram Channel Works

Connect the Instagram channel to Help Scout, and when someone sends a new message to your connected Instagram Business Account, that message will create a conversation in Help Scout.

The conversation subject will always start as New message from FirstName LastName on Instagram and every conversation will start with the instagram tag.

Click into the conversation and reply, just like any other conversation. The customer will see your reply in Instagram. Further replies from the customer will appear right back in this conversation in Help Scout.

Note: Only answer Instagram conversations from Help Scout after you've connected the channel to make sure you can see all replies in one place — if you reply to your customers directly in Instagram those replies do not sync back to Help Scout.

Differences in Conversation Handling

Help Scout

There are some differences with Instagram conversations when compared to other Help Scout conversations that you want to make sure your team is aware of before getting started.

  • Conversations will not include an email address.
    Meta does not share a user's email address in a Instagram conversation. You may choose add an email address to the Instagram customer profile and merge it with another customer profile in Help Scout to keep conversation history together if you know the customer's email address. See Merge Duplicate Customer Profiles for more help on that feature.
  • No outbound email will be sent with replies to Instagram conversations.
    Replies only go through Instagram, even if you have merged the customer profile with one that has an email address, and you cannot CC or BCC other parties or forward the Instagram conversation out of Help Scout, even if using Workflows.
  • You cannot use the Change Customer feature on any Instagram based conversation.
    Replies to Instagram conversations will only go to the customer that initiated the conversation via Instagram.
  • Formatting is not available when responding to Instagram conversations.
    Instagram does not support text formatting like italic or bold. The reply editor does not include the formatting toolbar for these conversations in Help Scout. Note that while you cannot format text as a link, Instagram will automatically recognize URLs in the text (for example, https://www.helpscout.com) and these will appear as links for your customers.
  • Further replies to and from a Instagram customer will continue within a single Help Scout conversation.
    A new conversation starts in Help Scout if the previous one reaches 100 threads (each reply from a Help Scout user or the customer is a thread), or the conversation has expired at Instagram. Instagram considers a conversation expired if 7 days have passed with no customer reply. You cannot reply to an expired Instagram conversation. You cannot split out threads from Instagram conversations to create new conversations manually.

Instagram

There are also a few differences with Help Scout conversations compared to handling them directly in Instagram that are worth noting as your team makes the switch.

  • Media your customers send in Instagram may come to Help Scout as attachments to the conversation.
    Voice memos, photos, videos, avatars, stickers, or thumbs up reactions sent by your customer via Instagram may show as attachments in Help Scout.
  • You won't see reaction emojis in Help Scout.
    Also known as tapbacks, these are emojis that Instagram users can apply to a single message as a reaction. These will not show in Help Scout.
  • You cannot send attachments or media back to the customer through Help Scout.
    You cannot send voice memos, photos, videos, avatars, stickers, or thumbs up reactions from Help Scout.
  • Read receipts will not appear in Help Scout. You will need to pop back into Instagram if you need to confirm your customer has read your reply. Just remember if you send a reply back directly in Instagram while you're there, it will not sync back to Help Scout.

Connect the Instagram Channel

There are specific requirements to connect an Instagram Business Account to Help Scout:
  • You must be a Help Scout Administrator or Account Owner.
  • You must be an Admin for the Instagram Business Account you want to connect to.
  • The Instagram Business Account must be linked to a Facebook Page that you have Admin access to.

Any Help Scout user with access to the Inbox can view and interact with the conversations according to their permissions after connection.


For more help on Help Scout permissions see User Roles and Permissions. For more help on linking a Facebook Page to an Instagram Account see How to connect or disconnect an Instagram account from your Page in Instagram's Help Center. For more Help on Facebook Page permissions see Manage roles for your Facebook Page in Facebook's Help Center.

Note: Newly linked Instagram Accounts and Facebook Pages can take up to 1 hour to connect. If you find that you are unable to connect your Instagram Account to Help Scout, please wait 1 hour and try again

1

Head to Manage > Inbox(es) > [Choose Your Inbox] in Help Scout. Scroll to find the Channels section and click Connect next to Instagram.

You'll head to Manage > Mailbox(es) > [Choose Your Mailbox] if you're not yet using the new Inbox. More about that here: What's New With the Inbox.

2
Click Continue with Instagram, making sure that you're logging in as the Admin for the Facebook Page that is connected to your Instagram Account.
3
Choose the Page(s) that are connected to the Instagram Account(s) and click Continue.
Note: You can only connect one Facebook account to any one Help Scout account, but you can choose multiple Pages and Instagram Accounts owned by that Facebook account.
4
Choose the Instagram Account(s) you would like to connect to and click Continue.

5
Confirm the specific Account you would like to connect to the Inbox and click the Account(s) you would like to connect to and click Connect Account.

You're all set — now you'll see Instagram conversations going forward in this Help Scout Inbox! 🎉

Change Settings or Remove the Instagram Channel


You can add or remove Instagram Accounts owned by the connected Facebook account at any time by clicking Manage next to the Connected Accounts header on the Inbox settings page.
Click Disconnect to remove the channel.

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