7 Ways to Use Instagram Direct Messages

ways-to-use-instagram-direct-messagesInstagram Direct is a feature of Instagram that enables you to send messages, pictures, and videos privately to users. You can send direct messages to one person, or up to 15 people in one thread. While social media in general benefits a business through more widespread exposure, this particular feature enables a business to engage with users  in a more targeted fashion. In terms of your small business and target audience, there are many ways to use Instagram Direct messages. If Instagram is part of your social media marketing strategy, then read on to find out how to use Instagram Direct messages to help grow your business.

1. Use Instagram Direct Messages to Reward Top Followers

Among your Instagram followers, you will have a select few who engage with your account most. They like your social media posts immediately, share your content frequently, and provide support and feedback through comments. Top followers are advocates for your brand who help to spread the word about your company. Use Instagram Direct messages to express your gratitude! Send a picture of a coupon, express your appreciation, and ask for a mailing address to send the coupon to. Or, if you are messaging a group, simply send a relevant photo and include a promo code in your message.
Keep in mind that you cannot embed clickable links into Instagram Direct messages. When providing links, be sure to send the link in its own separate message with the link only, so that users can simply hold their finger down on the link to copy and paste into their browser to their clipboard.

2. Connect with Industry Influencers through Instagram Direct Messages

Getting popular bloggers and industry influencers to review, feature, or post about your business is a great way to enhance your reach and boost your credibility. Connecting with these industry celebrities can be tricky, and their inboxes are likely crowded. If they are active Instagram users, however, Instagram Direct messages could be your best bet. Sending them a direct message with quick, visual, and bite-sized content could be a powerful way to establish that initial engagement.

When using the feature to reach out to influencers, make sure to brush up on your Instagram Direct messaging best practices. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with their accounts. Look at the content they publish—on all channels, not just Instagram. Get a feel for their values, writing style, interests, and what is important to them. This will enable you to show genuine interest in collaborating with them, and communicate with them in a way that best resonates with them. You will also show respect for their time by taking the time to do your homework first.

3. Provide Exclusive Updates on Instagram Direct

One way to strengthen your connection with your target audience is to post behind-the-scenes photos of your business. Giving followers an exclusive look at your company keeps things personal and helps them to feel special. You can use Instagram Direct Messages to get exclusive as well.
When launching a new product or service, you might have a select group that you want to inform first. Use Instagram Direct Messaging to give special customers a sneak peak at an upcoming product or first dibs on an offer. Putting these customers first is a way of thanking them for choosing your business first, and encouraging them to continue doing so.

If using Instagram Direct messages to provide exclusive information, be sure to make clear what your recipients can share. You may welcome them to share the picture or video after it has been launched, but to keep any promotional codes or passwords private.

4. Run a Contest Using Instagram Direct Messages

Instagram Direct messages can be used to run a contest, which is a great way to increase social media engagement. There are a number of ways to use Instagram Direct Messages for this. One way to do this is to post a photo with a description of your contest and a code. The first 15 people to direct message you with that code will get a coupon, discount, or small prize.
Another approach would be to post a photo, and the first 15 people to comment will receive a direct message from you with a coupon code, or details on how to enter a drawing. A third way to use Instagram Direct messages to run a contest is to have participants enter by sending you a direct message, either explaining why they should win, or providing a photo or video—which you might be able to post later.

5. Instagram Direct Can Generate Leads

Instagram is an easy, fun, and effective way to market your business. But did you know that it can also help you generate leads? With the proper research, Instagram Direct messages makes this possible. Dig in to hashtags and trends to find people who may be interested in your business. Perhaps they follow accounts similar to yours, are posting about problems that you solve, or show an affinity for a product that you offer. You may not have their email address, but you can reach out to them via Instagram Direct messages. You might offer a link to an eBook with a photo of the eBook cover, send them a before and after shot from a case study, or simply introduce them to other accounts that they might like. Instagram Direct messages can allow you to reach out to users in a personal and relevant way, to turn them into leads.

6. User Generated Content and Instagram Direct

Did you know that negative reviews can take the form of Instagram posts? The good news is, just as unhappy customers may voice their discontent over Instagram, happy customers will use it to express their joy too! Someone might post a picture of their bathroom that you just renovated, their beautiful lawn that you serviced, or their child at a preschool you run.
Use Instagram Direct messages to reach out privately and request permission to use their photos or commentary for commercial purposes such as testimonials and case studies. Direct messages are a quick and easy way to ask for what you want without adding another email to their inbox. It also eliminates extra steps such as clicking on the link in an email to get to the post, or downloading a screenshot that you attached.

7. Use Instagram Direct Messages to Ask for Reviews

One last way to use Instagram Direct messages is to ask for online customer reviews. If a loyal customer has posted something about how great your business is, reach out to them through Instagram Direct and ask them to write a review. Include a link to your page on the review site and ask the person to copy and paste it into their browser.

Direct Messaging may be a feature of many social media platforms, and there may be other ways to connect with customers and followers. However, Instagram Direct messaging provide a unique environment for communication, in a visual context that can enhance your interactions. Whether obtaining new leads, reactivating dormant followers, or increasing social media engagement, try Instagram Direct messages for your business objectives.

  • Lisa Hennessy

    Thank you for this very informative article. It’s just what I’ve been looking for!