Saturday, October 23Digital Marketing Journals

What is Instagram Direct? 6 Ways to Do Business & Drive Sales with Instagram Direct Messages


Have you heard of Instagram Direct, but you’re not sure what it is or how to use it?

Then you’re in the right place.

If you’re using Instagram to grow your business, it’s super important that you understand how to use Instagram Direct. 

That’s because Instagram Direct is the official messaging system from Instagram…and according to Facebook, 65% of users are more likely to buy from a business they can message.

Think of it this way: Instagram has over 1,000,000,000 monthly active users, and over 80% of them follow at least one business account. That means that making it easy for users to get in contact with you is crucial to growing your business online. 

Because of this, it’s more important than ever that business owners understand Instagram Direct, use it to its maximum potential, and take advantage of the many ways it can help to grow your business!

In this post, you’ll learn:

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What is Instagram Direct?

Instagram Direct is a private messaging feature from Instagram, one of the most popular social media apps out there.

More commonly, you’ll hear people refer to it as DMs (direct messages). Using Instagram Direct, you can have conversations in real time with any of your followers by sending short messages back and forth.

Why does this matter? Well, connecting with people one-on-one is a powerful way to do business and make sales online. Especially in the era of mass targeting and huge ad campaigns, people like to know they’re getting your undivided attention.

Is Instagram Direct different from Instagram?

Instagram Direct is part of Instagram. Just like its filters and algorithms, Instagram direct messaging is one of the many features on Instagram that make it so popular. 

Back in 2017, Instagram did launch a separate app called Direct — but the company discontinued support for it in 2019. It merged the old app’s functions with a new messaging app called Threads, which allows Instagram users to focus on conversations with their close friends.

For our purposes, though, Instagram Direct is not an app of its own. It’s a crucial part of Instagram’s interface, and it’s the key to rapidly growing your business on Instagram.

How do you go to your direct messages on Instagram?

You can access your direct messages from both your phone and your desktop. Here’s how:

How to access Instagram direct messages on your phone

Open the Instagram app. In the top right-hand corner, you’ll see the messenger symbol. (Older versions displayed a paper airplane.)

Instagram profile with messenger symbol highlighted

When you tap on the messenger symbol, you’ll be taken to your inbox. You’ll see two tabs — Primary and General — as well as a search bar.

Instagram Direct inbox

Tap on a conversation to enter it. You’ll be able to see old messages and send new ones.

Inside the Instagram Direct inbox

You can also use the search bar to message any of your followers. 

How to access Instagram direct messages on your desktop

To get to your Instagram DMs on a desktop computer, first go to Instagram.com and sign in.

You’ll see the same messenger symbol in the top right of the screen, close to your profile photo. 

On desktop you can get to Instagram Direct at the top right of your screen

Click on that symbol, and you’ll be taken to your inbox.

Here, you can find your previous messages — or you can click the pencil icon to start a new conversation.

Start a conversation in desktop with the pencil symbol

Pretty simple, right?

You can also start a conversation with any user by going to their profile and clicking “Message.” Keep in mind, though, that if they aren’t already following you, they’ll have to approve your message request before you can keep talking. 

How can Instagram Direct messaging grow your business?

Instagram direct messages are extremely powerful. That’s because they represent very high interest from the people messaging you. 

Think about it. Compared to liking, following, or even commenting, it’s a lot of work to go to someone’s profile, click “Message,” and think of something special to write.

So, if you can get people to direct message (DM) you on Instagram, you’re discovering a group of people who are so interested in your product or service that they’re willing to go out of their way to talk to you about it. 

And, when Instagram notices that your inbox is full of high-quality DMs, you actually get an algorithmic boost! That means that the content you post is more likely to show up in your followers’ feeds…which means more leads for you.

Here’s the takeaway: once you’ve GOT someone in your inbox, you’re only a few steps away from turning them into a warm lead…and soon enough, a paying customer.

6 ways to use Instagram Direct to do business and drive sales

1. Drive people to DM with a strong Call To Action in your bio

When you want more people to slide into your DMs, this tactic is a best practice to drive people to DM — where conversational commerce magic happens.

Your Instagram bio is a key place to include a call-to-action to send you a DM. Your Instagram bio the first thing people read when they tap on your profile, after all, so make every part count.

Check out our CEO Larry Kim’s Instagram bio to see what we mean:

Larry Kim’s Instagram bio

By using the clear CTA (call to action) “DM me: inbox,” Larry makes it easy for users to start a conversation. 

All they have to do is click the “Message” button. Users don’t even have to think of anything to say, since they can just write “inbox” and see what happens next.

And what happens next is pretty cool. Larry uses MobileMonkey’s Auto Reply Bot to follow up with everyone who DMs him, so no one’s left waiting. 

MobileMonkey's Auto Reply to Mentions tool

Check out his profile and try it for yourself! (Mobile Instagram app only.)

Using this strategy, you can get curious users into your inbox and ready to learn more about your product or service. And with MobileMonkey’s Instagram automation tools, you can tell them what they need to know in seconds.

2. Host a contest to promote a sale

If you’ve got a sale coming up, there’s a trick you can use to drive DMs and get more Story mentions all at once.

Story mentions are when someone tags you in their Instagram Story with @yourusername.

They’re incredible for boosting your engagement.

Here’s why: when people mention you in their Stories, all their followers see them talking about you. They can click on your username to go straight to your profile.

Also, Instagram loves Story mentions because it shows that you create valuable content that your followers directly engage with.

So how can you take advantage of this? Next time you run a sale, let your followers know that anyone who mentions you in their Story can win a discount offer! Then, once people start mentioning you, follow up with a DM. 

You could send all these messages by hand…but honestly, spending hours copy-pasting the exact same code to hundreds of people isn’t a very fun use of time.

Instead, try using MobileMonkey’s Story Autoresponder to Mentions tool to do it for you.

Every time someone mentions you in their story, MobileMonkey automatically sends a DM — the perfect place to include your promo code. 

MobileMonkey's Story Auto Reply to Mentions tool

Your followers get their discountcode instantly, and you don’t have to worry about spending hours in your Instagram inbox. 

3. Create an Instagram-only promo code

This is a great way to get more Instagram followers from your email list, mailing list, and other social media accounts.

Create a promo code that people can only get by following you and messaging you on Instagram. You’ll see a quick uptick in followers as people click over to get the code.

Like in tip 1, using MobileMonkey’s Auto Reply Bot is a great way to fulfill all these messages without wasting time (or getting burnt out). 

4. Collect emails by asking followers to DM you for a special offer

Notice a trend? Asking followers to DM you on Instagram is a great way to share promo codes, lead magnets, and outbound links — especially since you normally only get one link on Instagram (the one in your bio).

Here’s a tip: Every time you offer a freebie or a discount in your Instagram DMs, send your followers a link to a special landing page where they can enter their email address to get the freebie.

It’s up to you how often you use this, as some people might just want you to DM them a discount code and have done with it. 

But, if you’re offering something like a free ebook, email training, or a contest giveaway, it makes sense to ask people for their emails so you can send them what they want.

And with that, you’ve just grown your email list!

5. Drive people to DM by running Instagram Direct ads

Want to take even more advantage of Instagram’s DM funnels? Try running Instagram Direct ads — a special type of ad that brings users directly to your inbox.

If you click on most Instagram ads, they’ll bring you to an external landing page. A clothing ad might bring you to an online store, for example. 

Instagram Direct ads, on the other hand, bring users straight to your inbox. This is a great way to get your DM offers in front of people who haven’t heard of you yet.

Check out the flow for one of our own Instagram Direct ads:

A MobileMonkey Instagram Direct ad

Since Instagram Direct ads convert 5X to 10X higher than normal ads, this is definitely something you’ll want to look into. 

And with MobileMonkey’s Auto Reply Bot at your service, answering all the DMs your ads bring in has never been easier. 

6. Poll your followers (and follow up with Instagram Direct)

Another way to get your followers to engage is to run a poll!

Using Instagram’s Polls sticker feature, you can ask a question in your Story, which your followers can immediately answer.

A poll from Spotify's Story

The great thing about polls is that you get to see the answers and usernames of everyone who responded. Just swipe up on that part of your Story to open the viewers list.

For example, you might ask your followers if anyone’s interested in the free ebook you just published. Then, DM the link to the ebook’s landing page to everyone who answers “Yes.”

What’s the best way to create an Instagram Direct strategy?

By far, the best way to take advantage of Instagram direct messaging is to use a tool that makes delivering on all of your DM promises a cinch.

Without an Instagram-approved automation tool, you’ll have to reply to every DM by hand. In the gap between messaging you and getting your response, users could forget about you, or worse — decide they’re not interested.

With an automation tool, everyone who DMs you gets an instant response. As for you? You get to enjoy a boost in followers, engagement, leads, and customers — all flowing in from the same tool.

InstaChamp can help you win with every automation trick we discussed in this article, and more. Right now, it’s only open to users with 1K or more followers…but that’ll change in early August, when we open it up to everyone.

Now’s your time to join our crew as an early adopter and get ahead of the curve. Try it out, and let us know what you think!

Keen to know more about growing on Instagram? To learn about Instagram Marketing, Growth Marketing, SMS Marketing, and more, consider subscribing. You can sign up using the form on the right-hand sidebar.

GET NEW INSTAGRAM TOOLS FROM MOBILEMONKEY

Grow Instagram followers and engagement with new tools for influencers, artists, brands and D2C businesses. Sign up to be the first to use tools that generate elite engagement via Instagram DMs.



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