Instagram DMs are one of the most useful tools for businesses because they create a key connection point between brands and users: here's how to use them effectively.

Instagram DMs, namely the Instagram direct messages: do you know what they are or have you ever thought of using them?

They allow you to personally send messages, pictures and videos to any user (and even create groups of up to 15 people); yet they are one of the least used tools on this social.

Why should you instead consider them and, indeed, leverage them to grow your business?

Let's start with a clear premise: the Internet has changed the way we communicate and learn. We can sift through history with a click of Google, get the answers to any question with Siri, upload photos and videos in seconds to YouTube, see friends and family on the other side of the world from any device.

What do all these things have in common? They are "snapshots." The idea of connecting and communicating quickly and immediately thanks to the Web has now become something we practically take for granted. 

This has an incredible implication for you as a brand or company: you have the opportunity to reach people in ways you would not otherwise be able to do and establish personal relationships with your customers on a large scale.

And guess what: Instagram is one of the busiest and therefore useful digital venues for building community, supporting customers, and building loyalty (by the way, I recommend you read these other two articles on Instagram Stories: why you should use them and 10 ways to increase engagement).

All of which you can do precisely because of direct messages as well; so why not consider them in your marketing strategy?

Trust me, it really is a piece of cake!

And if you don't know where to start, I'm here to help you: in this article, I'll tell you everything you need to know about using Instagram DMs and taking full advantage of them for your digital strategy.

What are Instagram DMs?

Okay, let's start with the basics: DM on Instagram stands for "Direct Message."

They are basically private messages arriving on Instagram chat and allowing you to connect with anyone on the platform.To access them, simply tap on the paper airplane icon in the upper right corner of your feed screen.

It is a personal and instant form of communication visible only to you and your recipient, a direct way one-to-one more intimate than the style one-to-many Typically used in brand promotion.

The most interesting thing is that you can leverage various types to encourage engagement, including text messages (the simplest form), pictures and videos (showing behind-the-scenes or a tutorial), voice messages, and sharing posts published in your feed.

Why are they useful?

The personal, private and instantaneous communication you can have with your followers through Instagram DMs brings with it numerous opportunities and benefits.

Here are the main ones!

Involvement and loyalty: exchanging messages in person with your audience allows you to create empathy; this, in turn, will result in the formation of a real network of people loyal to you and your brand, whose connection goes far beyond a simple transaction. And when you create a sense of connection and community around your business, you are already halfway to seeing increased brand awareness and your authority - And, therefore, your turnover. 

Networking and collaboration: Instagram DMs are an opportunity to connect and share quick ideas with people in your niche, not only customers, but also potential partners with whom you can establish important and profitable collaborations. In between posts, you can showcase your skills and especially your strengths that make you different from every other user within the platform.

Promotion and lead generation: While it is true that it is best not to overdo promotional messages, it is also true that this does not mean that direct messaging cannot help you advertise your business and acquire leads. The secret to doing it right is always to share value, through the personal touch you give by speaking directly to people and the engaging content you offer.

Customer Care: most consumers see responsive customer service as the most important factor in having a positive experience with a brand: so Instagram DMs are a crazy tool to leverage with this very goal. You can solve problems instantly-among other things, taking the place of the much-used bots yourself: being able to give human feedback to those who instead expect an automated response always makes a difference. Being always present will increase your authority within social, giving other users a compelling reason to continue following you.

Comparison and management of criticism: as you well know, no one can escape negative reviews or complaints; how often do you find not-so-nice comments under your posts? Leaving aside, of course, those who write gratuitous nastiness (who don't deserve your attention at all), for all other cases direct messages can be a great place to confront dissatisfied customers, to solve problems in a private, effective and personal way. 

7 ways to use Instagram DMs

Well, as you may have guessed, direct messages can improve your customer service, increase brand awareness, and contribute to promotional and sales efforts. But how can you make the most of them?

First, one important thing: avoid using them obsessively as if you were a stalker. You risk annoying people, rather than bringing them closer, and making them perceive your communication as spam to be ignored and deleted. This is the biggest mistake you can make!

If, on the other hand, you want to know how to take advantage of them to enjoy the benefits we have talked about, I have the solution for you: here are some best practices to follow.

#1 Offer Value

Send useful and valuable content to your customers, thinking about what they can gain from interaction that will engage them and make them loyal followers.

#2 Listenta

Leverage Instagram DMs to ask questions or take surveys, collecting feedback that you will use to improve your services; letting users know that you are interested in their opinion and that you will modify your actions based on it is a great way to give them a feeling of recognition and importance.

#3 Thanks

Use private messages to say thank you to someone who has just started following you; welcome people into your community, make them feel that they have become part of something special, so you can start building a lasting bond from the beginning. 

instagram DM

#4 Be informal and friendly

One of the advantages of direct messages is that they reduce the distance between you and your audience: so avoid using a cold, professional tone; instead, speak as you would to a friend. Oh, and don't send texts as long as a novel either: in addition to appearing a little too "aggressive," they also risk boring.

#5 Share content from your followers

If you see a post from someone who uses your product or a customer leaves you a great review, send a DM asking permission to repost it, such as in your stories; letting followers see the compliments you receive is a great way to spread a positive image of your brand.

#6 Rewards the best followers

Isn't it great when you have really engaged and loyal followers? They're the special ones who like everything you post, no matter what you're talking about: why not give them a quick DM to show your appreciation? Send a private thank-you message or reward them with something unique and special. Be creative!

#7 Contact influencers

Choose those whose following most closely matches your target audience, say something specific and nice about their work and why you think a collaboration would benefit both of you. And no, you don't need to have the budget to hire the Kardashians-think small, Instagram is full of "micro influencers" who are easier to reach and have a great following. Compared to classic email inquiries, contacting them via DM allows them to get to know you and your brand instantly.

Conclusion

Instagram DMs are one of the most direct ways to connect with your followers and your target audience. In fact, all other aspects of this platform (such as stories) are also crucial to growing your business, but direct messages complement your marketing efforts and enhance the value that your customers get from interacting with your brand.

Do you agree?

Well, I'd say that if you haven't used them until now, it's time to start doing so!

Be sure, though, like all marketing initiatives, it pays to develop the right strategic approach: social can distract you from everything else and take up a lot of your valuable time, so make sure you organize and plan to manage it, even employing trusted collaborators to do it for you.

Photo by Souvik Banerjee on Unsplash