Posted By: Jason
Sending a direct message on Instagram might not be something you have ever done, especially not to someone you don’t know in person. That might just be about to change. Last month, internationally recognised and self professed internet personality, Gary Vaynerchuk announced that ‘Instagram DM (Direct Message) is the single biggest networking or business development opportunity of this decade’. It won’t always be this way but for the meantime, it is actually a fantastic opportunity for you to talk to whoever you want to, privately.
This post will uncover how Instagram DM can be used to see your business reach new heights and help you implement it into your marketing strategy today.
At this moment in time, Instagram are yet to implement any filters for people to specify who they will allow and who they won’t allow to message them directly. Due to the fact that there are no restrictions to who you can message directly on Instagram, you have the ability to communicate with anyone, from your local businesses to small-scale social influencers, international companies to celebrities. Of course, there is no guarantee that every message you send will be opened or responded.
Just as any new feature on a social network has its privacy regulations improved upon, Instagram is most likely going to offer its users a chance to turn off their DM feature or allow them the chance to refine who can contact them via the platform. Already businesses have latched onto direct messaging as a ‘way-in’ and are sending copied texts to thousands of people each day. This might see Instagram change the DM regulations soon to avoid endless complaints of spam.
As we’ve established, although you can currently message any Instagram user in the world, you can’t ensure that your message will be answered but there is something you can do to make it much more likely that you will hear back from the people you message.
The key lies in personalising each message you send. So this involves a little more work than a simple DM but in the grand scheme of things, it is worth it. If you want to get a conversation flowing, you will have to spend some time working out exactly what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it.
Start by setting yourself a goal. Do you want to get 5 local businesses to sign up to receive your services? Do you want a social media influencer to feature your product on their account? Do you want to simply gain followers and raise brand awareness amongst your target audience? Once you have addressed this, it’s time to start researching. Finding the accounts of the people you want to talk to isn’t going to be hard. There are numerous ways you can sort through accounts to find the people you want whether that’s via the locations they have visited, the hashtags they use or the other people they follow.
Before you type out any message, have a further look into who they are and what they’re interested in. Who are they following? What does their content look like? If they have any links on their account, to a website for example, check that out and find out more about them. It only takes a couple of minutes and it will help you make an impression, thus making it more likely that person will reply.
The best accounts to message aren’t necessarily the ones with the largest number of followers, they might have just a couple of hundred in fact. What matters is how many interactions they’re getting on what they post. You can assess this by looking at the amount of likes they get on an average post and how many people comment on their pictures and videos. If they are able to get a wide amount of engagement then they’re going to be more valuable to you then accounts with thousands of followers but little to no engagement.
As a top SEO Agency, we did some research into the topic of Instagram DM. We wanted to see what kind of messages are being sent out regularly via direct message and assess what makes one DM more appealing than another. We looked at 50 direct messages sent to our account and found that 90% of direct messages sent on Instagram from one business to another were copied and pasted. There was absolutely no research done into who the receiving account was, what they did or how the sending company could help them (or if there was, there was nothing to show for it). An example of one of the messages sent to our Lexel Instagram account from another business can be seen below:
Unsurprisingly, this message didn’t compel us to reply. First of all, there is no greeting. This DM gives off a strong ‘copy & paste’ feel as there is absolutely no personal information put in. The sender would have been much better off addressing it ‘Hi Lexel’ and perhaps adding a polite follow up such as ‘we hope you’re doing well today’. Then would have been the time to grab their receiver’s attention. It would have been prime time to have shown that they’ve taken an interest in the Lexel page or even our website and that they know what it is we do at Lexel.
Here is another example of a DM sent to the Lexel account. This one is better than the last as it has included a deal (‘free 30 minute consultation’), a call-to-action (‘Why wait? Email us today’) and an email address. That said, there is still no personalisation in this message. The sender has not displayed any actual interested in who Lexel are or checked out our account to see how they might be able to help with our ‘business goals’.
A better message could have looked something like this:
‘Hi Lexel, hope your week is going well so far. We love what you’re doing in the website and app world, congrats on your recent award wins. We are currently offering 30 min free Skype consultations to companies who we believe would benefit from our social media strategies. Get in touch if you’re interested and we can propose how to double your online following in just 2 weeks. Our email is …’
This message has covered it all. From a personal and friendly opening, demonstration of a little further research into the company, a deal and a proposal before finally, providing an alternative method of contact.
For the power of the Instagram Direct Message to work, you also need to make sure that your account is up-to-scratch. Is the content of high-quality? Is all of your information correct and does your bio explain who you are and what you do? You don’t necessarily need to have a huge following to be able to get the right people to reply to your DMs, you just need to have a consistent account which reflects your brand and gives off a professional and attractive feel.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a well written DM and replied? If so, pick up on what it was that made you want to reply. If you, too, have been received a not-so-thought-out DM, what made you not want to reply? These are two important things we can learn from today.
Now, get out there and research, research a bit more and get chatting via Instagram DM.
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