How to Grow Your Business with Instagram Direct Message

Thinking of sliding into your clients’ DMs?

Maybe you want to use the Instagram direct message to expand your business network?

Either way, an instant-messaging application within one of the world’s most popular social media tools can be a great way to expand your social strategy.

In a world full of regulations like GDPR that make it harder for brands to connect with their target audience, the Instagram direct message is one of the few existing opportunities that companies to have to engage in personalized interactions with their clients.

In addition to giving you a way to message your fans and customers, DMs also ensure that you can start meaningful discussions with everyone from future partners to potential influencers.

So, how do you use the Instagram DM?

Step 1 – Build a Rapport before Your Instagram Direct Message

If you want your Instagram direct message strategy to generate real growth for your company, then you can’t just throw spam into your customers’ inboxes. You need them to respond to what you’re saying.

To convince them to do that, you need to build a relationship with the people you’re messaging. The good news is that social media is inherently “social.” You can start developing the connection you need by “liking” the comments of the people you want to talk to, replying to their comments on your photos, or posting your own messages on their content.

Ultimately, it’s all about engagement. Reach out to the right people at the right times over multiple touch points, and you’ll seem a lot less creepy when you appear in their DMs.

Step 2 – Be Strategic with the Messages You Send

Now that you’ve spent some time building a relationship with the person you want to send an Instagram direct message to, you can start making contact. The golden rule to remember here is that first impressions count.

A basic message like “What’s up” or “Hey” isn’t going to grab anyone’s attention. However, it’s worth remembering that people don’t have time to read a novel when they’re ‘gramming, so you’ll need to keep things short and sweet. Try these tips for boosting your follower count.

  • Be professional: Use proper grammar spelling. “Wats up?” doesn’t look good for your brand. Make sure your tone matches the image you’ve built for your brand.
  • Be clear: Explain why you’re reaching out over DMs. Do you want to partner up on something? Do you want to discuss their needs or maybe turn them into a client? If you’re hoping to land a sale, explain why they should consider working with you.
  • Make it easy: Lay the value out right there in that first message so they know why they should work with you, and what’s in it for them without having to search through your IG feed.
  • Include a CTA: Use an informal call to action like “How about we arrange a call” or “Let me know if you’re interested” to push the person to do something at the end of reading your message.

Instagram's DM feature

Step 3 – Get Personal with your Instagram Direct Message

Sending a stream of copy/pasted direct messages to countless people in your contact list doesn’t look good – it seems spammy. Alternatively, a personalized Instagram direct message demonstrates that you’ve put time and effort into the communication. This is great for when you’re convincing an influencer to work with you, or you’re trying to earn a B2B sale.

So, how do you get personal?

Easy peasy, just:

  • Do some research: Scan through your contact’s Instagram profile and gather as much info as you can from their bio. Look at what kind of content they’re posting, and what they might be interested in getting from you.
  • Tailor your message to their preferred communication style: Do they like to keep things informal? Do they use a lot of emojis? Try and incorporate these details into your message to create affinity.
  • Avoid following a template: Although a template can be an excellent way to save time when you’re sending a lot of Instagram direct message correspondence, it also makes your messages seem stilted. The last thing you want is for your brand to lose its human touch.

Check out the profile for @NikkiTutorial, for instance. One quick glance is enough to tell you that she cares a lot about makeup, and she likes using emojis.

Screenshot of Nikki Tutorial homepage

Step 4 – Focus on Creating Connections

Ultimately, the whole point of sending an Instagram direct message is that you want to deepen your relationship with someone beyond the point of them being a follower or fan. If you’re asking someone to do something for you, like purchase your products, subscribe to something or even work with you as an influencer, make sure that you start by making them feel like they want to connect with you.

Instagram may be the happiest place on the internet, but people don’t have time to waste connecting with every brand that sends them a message. Try:

  • Talking about their most recent stories or videos: Show that you’ve done your research and people will see that you respect their time and their art. This is a great way to break the ice and get the conversation going.
  • Link to some pictures of your own that will interest them: Demonstrate that you have shared values if you’re reaching out to an influence. If you’re trying to make a sale, then link to pictures that demonstrate the value of your product or service.
  • Continue the conversation, but donโ€™t’ be creepy: Spend some time talking to the person you want to build a relationship with and asking them questions. However, if you don’t get any response after you’ve sent an Instagram direct message a few times, don’t just keep pushing. Know when to call it a day.

Step 5 – Consistently Offer Additional Value to Everyday Followers

While an Instagram direct message can be a fantastic way to build connections with influencers and B2B buyers, it’s also a tremendous opportunity to develop your relationships with consumers and everyday followers too.

Ultimately, you can connect with anyone on Instagram by sliding into their DMs. However, unless you can address the wants or needs of that person, then you’re unlikely to genuinely “reach” them. A few of the ways that you can deliver value to everyday followers and improve your brand reputation at the same time include:

  • Sharing exclusive coupons: Show your most loyal followers that you value them and appreciate the time they’ve put into following you and sharing your content. Exclusive coupons are a great way to start a buzz around your brand. You can even boost engagement by telling people that everyone who shares a specific branded hashtag will receive an exclusive code.
  • Handle customer service issues: If Instagram is where your company spends most of its time, then make sure that your consumers can get answers there. Let your people know that they can come to you in your DMs and ask any questions they might have.
  • Hold contests: Worried about disengaged followers on your IG account? Convert them into brand advocates by holding games which convince people to message you in exchange for a free mystery prize. To boot brand awareness, ask them to DM and tag friends in an IG post or story.

Screenshot of the Instagram DM feature

Dominating the Instagram Direct Message

Boosting your business performance with the Instagram direct message is easier than you’d think. However, it’s important to make sure that you don’t get too excited by the concept of messaging your followers.

Social media is a public space, but it’s worth remembering that everyone has their own boundaries when it comes to personal space. Don’t get weird with your messaging antics, and don’t send hundreds of messages if someone doesn’t reply.

If your DM strategy isn’t working and you need help gaining organic followers, there is a better way. Just reach out to Upleap for help building an Instagram audience with serious brand-building power.


By Rebekah Carter

Hi! I'm Rebekah, a full-time writer specializing in the spaces of digital content, business, social media and tech.

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