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An Underused Instagram Feature: Direct Messages

Looking for a way to stay connected to your followers, leads, and customers? Try Instagram’s direct message feature. This private message feature allows you to send videos, images, or messages directly to an individual or a group of people, and is a fun, genuine way to engage beyond your posts.

How to View Your Direct Messages

  • To open the feature, click the home button, which is the house icon in the left corner of your toolbar.
  • On the home screen you will see a folder icon in the top right corner. An easy way to tell if you have an unread message is to check and see if there is an orange dot on the home or direct message icon. If so, click on the folder icon in the top right corner.
  • Now you will see your lists of messages, which will look very similar to a text or group chat. Even better, with Instagram’s recent update you conversation will stay intact.
  • Remember to scroll through and check that you have read all of your messages; you never want a customer to feel ignored or miss some vital information from your followers.

How to Send a Direct Message

First, you can upload a video directly from your camera.

  • Simply click the camera icon in the middle of your toolbar.
  • Edit your photo just like you would for a regular post.
  • Then instead of posting your photo to your followers, click “direct.” This will allow you to send your picture to an individual or a group of up to 15 people. Once you’ve sent your message to more than one person it becomes a group message.
  • Even better, you can name the group. Just click the “I” in the top right hand corner. If you’re working on a team you can also add people to your group after the message has been sent.

Second, you can send a message from a picture you’ve already uploaded to your account.

  • Simply click on the arrow icon underneath your image to send the picture up to 15 people at a time. Once the image has been sent the message becomes a thread just like a direct message.

As a business owner direct message is an awesome way to build a better relationship with your customers. For example, I send a welcome video to my new followers on my @suebzimmerman account. Not only do people appreciate that I took the time to reach out, but I also utilize the video as a call to action and direct them to the my business account, @theinstagramexpert.

Whether it’s a coupon code, a book, or a just a personalized message, customize your message in a way that feels authentic to your brand. Remember, it’s best to first comment on someone’s post before you send him or her a direct message. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like spam which can potentially lead to someone unfollowing you. Just like your Instagram posts, you always want your direct messages to be genuine and in line with your brand’s message. It can take time, but building those relationships will allow you to make deeper connections, which leads to better long-lasting results.

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