It’s crazy how much the internet has changed the world:
- With Siri, we can get the answers to any question we have.
- Videos can be uploaded within seconds on YouTube.
- Considered science fiction in the past, we can now be face to face with friends and relatives all over the world with facetime.
- With the simple click of a mouse, we can order a host of items for home delivery (often on the same day), without ever leaving the door.
What is the one thing that all of these actions have in common? they are all “instant”. In a world more connected than ever before with social media, “instant” connection has become a new requirement for communication, whether it be in business or in our social lives.
With direct messaging, businesses can now easily create an instant connection with their customers, in ways people in the past could only dream of. However, the majority of brands underutilize it in their marketing strategy.
What Is Instagram Direct Message ?
With Instagram DM, accounts can reach targeted Instagram users through pictures, text messages and videos effortlessly. You can even create groups of up to 50 people! You can connect with anyone from social media influencers to local businesses to Inc. 500 CEOs, all the way to celebrities for those who are determined enough in their efforts.
As the growth of social media will continue to increase in the years to come, maximizing Instagram DM needs to be a major aspect of every brand’s social media strategy. Here are some few reasons why this should be a priority:
#1 Networking Opportunities With Top Influencers
According to ClickZ:
- 39% of active Instagram accounts with over 15k followers are influencers.
- 22% of 18-34 year olds make a purchase after seeing an online influencer promote the item.
- By 2020, Influencer marketing will be a $10 billion industry.
Networking with influencers in your niche, and collaborating with them is a great way of enhancing your credibility on Instagram and boosting conversions. Using the devoted fan base of influencers, brands can focus on reaching a small target audience that will regularly communicate with a far wider audience in the long run.
While most influencers have their contact information on their Instagram bio, there’s a high probability that their inboxes are already jam-packed, and your email will go unnoticed. Therefore, contacting them through Instagram DM will be a more powerful way to create that instant connection.
How To Successfully DM Instagram Influencers
- Find Instagram accounts related to your niche: Let’s say your business sells sneakers. You can start your marketing strategy by searching the hashtag “sneakers”. Examine the most recent and popular posts and carefully inspect every single account. You don’t necessarily have to DM accounts with 100,000+ followers. “Micro-influencers” (accounts that have between 2,000 and 50,000 followers) will do just fine, as long as they have solid engagement.
- Screen accounts based on their engagement: While follower count is important, many high follower accounts are not worth doing business with: for example, brands should avoid accounts that buy fake followers, do outdated “follow for follow” tactics to grow their base, etc. For example, if an account only has 3000 followers but every post has 930 likes and 315 comments, contact them via DM: what matters is that the engagement between the influencer and their followers is strong.
- Offer value: instead of thinking “what can I get out of this ?”, think about how collaborating with them will benefit them in the long run or what you can do to solve a problem they may be experiencing. Don’t become a spam bot.
- Repeat the process: Be prepared for some influencers to refuse your offer, especially if you are just starting out as a small brand. Don’t let that discourage you: get the ball rolling and DM influencers until one of them says “yes”.
#2 Better Customer Care
Pleasant and smooth customer service is one of the universal keys to success for every brand, no matter the niche. Instead of going for a phone call or finding your website, today’s customers are more likely to use social media to ask for assistance or voice their opinions on a precise product.
Here are some statistics that brands need to know about social media and customer care:
- 80% of consumers use social media to engage with brands.
- When it comes to customer service, 54% of customers prefer social media messaging channels over email or phone.
- Customers that receive a response from brands on social media are willing to spend up to 20% more and are 30% more likely to recommend the brand to a friend.
- It costs 6X more to solve a customer issue through a call center than on social media.
Instagram DM is a quick and easy way to answer any questions customers may have, to thank them for making a purchase or to resolve an issue. Having private conversations with your clients will create that instant connection they crave and prove that you take your customers’ satisfaction very seriously. Actively engaging with your customers via Instagram DM will set your business apart from your competitors: it will foster positive relationships between you and your customers, and build their trust in your brand.
#3 Providing Executive Updates To Customers
Whether you’re launching a new product or service, your followers can easily be up to date of what’s to come from your business thanks to Instagram DM. Instagram DM gives brands the ability to create private groups and inform their following of any changes that might arise within your business. Here are some examples of what brands can DM to update their followers:
- Hi! Thank you for staying us. We want to let you know that our website has been redesigned, and made to be more convenient for our customers. Come check it out and tell us what you think: (LINK).
- Great news! We have launched a new product line. We listened to the recommendations of our followers and tailored them to fulfill your wishes, so come check it out. Go to (LINK) and pre-order now at 20% off.
- Hello there! From XX.XX.XXXX to XX.XX.XXXX, all products from our latest collection will be 40% off. This offer is limited, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity!
A good strategy to adopt is to first find a specific group of followers that frequently comment and like your Instagram posts. The next step is to DM them special offers from your brand, in exchange that they campaign for your brand and spread the word.
By targeting specific people instead of all of their followers, brands can easily find people that can contribute to their business and thank them for having chosen their brand.
Direct messaging can also be used to promote discounts and promo codes that can be claimed at your online store or website. Here are samples of messages that can be sent to highly engaged followers:
- Hello, how are you? We would like to present to you our new amazing product with 30% discount. Check it out on our website.
- Hello there. Starting this week, we are launching our new loyalty points program. Get up to 10 points by purchasing one item on our website. If you reach 50 points, you can claim your prize. Participate to win to amazing gifts from (BRAND NAME)!
- Greetings! Hesitant to join our paid subscription plan ? Come try our 30-day free trial. It includes all of the main features so that after expiration you can decide on the best-paid plan for you. Enjoy!
#4 Organizing Contests
One of the fastest ways to increase engagement, generate leads and grow your account on Instagram is through contests. In fact, according to research done by Tailwind, Instagram accounts that hold contests regularly grow 70% more than accounts who don’t. Instagram contests get 3.5 times as many likes and 64 times more comments on average than regular posts.
Instagram DM is a great tool for marketers to help them organize contests and giveaways.
For example, Albion Fit is a swimwear company that regularly hosts contests as part of their marketing strategy. In the example below, they ask entrants to pick between four swimsuits as their gift, and tag one of their friends who then have to also follow the account. The brand then picks their winners and contacts them via DM.
Shortly after Instagram introduced the DM feature in 2013, the Kardashian family decided to leverage it to promote their fashion brand via a contest. Fifteen lucky followers were sent, via Instagram DM, a private “behind the scenes” photo from the line’s 2014 campaign if they reposted the message with the hashtag #KKDirect. This hashtag boosted their engagement exponentially, by generating thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.
Wrapping Things Up
You should not underestimate the benefits that Instagram DM can do for your brand. Utilized correctly, it can be a great tool for new business opportunities and boosting your conversions. Now it’s up to you to test out what strategies to take and to see what works best for your business.
Thierry Diallo is a freelance writer who offers copywriting and content marketing in subjects related to productivity, entrepreneurship, and marketing. You can follow him at his blog thierrydiallo.com.