Instagram has offered us a plethora of ways to communicate and connect with other online communities. Commenting and liking one another’s posts, along with the practice of hashtags, are three popular methods of reaching out to others on the platform.
However, one feature allows for a far more personal touch: Instagram Direct.
The Instagram Direct Messenger is a convenient built-in tool that enables users to directly contact other accounts on the website (with the popularly-used term, “DM”, standing for “direct message”).
These conversations pop up as their own little back-and-forth between you and another user or group.
Of course, online messengers are no new concept, and the Instagram messenger doesn’t exactly break new ground with its interface.
However, the ability to direct message breeds plenty of engagement potential; benefits that we’ll be discussing below.
For those new to the platform and its tools, here’s how to work your way around the Instagram DM.
A Guide To Using the Instagram Direct Messages
Those familiar with standard online messengers won’t have much trouble getting around Instagram’s.
To send and receive direct messages on Instagram, simply tap the paper airplane icon on the right-hand corner of your screen.
This will open up a screen of archiving all the messages you’ve received.
Select an existing user from your inbox, or search one up in the designated field.
Once you’ve selected a profile to contact, your screen should display your message thread.
In the field below, simply enter your message and hit “Send”.
If the other person is yet to follow you, your message will appear as a “Message Request” that they would then have to approve.
Pretty simple, eh? Here are a few other things you can send across the Instagram messenger.
Sending Stories As Instagram Direct Messages
Users who enjoy the Stories feature can also choose to send their updates exclusively to other accounts.
Once you’ve set up your story and published it onto your profile, tap to view it. Under “More” select the option, “Send to…”
Doing this should open up a list of available users you can send your story to. Search up your desired profile, and hit the blue “Send” button. And that’s it!
Of course, we all love viewing other people’s stories as much as sharing our own.
If you find a particularly entertaining Story from another profile that you wish to share, view that person’s story, and select the paper airplane icon at the bottom of the screen.
Like previously, this should pop up a list of users. All you need to do is send it to the person (or people) you’d like to share it with.
Sending Disappearing Photos or Videos in Your Instagram Direct Messages
The Instagram messenger also has the Snapchat-like feature of sending temporary photos or videos. These are messages that are only visible after one view unless you’ve enabled a replay option.
To send a disappearing message, search up the name of the profile you’d like to contact.
Hit the camera icon next to their name, and you have the option of shooting a new photo (or video) or selecting an existing one from your camera roll.
Once you’ve chosen your image or video, you’re then presented with options to edit your media, much like a Story.
At the bottom of your screen, you have the option of letting the viewer see your message once (“View Once”), twice (“Allow Replay”), or to keep a preview image of the message visible in the message thread (“Keep in Chat”).
The ability to send disappearing messages is only applicable to users who follow you or who have previously approved messages from you.
Sending a Poll Through Instagram Direct Messages
Instagram polls are a fantastic way of collecting opinions from your audience.
To send an exclusive poll to another Instagram account, select a username, group name, or create a new group chat on the Instagram messenger, and hit the camera icon.
This should open up your camera, giving you the option to shoot a new photo or video or select an existing one from your camera roll.
Once you’ve chosen your media, tap the “Stickers” option at the top of the screen. In the catalog displayed, select “Poll”.
Enter your question and answer options, slap on any additional designs, and tap on the user icon to send!
Creating a Group Chat on Instagram Messenger
Of course, any online messenger must have the option of creating a group chat.
To do this, hit the “New Message” icon at the top right-hand corner of your Messenger (the image should be an outline of a pencil in a square).
This should bring up some suggested users, each with an empty circle next to their name. To create a group conversation, tap the circle on each of the users you’d like to add. When you’re done, hit “Chat”.
This automatically creates your group chat. You have the option of sending text and visual messages, as well as the ability to name your conversation.
Everyone added can view and send messages within the chat.
When creating group messages, users have the ability to add up to 32 people.
“Un-sending” Messages on Instagram Messenger
We’ve all been there. Sending messages to the wrong people is an all-too-common flub for even the savviest of social media savants – but luckily, Instagram has an option of reversing any embarrassing (or even incriminating) direct messages.
To do this, select the conversation in your Messenger archive.
Simply tap and hold onto the message you’d like to “un-send”, hit the displayed prompt – and you’re clear as day!
Reporting Inappropriate Direct Messages on Instagram
Every user is bound to get their fair share of spammy, inappropriate, or even disturbing direct messages from time to time.
When this happens, and you’re certain that the content violates Instagram’s guidelines, simply open up the message thread, tap and hold onto the message, and select “Report”.
You can then stop the person from sending you any future messages by blocking their Instagram profile.
How To Use Instagram Direct Messages to Your Advantage
Now that we’ve covered some key features of the Instagram DMs, here are some effective way of using them for your brand or business benefit.
1. Connect with Instagram Influencers
Instagram direct messages possess great networking opportunities for users in the same industry.
Getting in contact with other names in your field has never been easier – all you need to do is look them up on Messenger, open a new message, and introduce yourself!
Keep in mind that contacting high-profile brands or influencers may prove a tad difficult from all messages they’re likely already getting.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to try. Users may have a better chance at having their messages are seen and responded to by keeping them concise, to-the-point, and visual.
2. Establish a relationship with your followers
Instagram’s messenger is not only great for networking with new profiles, but for getting personal with your own audience base.
Use direct messaging to get in contact with users who participate in your contests or online campaigns.
This is an effective, personal way of expressing your appreciation for their support and letting them know of any discounts or items you’d like to reward them.
People are likely to appreciate how you took the time to reach them exclusively, which can help strengthen their relationship with your brand.
You can also use direct messages on Instagram to contact customers for any reviews they’d like to provide, helping you boost your business image.
3. Appear authentic
When direct messaging anyone on the platform, it’s important to always remain genuine in your efforts.
Approach each person on the platform like a real person. Ditch message templates or anything that might appear copied-and-pasted.
Connecting with other users on the platform will prove easier when you take the time to actually connect, making sure the other person’s content, knowledge, or opinions are valued in your approach.
This is especially important when reaching out to new users for the first time – robotic, cold-selling messages are more than likely to be skipped over and deleted.
If you’re going to pitch something, be sure the other person’s awareness of how it can benefit them.
Hardly anyone enjoys being blatantly sold to, but efforts to create real relationships are generally more warmly received.
Additionally, you’d probably want to ditch the use of “auto-responders”.
These are highly likely to appear spammy and may damage existing connections you already have.
To maintain the quality of your Instagram engagement, be sure to keep each direct message genuine and personal.
Sending direct messages on Instagram from your PC
If you’re an avid PC user (which would make most of us, really) it may be more convenient to send Instagram DMs through your desktop.
Thankfully, there are a handful of easy-to-use Instagram messenger tools for PC – all for free! Hello to a larger messaging interface, with the ease of typing things up on your keyboard, instead.
Tools for sending Instagram direct messages on PC
IG:dm is a third-party software for Instagram available on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Upon opening the program, a new window pops up displaying your current Instagram inbox.
The interface is similar to that of the mobile app; users can easily view their most recent messages and search up new users.
The software also has additional features, including the option to view users who aren’t following you back, disable “Seen” receipts, and quote messages in a conversation thread.
For those with multiple Instagram accounts, the “Pro” version of this program allows you to log in to more than one profile, providing easy management of interactions across all accounts.
2. Windows 10 Instagram App
If you’ve got Windows 10, the Instagram desktop app should be available in the Microsoft store.
Simply search up “Instagram” and select the first result.
Click on the option to download and the program immediately start the installation process.
Upon launch, then select the option to sign in to your account. Follow the prompts, and you’ll land on a screen that looks exactly like your Instagram feed.
The rest works exactly like a regular Instagram app – click on the paper airplane icon in the upper right-hand corner to view your existing conversations and search up other profiles you’d like to message.
3. Android Emulator
An android emulator works exactly as its name suggests: emulating your favorite mobile android apps for the desktop.
One such popular software is known as BlueStacks – which, while primarily used for bringing Android games to a PC interface, can also be used to access social media apps such as Instagram.
Upon downloading this program, search for the Instagram app in the provided search bar. When you’re redirected to the Google Play screen, select the option to Install.
Instagram will then be added to your “My Apps” library.
Click on the icon to launch the app. This opens up a vertical window similar to the frame of a mobile device.
The interface of the program will simulate that of a mobile Instagram app. Everything should work exactly the same – just click on the messaging icon in the upper corner of the window, and access your conversations from there.
For MAC users, Flume is an ideal software option for accessing all of Instagram’s features on your desktop.
Among these is Instagram Direct, providing users with desktop notifications when new messages are received, and automatic, real-time refreshing of your conversation threads.
Should users enable “push” notifications, new message and message request alerts will continue to be received; even when the program isn’t openly running.
Along with direct messaging on Instagram, Flume users can also update their feed, check on their latest account activity, and review profile statistics – though some features may only be accessible through their “Pro” version.
Optimize Your Instagram Messenger
As discussed, Instagram direct has brought about plenty of benefits for influencers and businesses. They’re not only great for getting to know your followers better – but the perfect marketing tool for networking and connecting with others in your field.
Through tips, tricks, and effective practices we’ve mentioned in this article, you’re armed with all you need to use this feature to your advantage.
So, get conversing, you never know what new business (or personal!) relationships you might end up creating.