Have you heard the news? The latest version of Instagram includes a direct messaging service.

Until now, any images or comments posted to an Instagram public account were visible to anyone. While the openness of Instagram is part of its appeal, there may come a time when you want to contact a user or small group of users for a multitude of reasons.

What is Instagram Direct Messaging?

Instagram direct messaging allows you to send an image or video directly to another user. The user(s) you select are the only ones who will receive the image, located in a separate inbox.

How to Send an Instagram Direct Message

There are two ways to send direct messages: by selecting an audience when you upload a new image or through the inbox.

Audience Selector

When uploading a new image or video to Instagram, you have the option to choose to submit/send it to Followers or Direct.

The default here is Followers, so you’ll have to click on Direct to choose the users you want to contact.

Instagram provides a suggested list of users with whom you regularly interact, so you may have to scroll down to find a specific user. Or, there is an alphabet menu on the right of the screen which helps you narrow down the list. There is a 15 user limit to the number of people you can add to a direct message.

From this point, add your image caption, select the users you want to send the message to and hit send.

Through the Inbox

Your message inbox can be found in the upper right corner of the app. If you have any new messages, you will see a notification.

To send a message from the inbox, select the + icon at the upper right.

Instagram walks you through the same uploading process; however, in this case the audience defaults to Direct (rather than Followers).

An Important Note:

You can send a direct message to anyone on Instagram. If you send a message to someone who is not following you, the message will go to a pending message folder, where users choose if they wish to accept direct messages from you.

There are many ways marketers can make use of Instagram direct messaging. For example, you can take a customer service discussion to a direct message to avoid having public conversations which may damage your brand. Another idea? How about sending your VIP customers a special sale code or offer.

Have you thought about using Instagram direct messaging to communicate with your customers? How will you implement this new feature into your social media marketing plan?

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