How To Direct Message On Instagram & Why It’s Urgent You Do It Now


So, I could start this article with an incredibly dry “here’s how to direct message on Instagram”…or, I could cut to the chase and tell you that sliding into someones DM’s isn’t a bad thing anymore.

Nope. These days you can use Instagram messages to grow your account, your business…and…pull in more dollar bills.

Because, after using Instagram messages, you’ll see it’s an incredibly effective way of building rapport.

And, by now, we all know…

Rapport = Trust = Sales = Hellz Yeah

It’s true…and…it’s dead-simple.

If you can build trust and rapport with your audience, they’ll buy from you. And what better way to build trust than to hit ‘em where they expect only their friends and family to be…

You got it: Their inbox.


Here’s the big problem.

What if you don’t know how to message on Instagram?

And…what if you end up doing it wrong and actually start losing followers? Or worse…get labelled as a spammer. *Dun, dun, dunnnnn*

Doing it the wrong way could end up killing your account and losing you money. And, it goes without saying but…we don’t want that, do we?

Say it with me.

No, we don’t want that. Good. So let’s see how to do it right.

How To Direct Message On Instagram

Now, when I say how to, I literally mean how to do it. There’s a few ways to send direct messages and you might want to know them because it can help you stand out above the rest of the crowd who only know about the most obvious ways.

So, let’s get moving.

In The Camera Upload

Hopefully you’re on the ball here and you’re already saying “hold on a darn minute, you can’t do that anymore!”

Well Jack, you’d be right on the money with that. You can’t do this.

Buuuuut, I know some of the first articles to show up on Google haven’t been updated…ever…so they’re still recommending this as an easy way to do it.

The truth is, you don’t need it anyway, instead you can…

Direct Message Directly On A Post

Grab your phone and pull up any post at all on Instagram…go ahead…I’ll wait.

Done? Awesome. Well, you see that little paper plane below the photo of the cute little puppy you’re looking at…yeah? Good. That’s the new way to quickly send messages on Instagram.

And, that’s not all. Not only is it the new way to do it, it also makes it sooo much easier for you to share your content with engagement groups and specific followers.

Look for the paper plane below any post, tap it, then choose your target.

Now, hit send…and….boom. They got mail.

Easy, right? Well, for those true newbies out there, let’s take a look at where that mail goes, and how you can…

Send Messages From Your Inbox

See, if you’re anything like I am, your inbox is a place you don’t want to be.

I mean, why would you?

It’s just full of really bad auto-responder messages from those “out-of-the-loop” Instagrammers out there who still think it’s the way to do business…newsflash…it ain’t. And if you do it…stop. Right now. Trust me, there are better ways to do it.

But, you’re in the loop now… so… you know not to use them.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the dreaded inbox.

Well, it turns out, your inbox is a pretty good place to send out and reply to your messages. I know, who’d of thought it.

It’s pretty self-explanatory when you’re poking around in there. Same paper plane, same choose your victims, same send button.

Just make sure you delete autoresponders as they come in, you really don’t want to let them pile up on you.

Okay, so we can send straight from a post…and…we can send them from inside our inbox…but…I mentioned that there’s some more unique ways to send messages, didn’t I? Some ways that you can stand out…

Well, how about we try…

Sending A Hashtag


You can…send….a hashtag?!

Yes. You can.

*Pretending he didn’t stumble across this on the backend of the internet where websites go to die.*

Well, there’s a damn good reason for doing this. Sharing hashtags is an awesome way to engage your audience in your business/life.

Especially when you’re using a…

Branded Hashtag

Because you should really be using one. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a brand. It doesn’t matter if you’re not famous. And it doesn’t matter if you’re not trying to start a movement.

A branded hashtag can do way more for you than you realise. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that it’s probably the one thing that can take you out of the small leagues and plonk you down right next to the big names of Instagram. And… how can it do that?

Well, it separates you from the herd. Everyone else – literally everyone else – is using #instadaily and #instafollow. Ew.

Only the big pages, or the people who think big, are using their own hashtag. Anyway, this isn’t why we’re here. The bottom line is: Yes, you should be using one…yes, even in your niche…and yes, you can read more about it if you want to.

So, to get back on topic…

How Do You Send A Hashtag As A Direct Message?

Well, let’s take a look.

Head over to your explore page and in the search bar, type in any hashtag that’s specific to your niche. Go ahead, I’ll still be here…

Done it? Okay, great, make sure you tap on it before moving on…

Now, can you see the paper plane symbol in the top right corner? You can? Good. If you hit that, you’ll have the same bar appear as you did earlier, choose your contacts, type a short message from there and then hit send. Easy.

So, that gives me an idea, how about we try to…

Shoot From A Location

I know, another sweet idea. You’re welcome.

You see, sharing a location can be a powerful way to let people know where you are. Because…let’s say you’re holding an event…or…you’re doing a bit of travelling…or…you have a physical store location. Well, in that case…it kinda matters.

You know…

To get people to show up.

And not only that. Remember that trust-building we talked about at the start of this? Ah yes, to get them to give us their money. Well, it seems to me that the trust-building is back now in full force.

Listen, people aren’t just buying your product or service. No, they’re buying you. (Not literally…I hope.)

Your audience want to be let in on your life. A faceless company is a broke company.

Think Steve Jobs and Apple. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Bill Gates and Microsoft.

People love knowing where you are and what you’re doing.

And, if you’re not a business, then you can still take advantage of this one, here’s what you do: Simply act like you’re a Kardashian. Unfortunately, as much as I hate them…all of them…they know how to influence people. They know how to create a buzz…and…they know how to make people fall in love with them.

If you’re interested here’s why: The Psychology Behind Why We Love Reality Television

Anyway, send your location next time you’re somewhere of interest, and here’s how to do it:

Head to the explore page like before…but…this time…type in a location and then hit the “places” tab.

This should bring up a nice-looking list of locations. Choose one of those and tap it.

And look at that. Just like before, we have that persistent little paper plane in the top corner.

Then, rinse and repeat the click, choose, write, send process too.

Easy as pie.

Okay, we’ve covered a lot so far. I already know most people have dropped away by now…crappy attention spans are pretty much the norm now…urgh…but…seeing as you’re still with me, let’s mush on.

That reminds me, from the start I’ve had one thing on my mind…

What Should You Use Direct Messages For?

I mean, what do you put in them?

How do you make them work for you? Or for your business? Or for your clients businesses if you’re a social media manager?

To answer that, I think it’s probably a good idea to take a look at…

How Brands Are Using Instagram Direct

It’s pretty routine now for brands to use the DM feature for reaching out to people of interest. I’m talking about customers, potential collaborations, influencers, contest winners, etc.

But, to tell you the truth, they often get it badly wrong.  I mean, a huge brand should know better.

But I’ve seen some message in a dismissive tone, ignore messages or flat out insult the intelligence of influencers.

And, although it’s interesting to see how they use it, it’s more interesting to take a look at how the true powers of Instagram use theirs…can you guess who I’m talking about?

Here it is:

How Influencers Use Direct Messages

Instagram influencers are the real hard-hitters of social media and quite frankly, they’re the reason the platform is as great as it is for brands to advertise on.

But that’s not all. Influencers also bridge the gap between brands…and…customers. Which means it’s easier for those brands to put products into a customer’s hand. In fact, it’s sometimes so easy that these brands pay incredible amounts to influencers and attempt to ply them with free products, trips and even revenue share.

Quite the life right?

Well, to talk about influencers means I have to tell you about the big, bad algorithm.

We’re all pretty sure by now that Instagram hates us. I mean, just when we get a handle on the game, they rip out the floor from under us by changing the algorithm…then the guessing game starts all over again.

If you don’t know what the algorithm is: Basically, it’s a way for Instagram to know your account is better than another.

Then what?

Well, you get more points.

And thennnn…?

You’re ranked higher duh. Which is a cleaner way of saying your posts are a hell of a lot more likely to end up at the top of your fans home page. And the top of the explore page for people who are interested.

Here’s a little breakdown of the building blocks of the Instagram algorithm:

Instagram Algorithm Breakdown

Man oh man, this is turning out to be quite the little detour isn’t it.

Anyway, where was I…oh yeah, influencers using direct messages.

Fortunately, we can see EXACTLY how they’re using it by watching what they do. And, unless you’ve been living in a cave, or you’re brand new to Instagram, you know exactly who Tai Lopez is.

He’s pretty much the Mike Tyson of social media at the moment…you know…before Tyson went biting people. Here’s what he does:

See that?

He encourages direct messages from his millions of followers. But why?

Because he can probably sort through those easier than comments and, Instagram will see his account inbox being flooded with messages (aka engagement) and they will reward him for it

Pretty cool trick he’s got there, right?

Well…now you know their secret. Let’s see…

How You Can Use Instagram Direct Messages

I don’t want to get into the habit of giving away everything for free here but hey, I’m feeling generous.

So, let’s see what we’ve got:


Okay, there’s two super-effective ways you can do this.

We’ve already talked about the first one, but in case you’re the kind of person who’s been skimming this article, here it is again.

Use a contest telling people to “direct message you for a chance to win [insert your awesome giveaway item].”

Then, simply pick your winner at random.

And don’t be a cheat with this one, don’t pick a friend and just pretend they won so that you don’t have to follow through on the contest prize. At the end of the day, that winner is probably going to be so happy that they stick around for a long time…and…may even consider buying from you in the future. Believe me, it will come back to you in good ways if you actually reward those who take part.

Next up, you’ve got a standard giveaway which usually involves liking, commenting, following or reposting. So…

Where does the direct message fit into this?

It doesn’t. Other than to contact the winner of course.

That was easy, right?

But, talking about doing the right thing with your customers has brought me to another important point:

Provide Customer Service

“What?! I came here to find out how to direct message on Instagram and now you’re talking about customer service…I’m outta here!”

Look: Customer service matters.

You can try to avoid it, try to run away from it or even try to pretend it doesn’t exist at all.

But, if you’ve never done it yourself, you’ll know somebody who has…

I’m talking about complaining or asking questions via social media – soimething that can massively impact a companies reputation if handled badly.

To avoid it ever going bad, take your customer service to the next level using your messages.

First up, reply to all your messages if you can.

This may be difficult but the people who are messaging you are the ones keeping your account where it is and they’re the ones who’ll help take you even higher.

And what’s more, you get to have potentially damaging conversations behind closed doors. Imagine your most unhappy customer takes to messaging you, gets ignored, then decides to publicly shame your company. Bad. News.

Boy did I just save you from a world of pain!

Okay, so, you’re being better for your audience, but can we take this a step further? Of course we can, we just…

Offer Exclusive Content

Everyone loves exclusive stuff.

Why do you think Rolex, Ferrari and Louis Vuitton are so expensive and in demand? Because they’re exclusive.

So, how do you make this work for you?

You can start by rewarding brand ambassadors with gifts, offers, freebies or extra content. The added “personal touch” that an individual direct message has will also boost your reputation – something that you should never take lightly.

Another way to really explode your results is to offer a flash sale to customers who have already bought from you before. But…

How Do You Find Those Customers?

Here’s something you could try: Start a brand hashtag but…

Make this one specific to anyone who has bought from you and is posting a picture of your product or service.

Something like #mynewluisvuitton for example.

Then, when you hold a flash sale, bam, you have a list of people who you know love your products. And do you know what they’re called?

Hot buyers.

They’ve bought from you before, they love you enough to post on social media about you…and…they’re probably gonna buy again at some point anyway.

Did someone just say dollar billz?

To see this in action, well, at least the branded hashtag part…check out what the watch brand MVMT include with every order they send out.

Clever, right?

Well, they’re obviously not the only ones who do it. All of the ones that do seem to have also followed another rule. They all…

Create A Community

Everyone loves a community. We love having people to share stuff with…and…the best way to do that is to start an engagement group. (Sometimes called a pod.)

If you’ve got no idea what I’m talking about right now, let me know with a comment below and I’ll throw some hot info at you.

This article isn’t about engagement groups so I’m gonna move on…

How To Direct Message On Instagram For Networking

A man you should know by now, Gary Vaynerchuk has said that: “Instagram DM is the single biggest networking or business development opportunity of this decade!”

Quite the recommendation, right?

Well, he’s (obviously) not wrong.

Instagram gives you the possiblity of connecting with anyone – that’s right, anyone – easily and without any cost. But…there are ways to do this right.

Sorry, but there’s another Inception moment here, sections inside sections…let’s go:

Choose The Right Accounts

Okay, we mostly covered how to do this earlier. However, I want to add a little spice to this already wicked cocktail. That spice is that you need to choose the right “size” of account to try to network with.

The chances are, if you’re asking how to direct message on Instagram…you’ve at least thought about messaging that account in your niche with a million followers.

Now, I may be the only one to say this because a lot of people will just say to reach for the stars.

But let me tell you firsthand…nothing…and I do mean nothing…is worse than having a few hundred followers, messaging an account with 20,000 and asking for a free shoutout, or something else.

Seriously…who are these people kidding? Offer nothing to a bigger account – get nothing back.

Or to put that into a nice little phrase…

Give nothing. Get nothing.

Instead, you need to reach out to accounts that are similar in size.

That way, you both have something to gain…but…use the same steps as at the start of this to check for natural growth.

Or, the better way to do this…

Direct Message Bigger Accounts With One (And Only One) Offer

That offer…is value.

I repeat. Value.

In fact, it should be value first. What do I mean by that? Well, aside from money, what skills do you have that could benefit the other person?

  • Can you design some posts for them?
  • Offer free photos you’ve taken?
  • Design explainer videos?
  • Write a sales letter for their products?

Whatever it is, you need to be providing waayyy more value than they give back to you.

That way, you have the leverage. You control the situation.

But, what if you don’t get any replies?

Actually, this is pretty common and you just need to remember that…

It’s A Numbers Game

I’m gonna keep this short and sweet because it’s already a pain-in-the-ass dose of truth.

Success…is a numbers game.

Getting hundreds of no’s (or complete ignores) for every yes is gonna pretty much be your life from now on. I know I’m not selling you a dream there…but…that one yes could be your ticket to the big show.

You need to be doing this hundreds of times a day…every day.

But, once you’ve started to do this, what you need to make sure you do is…

Stand And Deliver

Now, if we take a little trip back to our provide value first section, you’ll remember I mentioned there being an “action” part to this whole thing.

Well here it is: Do what you said you would do.

Just read that again so I know you’ve got it. Ok, good. So why is that my advice? Why is that all I’ve got to say on the subject?

To answer that, here’s a little story:

A friend of mine managed to stumble his way into an interview with one of the big four accounting groups in England. I say stumble because…well, he was book smart…but…he didn’t really have any business being in that room at a place like that.

But, as he sat there, sweat dripping from his face due to nervousness, he remembered something he read once on the cover of some magazine – his words….graceful I know.

As a side note: It’s funny how that happens aint it? You know when you have this sudden flash of memory, like the lyrics to a song you haven’t heard in several years, but suddenly, the memory is there, served up on a plate by your subconscious mind.

Anyway, what he read on the magazine served him pretty well that day. It was a quote from Sir Richard Branson:

And, my friend, taking that advice, wiped the sweat away, marched into the interview and actually managed to convince them he was ready for the job. No shit.

You see, what he had done…or…what he had said…in that interview, backed him into a corner where he had to either admit he was a fraud…or…stand and deliver.

Well, believe it or not. He now earns more per hour than anyone else I know personally.

The point is this: Sometimes, all you need to do to get where you want to be, is do what you said you were gonna do in the first place. Just do it.

In this case, you told someone that you were going to do something for them in exchange for their help…or…their money…or…their blessing. Or whatever it was. You told them you’d provide value first.

It might seem like I’m coming across heavy on this one and to be honest, I am. I’m doing it because at some point, you will get discouraged by the growing list of “no’s” or the ever-increasing pile of “ignores”. And your number one task is to not let it stop you from following through on your promises. You’d be surprised how often this happens.

People, just like you and me, sometimes make a promise, get handed a thousand no’s…and…one yes. Then…instead of actually doing what they said they’d do, this ends up being a typical conversation they have with themselves or someone else:

“It’s just not worth the time for one lousy customer when I’ve tried contacting thousands.”

Well, it is worth it. One can quickly become two, which can quickly become 10…which can quickly become…you get the point.


Here’s What To Do Now:

Stop asking how to direct message on Instagram and make a start. Pick out a group of 10-20 specific hashtags.

Then, dive into them one by one and search out people who you think would be a good fit.

Type out a message that you’d be happy to receive yourself from someone smaller than you…and simply…hit send.

Finally, the pressure is off. You can sit back, relax, pour yourself a nice cold drink and…(keep finding other accounts to message).

The more you do this. The better your results.

P.S. Ok, that’s a wrap. You now know how to direct message on Instagram but…I’ve just realised that maybe some of you aren’t following our Instagram page yet. Basically, we own several accounts on Instagram…and…we obviously can’t release their names because they’d end up either spammed, hacked, or reported. Why? Because some people suck. But, we’ve started a brand new account for this blog and you can watch it grow alongside your own account. Fun, huh? Check it out @topinstasecrets


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