If you’ve never heard of Instagram, you’ve probably been living under a rock (or without an internet connection) for quite a while, because it just so happens to be one of the world’s most popular and well-known social media platforms.
Used by small businesses, mega-corporations, and individuals who just want to stay in touch with their friends, Instagram went live in 2010 with humble beginnings as a simple image-sharing platform. It quickly became a rising star and is now ubiquitous on today’s internet. One of its most popular features is direct messaging among users, which the platform first introduced in 2013. There have been several iterations and changes since Instagram first debuted, and the social channel now allows cross-platform messaging. So it’s no surprise that Instagram’s direct messaging platform remains at the top of the charts for private messaging on social media.
How does direct messaging on Instagram work?
Instagram’s messenger function is called Instagram Direct and allows users to chat privately either one-on-one or in groups. Often called a “DM,” short for “Direct Message,” this type of message is accessible via web browsers and within the Instagram app. So unlike Facebook, you don’t need to download another app to use it. (Yes, we did just throw Facebook some shade. After all, it’s hard to forget the company’s 2014 decision to make private messaging only accessible through an entirely different app, annoying users across the globe.)
Although Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, the two platforms’ respective messaging features stayed separate for about seven years. In 2019, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company’s intention to merge Instagram and Facebook’s messaging features. And in 2020, cross-platform messaging for the two social media giants finally arrived.
How to set up Instagram direct messaging
If you already have an Instagram account, sending a DM to another Instagram user is easy. Simply click on the messaging icon in the upper right-hand corner of the app.
If you want to send messages to contacts on Facebook as well as Instagram, however, you need to link your accounts.
Linking your personal Facebook and Instagram accounts
Linking your personal Facebook account to your Instagram account takes just a handful of taps on your smartphone.
Voila! Now you can message your Facebook friends directly from Instagram. If you run into any issues, the Instagram Help Center can help you troubleshoot.
Linking your Facebook Business page to Instagram
If your business has accounts on both Facebook and Instagram, it may be wise to connect your accounts. Your accounts have to meet certain criteria, such as requiring that your personal Facebook account is an Admin on the Business page you want to link. Even so, it’s a pretty painless process that you can learn about in detail on this Instagram Help Center page.
What can you do with Instagram direct messaging?
Whether you’re a business, a celebrity, a content creator, an influencer, or a human being who just likes using the platform, direct messaging on Instagram has a lot to offer. Here are some of Instagram Direct’s many features.
- Send private messages to people, both in groups and one-on-one.
- Send photos and videos to people without posting them on your Instagram page.
- Send messages with photos and videos that disappear after the recipient views them, à la Snapchat.
- Share hashtags and locations so you can tell your friends exactly where your favorite #Starbucks store is.
- Access your Facebook Business page messages and your Instagram professional account messages in one place.
- Use ManyChat’s new integration with Instagram to send automated messages from your business page.
Why use Instagram Direct?
If you’ve read this far and just want to keep in touch with friends on social media, using Instagram Direct is an obvious choice. If you’re using Instagram as a business, content creator, or influencer, using direct messages should still be an obvious choice.
As of 2021, there are over 1 billion active monthly users on Instagram worldwide, and Instagram Direct isn’t just used by people to send memes to friends.
Instagram users send DMs to businesses over 400 million times every single day, with the most common messages related to product inquiry and customer support. Responding to these messages provide ample opportunities for business growth, increasing sales, and simply building brand loyalty among your customers.
You can even use ManyChat to automate certain aspects of your DM conversations, a tactic that can be immensely beneficial for organic growth and increased engagement.