How To Article

How to Sell on Instagram DM: Selling on Instagram

George Wong
Content Writer, Respond.io
September 6, 2022

Want to know how to sell on Instagram DM? You’re in the right place. If you’re not utilizing Instagram for sales, you’re missing out on thousands of potential customers. Fortunately, we’re here to help you learn about Instagram sales over direct messages.

Instagram has become a hotbed for companies to market their offerings thanks to its sheer number of users, specialized features and official accounts for businesses. Read on to learn how to leverage the channel to grow your profits and speed up the sales cycle!

How to Sell on Instagram DM with respond.io

Instagram Direct Messaging Sales vs Traditional Methods

Businesses carried out remote sales over phone calls and emails before the advent of instant messaging. Over the years, businesses recognized the drawbacks and limitations of those channels for sales and started incorporating chat apps in their operations.

Phone calls require a lot of effort to happen. Both parties have to be in conducive environments and available at the same time to participate in a conversation. Discussion points are often forgotten or misinterpreted due to a lack of recordings.

How to sell on Instagram DM: An image showing the limitations of phone and email for sales.
Selling on Instagram: Why you should use Instagram for sales

Email has its own issues. Spam filters block many legitimate emails, causing contacts to miss them. Users also check their email far less often than instant messengers for new messages. Emails tend to be more formal, making it hard to build relationships quickly.

Users who don’t hit reply all or reply to the latest message cause threads to disperse. And if contacts send emails from different addresses, it can lead to businesses having trouble identifying who they are.

Instant messengers solve the problems of phone calls and email while introducing benefits of their own. This is why businesses have started using channels like Instagram to improve their sales process.

Benefits of Using Instagram Direct Messaging for Sales

What makes Instagram the right choice for your business among the many instant messengers available to choose from? There are a few factors to help you make your decision, but here is what’s great about the channel.

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has risen to the top of global app charts and boasts more than a billion monthly active users and over 200 million business accounts. With over 90% of users following at least one business, your next client could be one of them.

An image showing the benefits of Instagram Sales - over a billion MAUs, build more personal relationships, many ways to obtain new customers
How to sell on Instagram DM: Why you should be selling on Instagram DM

Unlike phone numbers or email addresses, which users can’t subscribe to, Instagram users can follow your account to stay updated about your business. Anybody who follows or interacts with you can be a potential customer.

Profile links, ig.me links, QR codes and click-to-chat ads make it easy for customers to go straight to your Instagram Business Account on the channel to message you. They can even look up your Instagram username or business name to find you.

Finally, like personal Instagram accounts, business accounts can reply to direct messages from anyone for free. This will be the main way we’ll carry out sales on the channel.

The Power of Instagram Direct Messages

Direct messages are better for conversations with customers than commenting back and forth below a post. Compared to direct messages that go right to an inbox, comments are hard to follow and not ideal for sharing confidential information.

Your messages can contain text, videos, images, voice clips and links. Use them to craft content that captures your audience’s attention. For example, a video tour of a home or office can increase a prospective buyer’s interest in purchasing the property.

You can also send customers links to posts and Stories about your products or services they can check from Instagram itself. Since customers don’t have to switch apps, it minimizes the chance of them forgetting to reply.

By using polls or questions in your Stories, you can get followers to initiate conversations with your business account. This presents you with additional opportunities to engage with potential customers.

How to Use Instagram Direct Messaging for Sales?

There are three ways you can use Instagram for direct messaging sales – the official app or website, Facebook Creator Studio and the Instagram DM API. Each method is viable for direct message selling, but its suitability depends on your needs.

An image showing the different ways you can use Instagram for sales - website or app, facebook creator studio, and Instagram DM API
Selling on Instagram: How to sell on Instagram DM

Here’s a quick rundown of which one you should use.

Official Website for Instagram or Instagram App

If you run a micro business that has only one person handling customer communication, the official website for Instagram or Instagram app. You’ll be able to respond to messages and comments from your customers, just like a personal account.

Facebook Creator Studio

For small to medium-sized businesses, link your Instagram Business Account to the Facebook Creator Studio. This lets you assign multiple users to manage your inbox messages and comments, access business insights and schedule Official Account posts.

Instagram DM API

Large businesses with agents in the tens or more will want to utilize the Instagram DM API to carry out sales conversations. By connecting the Instagram DM API to a platform like respond.io, you unlock the full potential of Instagram as a sales channel.

Next up, we’ll cover what can be accomplished with the Instagram DM API.

Benefits of Using Instagram DM API with respond.io for Sales

Connecting Instagram DM API to respond.io enables a number of features that aren’t available otherwise. The platform was designed to make communication-centric tasks like sales easier for large businesses to handle.

Why you should use Instagram DM for sales with respond.io - workflows and automation, performance tracking
How to sell on Instagram DM: Here’s what you gain from IG chat sales with respond.io

Let’s see what Workflows and performance tracking bring to the table.

Selling on Instagram: Automate Tasks Using Workflows

One of respond.io’s most powerful features, Workflows allow you to automate some of the more repetitive tasks your agents face, letting them spend their time doing the actual selling.

How to sell on IG DM: using respond.io Workflows
How to Sell on Instagram DM: Respond.io's automated Workflows

Since customers who communicate with businesses on instant messengers expect fast replies, they move on if they don’t hear back from you quickly. Manage their expectations with auto-replies to greet them or inform them when you’re away.

Workflows aren’t limited to simple tasks and can be set up to determine which sales funnel or route a contact falls into by automating lead qualification, routing and assigning customers to the right salespeople.

Selling on Instagram: Performance Tracking

If you have a large team of salespeople, you’ll want to know how efficient your agents are at responding to customer conversations. Using respond.io’s comprehensive Reports Module, you’ll be able to track and measure such metrics.

Monitor your salespeople's performence for Instagram direct message sales with the Reports Module
The Reports Module lets you monitor your salespeople’s IG DM sales performance

Before you start using the Instagram DM API, there are a couple of things you need to know.

Instagram DM API: What You Should Know

Instagram is pretty strict regarding the response time of a business account. When a contact sends your business a message, it starts a 24-hour messaging window. You’ll need to respond to the contact within this window or you won’t be able to reply anymore.

This can be a problem if customers contact you during your off-hours such as on weekends or public holidays. Fortunately, you can extend this message window to 7 days on respond.io using a Human Agent Tag.

Now we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s look at how respond.io with the Instagram DM API can shorten your sales cycle and increase profits.

Instagram DM API with respond.io: Quick Wins

In addition to performance tracking and Workflows, here’s how you can use the Instagram DM API on respond.io to enhance your sales process.

Integrate Instagram DM API Inbox with Your Sales CRM

Workflows allow you to integrate respond.io with your existing sales CRM, facilitating information exchange between them. With that in mind, here are some useful integrations you can take advantage of.

  • Qualify Contacts with data enrichment tools like Clearbit
  • Calculate the price quotations for a custom plan during client consultations
  • Launch the necessary Workflow from the Messages Module using the Shortcut Button so you don’t have to switch between platforms while chatting with a Contact
  • Generate sales deals by integrating a CRM such as Hubspot or Salesforce
And image showing how integrations can benefit your Instagram chat sales
How to sell on Instagram DM: Qualifying IG direct message sales with Clearbit

There’s so much more you can accomplish with respond.io integrations. Check out our list of supported integrations for additional information.

Get a Complete Overview of Customers with Contact Merge and Tagging

Most of your customers have more than one messaging app on their phones and may have contacted you through different channels. Normally, these conversations would be isolated from each other, but it doesn’t have to be the case thanks to Contact Merge.

Use Instagram for selling: Contact Merge lets you combine your customers' details from different channels

As its name suggests, Contact Merge lets you combine all the details and conversation history of your Contacts across multiple channels. This means you can identify and message them, regardless of the channel they reach out from.

This is useful for occasions when you can’t contact them on one channel and want to reach out via another. For example, if a messaging window on Instagram has closed, you’ll be able to chat with them on WhatsApp or Telegram instead.

Using Tags, you can segment your customers based on their needs or tiers so your agents know who they’re dealing with and can immediately recommend the product or service they are looking for.

Mobile App for Agents on the Go

Resond.io has a mobile app that allows agents to answer customer inquiries and follow up on leads from Instagram direct messages and other connected channels on their mobile phones.

The app has all the features available on the desktop such as Dashboard, Contacts and Messages to give agents an effortless messaging experience and the convenience of answering messages on the go, wherever they are.

An image showing the respond.io mobile app
Selling on Instagram direct message anywhere you go with the respond.io mobile app

Agents will receive a push notification every time they receive a new message or when they are assigned new Contacts, ensuring they stay updated and avoid missing messages.

To get the respond.io app, download it from Google Play Store for Android and Apple App Store for iOS.

Now you have an idea of what you can accomplish using Instagram direct messages for sales, why not put into practice what you learned? Don’t have a respond.io account yet? Sign up for a free trial.

Further Reading

If you found this helpful, here are some additional articles to prepare you for your sales journey on Instagram:

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