I came across a recent post from a small business complaining about Instagram DMs, or direct messages for those of you who are uninitiated.
In this post I want to explain why Instagram DMs, or any direct messages for that matter, are important and can benefit your business. I will also explain how your use of DMs can hurt your business.
There are plenty of ways to communicate with people and businesses today, from talking in person to phone calls and emails. Some avenues are more crowded than others, and it shows.
So many choices
Let’s take a look for a moment at some of the main ways people in modern business communicate.
Speaking in person with someone is extremely valuable, as it requires your full attention as well as physically being there. Phone calls are nearly the same, but since you are calling you don’t have to physically show up.
Then there’s email. They allow you to communicate without being somewhere and without making sure the person on the other end is available to communicate.
Finally for this post, there’s text messages and direct messages (DM). They haven’t been around as long as the others but hold a significant amount of value today.
That’s mainly because they are more personal forms of communication. You must have my cell phone number to send me a text message.
DMs are similar, but don’t require me to give you my phone number. Instead, you can just look me up online or through your favorite social media network.
I’ve made a spot for my business in these social places because I want to build relationships where there is attention and I hope to someday transact on that relationship if interests are aligned.
Back to the DMs
It would most likely be bad for my business if I listened to someone talk and ask questions, and never responded to them.
Please don’t do this
Online it’s a similar experience. If I don’t respond and engage with people who are sending me DMs from my business accounts, not only is it a poor experience for them, but potential business opportunities for me are lost.
For reference, Instagram DMs are some of the most popular on the internet. Lots of communication is happening there. Keep an eye on Facebook and LinkedIn as well.
It’s a two-way street
It is key to have two-way communication with people on your business-connected social media accounts. The internet already connected the world. Now the world potentially wants to connect with you.
If you want to succeed on the different platforms of social media in the modern world, you must be willing to respond, reply, and engage with your audience.
Sometimes the conversation, phone call, email, or DM isn’t what you want to talk about, but if you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you know that’s part of it.
What you can do
If you have a business presence on any of the social media platforms out there, it’s imperative to be engaged and consistent.
Most small businesses receive far fewer DMs than they do emails, so anecdotally I’ll argue that being present in them isn’t a large effort.
Furthermore, if you feel overwhelmed by some social media platforms over others, I would look at which ones your business resonates with your audience with most, and consider consolidating or removing the others.
Personally I am not a fan of deleting social media accounts, but I do think it’s wise to not bite off more than you can chew on social media. It can be a lot.
Social media is for everyone, whether it’s on Instagram DMs or any of the other platforms.
It’s important to know and understand your customers and audience, and it’s even more important to know how to communicate with them. Don’t discount DMs, as they provide a different window into the person on the other end than you would otherwise see.
I hope you were able to get some real value out of this article and also hope that your DM skills will become better because of it.
How often do you use DMs in your business? I would love to know your thoughts.