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When people think of Instagram direct messages, they typically think of conversations between friends and family. A relatively unexplored use that has been slowly emerging, however, is the Instagram DM for business.

Brands are realizing that the Instagram DM is a much more personal, effective way to communicate with their customers and fans.

In addition to simply being able to message customers and fans, for businesses, being able to see who has seen a photo or video and who has liked a message makes for easy follow-up.

Although your image or video will be held pending approval from the recipient, sharing with people you don’t follow is also possible which can create opportunities for lead generation.

This article explores three effective ways that brands can use Instagram DM for business:

Share exclusive coupons

Want to reward your loyal customers for making the effort to follow you or enter your contest? Use DMs to send out exclusive coupons. You can also advertise your exclusive coupons using posts on your channel. Make a post explaining that those who make a post using a specific hashtag (your brand hashtag, for example) or those who share your post will receive an exclusive discount code in their inbox.

Handle customer service issues

There’s nothing worse than trying to resolve an issue with a business through an automated phone system or drawn out email exchange. Communicate that if they have an issue using your service, customers can reach out to your business through Instagram DMs. This way, customers’ issues can be resolved much quicker than through a phone call or email exchange.

Hold contests

Instagram DMs make way for creative contest ideas. For example, you could send out a promotion to customers and explain that the first person to reply to your DM will receive some sort of discount code.

Convert unengaged followers

Not all of your Instagram followers are engaged customers. Some of your followers are simply following your channel – that’s it. Instagram DMs are a great way to nudge these followers in the right way; to convert unengaged Instagram followers to either visit your website, buy your product, and/or join your mailing list.

We at DMPro understand just how powerful Instagram DMs can be. This is exactly why we built our DMPro automation engine, which allows you to customize DMs, choose who you want to send them to (current followers, new followers, custom lists of followers, etc.), and sit back and relax as you send hundreds of DMs without lifting a finger.

If you’re interested (after reading the above, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be), sign up for your free DMPro trial here.