When you’re using Instagram to promote your business, there is nothing you’ll like more than seeing your profile grow in size and popularity – this will directly translate into your company performing better. But as you gain more followers and your content gets more exposure, you’ll notice another thing – an ever-growing number of Direct Messages.
This is great because it means you’ve succeeded in getting your message across to your audience. However, properly managing all those DMs can turn into a monumental and time-consuming task.
There will be messages you can respond to immediately. But, you’ll also get questions where you won’t be able to provide the answer off the top of your head, meaning you’ll need to come back to them later on. There will also be plenty of DMs which will require a virtually identical answer. Trying to juggle all of that while also running your business can easily spiral out of control.
As a result, you could end up spending too much time on your DMs, which will negatively affect other aspects of your business. Or, you could fall behind with the DMs, which will cause the relationship with your audience to deteriorate.
Simply put, answering your DMs without a proper plan can be a recipe for disaster. Instead, you need a proper strategy to keep everything in check. That is what this article is here to help with.
A proper strategy will ensure you’re utilizing the full potential of DMs while saving valuable time. And it is not at all difficult to pull off – you just need to follow these seven steps.
Step 1: Decide on a Consistent Style
If you want to reduce the time you spend writing your DMs, the first step is to decide on a style ahead of time. This means all your messages will have the same tone and features.
So, decide if you want to be friendly, humorous, or formal. Naturally, you will pick a tone which is in line with the image your business is going for. Then, decide how each message will start and end. For instance, your messages can start with the same greeting, and then you can think of several different ways to end them and alternate between them. Also, think if there are any other elements you’ll always want to include.
This can save a lot of time in the long run as your messages will follow the same framework. It is also excellent if you have several people answering the DMs as it will ensure consistency.
Step 2: Set Up Your Quick Replies
We’ve mentioned that you’ll probably get a lot of questions which require similar answers – Quick Replies are the perfect solution for this.
Instagram introduced this feature in a pretty low-key manner so it may have escaped your notice. But what it does is allow you to create replies in advance and then quickly insert them into your DMs. This means there’s no need to type your prices or working hours from scratch for the millionth time.
So, see which questions you get the most and create Quick Replies for them. You can also get a lot of mileage out of this feature when you’re running promotions or contests – you can lay out all the rules but people will still ask about them.
You can create Quick Replies by going into your account settings or from chat threads. While you’re in a thread, you can also turn old messages into Quick Replies. We’ve already talked about this very useful feature, and you can get all the details here.
Step 3: Dedicate a Timeslot
Sometimes, you’ll get a DM at a convenient time, and you’ll be able to reply immediately. But that won’t always be the case. And if you start replying and then constantly get interrupted, you can end up wasting a lot of time. So, you should have a dedicated timeslot every day for your DMs (you’ll actually have two of these timeslots, but more on that in a bit).
This will allow you to focus and get to every DM in time. You can even mention this timeslot in your bio – let your audience know when they can expect to hear from you.
Step 4: Organize Your Inbox Using the Filter Function
You’ve set aside the time to answer your DMs, and now that time has come. Yet, you can be even more efficient by using the filter function in your inbox (it’s to the right of the search bar). This allows you to only see the messages you’ve flagged or are yet to read. So, set the filter to “unread” to see exactly how many messages you need to go through.
Step 5: Reply
Now is the time to put steps one and two into practice. If it’s a common question you’ve anticipated, use Quick Replies. You can modify your Quick Replies a bit (for example, make them more personalized), but you’ll still be saving yourself a lot of typing. If you can’t use a Quick Reply but can still answer right away, rely on the style you’ve settled on.
This will leave you only with the DMs you can’t answer fully right away. This is the next step.
Step 6: Flag DMs for Later
If a DM requires you to look something up, don’t do that right away. Instead, send a short reply that you’ll look into it and get back to them in a bit – this should be one of your Quick Replies. It’s more time-efficient to flag these messages now and do all your research at once later on.
Step 7: Deal with Flagged DMs
The time to address the messages from the previous step is toward the end of the day, once your rush hour has passed and you can collect the data you need in peace. This is the second timeslot we previously mentioned.
Once again, use the filter function. Only this time, set it to “flagged”. This will allow you to instantly see if there are any messages that require your further attention without the need to memorize it or comb through your entire inbox.
Now, do your research, consult other members of the team, or do whatever else you need to get the required info. Then, it’s simply a matter or replying to each of those messages and unflagging them.
This will ensure you have no unread or flagged messages in your inbox, meaning you can rest easy knowing you’ve done everything in your power to engage with your audience.
DM Management Matters
Replying to DMs in a timely fashion is a great way to personally connect with your audience. It is also a hallmark of good customer service, which is incredibly important for brand choice and customer loyalty. And by using this strategy, you can achieve this and save a lot of time in the process.
Simply turn these steps into a routine, and you’ll be set.