Something big is coming this Summer to Instagram. Something exciting. Something that’s going to change the way you use Instagram for your business.
Okay, so you can tell from the title of this post that I’m talking about Instagram DM automation. But what exactly is Instagram automation and why do you need to know or care about it?
What is Instagram DM Automation?
At its most basic level, Instagram DM automation is a way to automatically have your business Instagram account reply to messages & comments on your behalf, to give your audience a quick, personalised experience without you having to be there manually responding to people. (The “DM” stands for direct messages, meaning your inbox within Instagram).
But it’s so much more than just a simple autoresponder – the potential to grow your brand on Instagram using these new tools is huge (and has marketers very excited!). We’re already seeing some brands using this to more than 10x their results on Instagram, and I’ll show you some examples later in this post.
Before we go any further, let me be really clear about what Instagram DM automation is not. I’m not talking about “follow/unfollow” bots, bot farms or spammy automations that go against Instagram’s terms of service. And we’re not talking about the kind of cringey automated DMs that plague your inbox on Linkedin.
We’re talking about tools that are approved by Instagram, designed to help you provide better customer service, engage with your audience more easily and grow your email list.
Why has Instagram introduced DM automation now?
Back in 2017, Facebook gave businesses the ability to use Messenger bots to chat with their customers. Since then, the growth of chatbots has been exponential – there’s now more than 20 billion messages exchanged between people and businesses each month just in Messenger 🚀
Messenger was just the first step in Facebook’s mission to connect people and businesses more easily. In 2020 Facebook merged the back end of Messenger and Instagram DMs. This brings the same technology that allowed us to build Messenger bots across to Instagram.
Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, VP of Platform Partnerships at Messenger.
Facebook is determined to transform the way we shop online, with the introduction of Instagram & Facebook shops, as well as Facebook Marketplace. And it sees conversational commerce at the heart of it. Facebook wants businesses to be able to quickly answer customer questions while they’re browsing and make the whole shopping experience as easy and frictionless as possible. Instagram DM automation lets us do that.
How does Instagram DM Automation work?
Using a bot-building platform like ManyChat, you can build automated conversations that take place in your DMs with your customers.
At its most basic this can be a simple autoresponder, answering the most common questions that you’re asked about your products and services. Or you can get more sophisticated with personalised, interactive conversations like a quiz, guiding people to different results depending on how they respond and what they type back to you.
Your Instagram DM chatbot can collect information from people’s responses, like their name & email address, and integrate these with your other business systems like your CRM and email marketing platforms.
As well as replying to messages in your Instagram inbox, Instagram automation will let you:
- Automatically reply to comments on your feed posts
- Automatically like comments on your feed posts
- Automatically reply to people when they mention you in their Instagram Stories.
So how will Instagram DM automation help my business?
I said earlier that Instagram DM automation is going to change the way you use Instagram for your business, and I wasn’t kidding. There’s so much potential here to save yourself, or your social media manager, hours of work each week, while also providing your audience with quicker customer service.
Here’s a quick rundown of just a few examples of ways you can use Instagram DM automation to grow your business:
💬 Customer service 24/7
A simple FAQ chatbot in your Instagram DMs can help answer questions from your existing customers round the clock. building brand loyalty and making it more likely they’ll buy from you again.
📣 Answer questions before people buy
A chatbot that answers the common queries people have before ordering can increase your sales and build trust with your audience.
❓ Quiz funnels
Building a fun, engaging quiz chatbot in your DMs helps you to get to know your audience better, build and segment your email list, and provide personalised recommendations at scale.
💌 Grow your email list
Turning lead magnets into interactive chatbot experiences in your Instagram DMs is a fun and effective way to take people from being Instagram followers to being on your email list.
🖥 Send people to your offers away from Instagram
Instagram makes it notoriously difficult to send people off-platform with clickable links. Using a DM chatbot you can easily take people from your IG Stories or feed posts to a landing page or product page by sending them a clickable link in their inbox.
📈 Increasing your post engagement
Setting up automatic likes and replies to comments on your feed posts helps build up the engagement on your Instagram account and build your community.
How do I get started with Instagram DM automation?
Instagram DM automation is currently in Beta, with selected accounts using it. A specific release date for when it will be available for all business accounts hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s expected very soon.
Sign up here to my chatbot VIP list (opens in Messenger) and I’ll keep you posted with the latest updates on Instagram DM automation. You’ll also get my free training and templates so you can build your Instagram chatbot when it goes live.