How to Sell on Instagram DM: A Comprehensive Guide

Logan Mayville
Logan Mayville
Facebook Ads Expert & Consultant
a girl scrolling on instagram

If you’ve been on Instagram for a while, we can bet you’ve heard the term “DM” being used a lot. 

Either way, did you know you can sell on Instagram DM?

Well, you can, as Instagram is trying to make it easier for brands and creators to increase their income on the platform. 

Wondering how to get started?

You’re in the right place as we’ll cover everything you need to know in this step-by-step guide, including: 

  • Who’s eligible to sell on Instagram DM
  • Types of DMs you can send on the social network
  • How to sell on Instagram DM

 Let’s jump right in!

Introduction to Selling on Instagram DM

Instagram DM, short for direct message, is the chat feature of this social media platform and is how Instagram users chat with each other in the app. 

They can send text messages and share Instagram profiles, videos, photos, or posts you see in feeds, all via DMs. 

You can say it’s like Facebook’s Messenger but even though they’re Meta-siblings, Instagram’s version is built into the app. 

When chatting through DMs, IG users can switch to vanish mode if they want privacy and still do everything listed above; it’s just that messages will be temporary in this case. They’ll vanish after the recipient has seen them.

Anyways, here’s what we’re driving at: 

Direct messaging on Instagram has gone beyond merely personal use, as brands and professionals can also use it to communicate with existing customers or prospects.

Startups and established businesses alike are leveraging Instagram DM to grow their brands and market their products. 

Selling with this option is especially great for up-and-coming businesses because it saves them money they’d have otherwise used to set up an online or physical store. 

In addition, brands can use DMs to: 

  • Develop relationships with customers
  • Close sales
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Provide personal customer service

Here’s what selling on Instagram DM looks like: 

Image Source: Facebook

From the screenshot, you can see how the conversation leads to a sale. 

There’s a personal touch to it, which is something most people appreciate. 

According to a McKinsey study, 71% of consumers expect brands to deliver personalized conversations. 

Here’s where it gets even more interesting: 76% of them get frustrated when it doesn’t happen. 

Selling on Instagram DM can help you do that.

Before we talk about more benefits of this ‘new way to shop’, let’s see who’s eligible to sell via DMs. 

Who Can Sell on Instagram DM?

According to Instagram, the DM feature is available for qualified businesses

Customers can chat with them about the products they’re interested in, talk about customization if there’s a need for it, and when all the details are completed, make payments directly on the chat with Meta Pay. 

Plus, any payments made via the DM are protected by PayPal, Instagram’s payment partner.

Those qualified businesses need to have an Instagram business account, which means they need to have:

  • A physical address
  • A phone number
  • An email address
  • Links to other social media profiles (optional)
  • An Instagram shop for potential clients scrolling through your catalog

All these ensure prospects feel more relaxed and safe when they reach out to you.

So, what benefits are there if you use Instagram DMs for your digital marketing campaigns?

Why Selling on Instagram DM is a Good Idea

To start with, Instagram is one of the most popular and engaging social media networks globally.

It’s got about 1 billion monthly active users. Its popularity is one of the main reasons many businesses want to do business on Instagram. 

In 2021, Instagram users reportedly spent 11.2 hours on the app every month which was a 10% increase from the previous year.  

Another report showed that Instagram traffic to ecommerce stores spent the longest time there compared to traffic from other social media platforms, making Insta the most engaged social site where online businesses are concerned.  

So, we can say that Instagram is popular, users spend time on the network, and find it engaging. What else, then?

Let’s look at other reasons why Instagram DM marketing is a good idea. 

1. It’s great for building your brand

Compared to most social networks, it’s not easy to send traffic to your website or online store from Instagram. 

It’s possible, but not easy as links aren’t allowed on Instagram posts. In fact, the only place you can have links is in your bio. 

This used to be a disadvantage to businesses but not anymore. 


You forget the external links, just stick to putting out valuable content for your audience, and guess what?

People are more likely to engage with your brand and when they’re ready to buy, they don’t need a link – they buy via DM.  

Essentially, you can build your brand by providing valuable information to your target audience without trying to sell to them and just get them to interact with you.  

2. It’s cost-effective

Unable to build an online store for your business yet?

You’re good to go anyway. 

Selling on Instagram DM simply calls for your product catalog to be up-to-date and for you to be registered to use MetaPay. 

After that, you can focus on building your brand and having conversations with your audience. 

By using Instagram DMs, you can avoid the cost of setting up an ecommerce store if you’re on a budget. 

You do have the option of running Instagram ads if you want more reach but you may never need them. 

3.  It’s an opportunity to get more sales

Instagram DM marketing can help drive sales. 

To help you understand what we mean, let’s explain by using an example:

When Starbucks Indonesia wanted to increase their in-store sales, they ran ads that directed users from in-feed and Instagram Stories to Instagram DM. 

Image Source: Instagram

There they closed the deals with potential customers who clicked the call-to-action (CTA). 

At the end of the campaign, Starbucks saw a:

  • 6x return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • One-point lift in intent to visit their store 
  • 4.7-point lift in ad recall

Let’s keep the ball rolling!

Types of DMs You Can Send on Instagram

There are about five types of DMs you can send to customers on Instagram. If you want more engaging conversations, you can use a combination of all of them at different intervals. 

They make communication with customers and prospects more fun. Plus, people will get to see the quirky side of you so don’t be all formal with your chats. 

How do you send a DM?

Well, there are two ways to do that.

  • From your Instagram home page, click on the paper airplane
  • or messenger icon
  • in the top right corner of the feed. In the next window you see, click
  • to send a DM and select the person you want to send it to.
  • Use the search bar to find the recipient’s profile and tap on the Message button to start chatting with them like this:

Now, let’s take a look at the types of DM you can send.

1. Text

Everyone’s familiar with this DM type  – simple text setting out what you want to say to customers. 

You could throw in emojis, stickers, and GIFs to really get the ball rolling with them. 

Text messages can be set to auto-reply to let them know you’ll respond to their messages shortly or just in case there are promotional offers you want people to take advantage of when they get in touch with you. 

But anyway, remember to stick with texts that keep the discussions conversational and less salesy.

You might want to draft an Instagram DM sales script to help occasionally.

That leads us to the next type of DM.

2. Pictures and Videos

Sometimes you want to send pictures or videos alongside the text you’ve written so customers understand what you mean. 

For example, if you say there’s a really cool hoodie at a discounted price, it’d make so much sense if you sent a picture or video to back up your claim. 

Think of them as proof that makes whatever you say admissible in the customers’ court of law. 😉

Plus if you sell physical products, there’s a good chance they’ll ask to see a photo so they can confirm what they saw on your feed. 

You could send pictures and videos from your gallery to recipients by tapping the image icon in the chat box or take a new photo by clicking the camera icon.  

Just ensure the videos you send are around 15 seconds or less.  

3. Video chat

This DM type involves video-calling a customer you want to talk to. 

But this needs to be done with caution because, as you know, trying to video-call someone you don’t know personally can come off as weird and you wanna avoid that. 

What you can do instead is schedule a meeting beforehand with them. 

To initiate a video chat with a client, you need to be in their inbox and click the video camera logo at the top right corner like this:

And video chatting can begin. 

4. Group chats

If you wanna talk with multiple customers at the same time, perhaps people who’ve qualified for a discount or something, using group chat will be a good option. 

Instead of sending the same message to several people one after the other, you can send it to all of them simultaneously. 

It can be like WhatsApp groups where participants invite their friends. To create a group chat, click the + sign at the top right corner of the Instagram direct message page.

On the next screen, select the ideal clients you wanna chat with. 

Then, you can start chatting with them. 

5. Voice notes

When you don’t feel like typing or video-calling, sending voice notes is another DM option.

It saves you lots of time when having conversations with clients or providing customer service. 

Sending voice notes is pretty easy. Just tap on the microphone icon to record your message and send it when you’re done. 

If you want to cancel a voice note you’ve sent, you can simply click the trash icon and start afresh. 

And now to the part you’ve been waiting for!

How to Sell on Instagram DM (based on company size)

To begin with, here are some Instagram statistics you need to know: 

  • 83% of Instagram users visit the app to discover new products and services.
  • 80% say it helps them decide whether to make a purchase.
  • Another 81% use it for research
  • 79% of users want to know more about the product
  • 65% of them visited the brand’s store afterward  

Where are we driving at?

There’s never been a better time to start selling on IG DM than now and that’s because customers want to learn more about your product, as we’ve seen already. 

We’ve categorized how you can begin based on the current size of your brand so let’s get right to it. 

Small businesses and entrepreneurs

If you’re a qualified small business owner on Instagram and have time to hold conversations with customers, you can simply use the Instagram app or website for the campaign.

It’ll be like chatting with close friends.  

But before you can start having conversations with customers, you need to have started building relationships with them. 

How do you do that?

By posting relatable and valuable content on your profile that people can engage with. 

If you’re unsure what kind of content can be considered valuable to prospects, user-generated content (UGC) is your best bet.

And to get UGC, you can partner with micro-influencers on Instagram

It’s when you’ve built some form of credibility that it would make sense to send a DM to your audience. 

If you start by messaging people you haven't interacted with before and with almost nothing on your feed, your chat will go straight to message request which is Instagram’s version of a spam folder.

If you run a small business and want to leverage Instagram DM marketing, you need to:

  • Have started populating your feed,  Instagram Reels, and Stories
  • Interact with your audience in the comment section without being too salesy
  • Close deals in the DM

Medium-sized businesses

Medium-sized business owners – you probably have a lot on your plate and a good number of Instagram followers, so getting one person to have conversations with all of them would be super-tasking. 

It might even lead to bad customer service. 

Here’s what you can do:

Connect your business account to the Facebook Creator Studio. This way, you can designate different users to be in charge of your conversations in the DM and comment section. 

From the Creator Studio, you can also gain access to different business analytics to help your campaign and schedule posts in advance. 

To link to the Studio, you want to:

  • just beside
  • at the top of the screen.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen and log into Creator Studio with your Instagram username and password.

If you're unable to link it to your Instagram account or have been asked to link the account to your Facebook Page, you might wanna consider signing out of your Facebook user profile and then logging into Creator Studio with your Instagram details. 

Another option is to access the Creator Studio from an Incognito browser and then try logging in again.

Of course, you want to start by posting valuable content as we discussed earlier. 

Large businesses

How can established businesses sell on Instagram DM?

By using the Instagram DM API to communicate with customers or prospects on their desired messaging platform. 

This way, you can get multiple agents to manage the high volume of interactions you’ll likely get from your customers.

With the Messenger API, you can:

  • Connect with customer databases and existing tools for better client engagement
  • Streamline the way brands respond to messages, to shorten response times 
  • Improve customer experience with automation supports and different messaging features

That’s what Kiehl, a beauty brand, used when they wanted to develop a deeper connection with their audience. 

Their customer support agents were having difficulties responding to high volumes of DMs, comments, and Stories they received. 

They needed a different way to respond quickly and convert leads so they put the Instagram DM API to work. 

Kiehl witnessed a 30% increase in qualified leads and a 20% increase in conversion rate.

Alright, who’s ready to close some deals on Instagram DM?

Now Over to You

We know you’re excited about your Instagram DM marketing adventure and can’t wait to begin. 

It’s understandable, we’ve all been there. 

Well, we’ve got more blog posts about Instagram marketing that can help you grow your brand.

You’ll learn about the different features on IG you can leverage for your social media marketing campaigns.

Head over to our blog if you’re interested in valuable content on how to increase sales on Instagram.

Share this article
Logan Mayville

Get started with Insense today

Start getting UGC and collaborating with creators for organic posting and whitelisted ad campaigns.

Diverse images of creators

You might also like...