The Ultimate Instagram Direct Messages Guide

All you need to know to create and manage your Instagram Direct Messages with tyntec’s Conversations Inbox.

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Have you been considering the use of Instagram Direct Messages but don’t know where to start?

The tyntec Starter Guide for Instagram DMs with Conversations Inbox gives you the right tools to create your own Instagram for Business, how to manage and leverage it, so you can ultimately accelerate customer service, increase sales conversions, and more.


💪 Ready to get started? Try out Instagram DMs with Conversations Inbox for free (WhatsApp included).

🎉 Already a customer? Check our guide to connecting your Instagram Business with Conversations Inbox.

🎁 Instagram Direct Messages on the Conversations Inbox are for FREE until 31.12.2021!

Why Instagram

With over one billion monthly active users, Instagram has become a serious CX ally for brands with the potential to rival even the mighty WhatsApp. With 200+ million users, Instagram commercial traffic is massive:

  • 130 million users tap on shopping posts every month, with 80% following at least one company.
  • 60% of people say they discover new brands on Instagram, while over 80% use it to research products and services.
  • 50% of people have visited a website to make a purchase after seeing a product or service on Instagram.

At the same time, market trends reveal that users expect near real-time responses from brands, whatever the inquiry. For instance, according to Google, 75% of users expect to get immediate info when they use their smartphones. In comparison, 90% of customers demand a quick response to their support questions (10 minutes or less), states HubSpot Research.

For brands using Instagram, the answer has already arrived:

Instagram Direct Messages API

With this latest development, Instagram shows the commitment to expanding CX options and further personalization on the app available to large brands needing scalable ways to manage and reply to the ever-increasing direct messages.

Instagram Direct Messages (DMs) Overview

While brands use Instagram in various ways, such as sponsoring Ads, sharing Posts, Stories, and more recently, Reels, it’s via Direct Messages that real business happens. Most of the time, when a customer is interested in a product, the most likely scenario is to get in touch. In the Instagram world, that translates to the comment section or sending a message.

In the age of conversational commerce, this makes perfect sense. That’s why companies are increasingly pushing customers and leads to get in touch, and why the main call to action is – surprise, surprise! – to send a message. Yes, the most prominent button on any Instagram profile! 

There are different ways to get people conversing with a brand. First and foremost, it’s about letting people discover your brand’s Instagram profile. So, let’s take a few moments to explore how to drive people to your Instagram profile – and message you from there 💬

Instagram Direct Messages (DMs) Overview

In-App Search

Customers should easily find your brand on Instagram via your unique username and/or profile name. Make sure your brand name on Instagram is easily recognizable – and findable!

In App Search

Once users get to your profile, they can simply click on the Message button and send you a message.

When you post on your newsfeed or create Instagram Reels, people can also message you directly. Not only this helps you broaden your outreach but it also pinpoints the content pieces that have been most successful to your audience.

Instagram Shop

Shops are an immersive storefront that enables businesses to increase product discovery in a native Instagram shopping experience. This feature help people can visit a shop from a company’s Instagram profile or through Feed and Stories.

Users can message a brand directly from the Shop in case they have any questions about your products.

Instagram Profile Link and QR Code

You can increase your brand visibility on Instagram by sharing your profile link on your communication channels.

Also, QR codes are a great way to direct people to your profile. Share a QR code on banners, flyers, and any physical touchpoint. You can quickly generate a QR code to your profile link from your Instagram app.

Luckily once they are on your account, they’ll find the Message button conveniently placed at a location where it’s obvious. Clicking on it will bring your visitors directly to your Instagram DM inbox – the Conversations Inbox.

Instagram Social Posts

Your social posts are crucial to increasing the number of new followers and, of course, keeping your loyal followers happy. Social posts are, in a way, an invitation to interact. While many users will simply comment directly on your post, others will be motivated to initiate a 1:1 conversation with your brand by clicking on the message icon just beside the like button.

Instagram Social Posts

To increase your chances of growing engagement, regularly use relevant hashtags and publish value-added content on your newsfeed, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Reels.

Story mentions

Yes, customers may find your brand and not direct message you. But they might create a fantastic Story and mention your brand.

Once you get the notification that a user has tagged your brand, message the user with a thank you or follow-up note, depending on the context. Any replies to your Stories will appear in your Instagram DM inbox (and Conversations Inbox).

Paid: Instagram Click-to-Chat Ads

When creating ads on Instagram, you can add a call-to-action to start a chat with your brand. This way, you can reach out to non-followers and build your audience beyond the inclusion of hashtags in your social posts.

Paid: Instagram Click-to-Chat Ads

To create Click-to-Chat Ads, go to your Facebook Ads Manager and place these ads in your Instagram Feed or Stories. You can expand to offer customer support and answer questions to people who come across your DM.

Now that we’ve explored the options on how customers can find your brand on Instagram and send you a direct message, let’s check how to manage and reply to these DMs appropriately.

How to Manage Instagram DMs: Inbox Options

Leads and customers have found your Instagram profile and have started messaging you. Great!

There are three different ways to respond and manage Instagram DMs:

  • Instagram Message Inbox
  • Facebook Business Suite Inbox
  • Instagram Direct Message API (that can be integrated into your existing system).

Let’s check what each option entails – and what is relevant for you.

For Small Businesses: Instagram Message Inbox

If you’re a small business with a low volume of daily messages, the Instagram Message Inbox suits your needs, in addition to being free of charge. You can manage the Inbox from the app or desktop.

Facebook Business Suite Inbox

For SMBs: Facebook Business Suite Inbox

If you’re dealing with a decent amount of daily DMs, the Facebook Business Suite Inbox might be the best option. As long as the Instagram Business Account is connected to Facebook, you’ll be able to access this inbox.

With this inbox, you can organize the contacts and conversations such as labels and agent assignments, amongst other features.

Facebook Business Suite Inbox

For Large Businesses: Instagram Direct Messages API

Many savvy brands are already carving their path on the social channel, creating conversations, answering questions, and deepening customer relationships. While engaging with consumers on their turf may sound ideal, it’s quite another story for customer relations departments. They face genuine logistical hurdles as no defined or centralized approach for efficiently managing customer interactions.

One moment it’s a Direct Message from a customer about a product, the next a delivery query via the Shop, all before spotting a glowing mention in a consumer’s Story but responding too late to be meaningful. Being flooded with multiple messages or missing mentions means what should be a boom for customer engagement can quickly become a bust.

This is where the Instagram Direct Messages API comes in 💪

The API features enable businesses to integrate Instagram messaging with their preferred business applications and workflows, helping drive more meaningful conversations, increase customer satisfaction and grow sales.

Instagram Direct Messages API

Businesses want to use a single platform to respond to messages on multiple channels. The API now allows businesses to manage messages initiated by people throughout their Instagram presence, including Profile, Shops, and Stories – managed in one system.

Let’s check what rules, features, and requirements you need to leverage the Instagram DMs API before connecting it to the Conversations Inbox.

Instagram Direct Messages API Essentials

In this section, let’s explore the requirements to use the Instagram DM API, as well as the rules and features at your disposal.

Messaging rules and features

Messaging your customers on Instagram is easy and hassle-free. Before doing so, however, check the essential rules and features to start with the right foot!

Message initiation

To send messages to someone on Instagram, the conversation must be initiated by the user. Sending a message to users that have never interacted with the brand is a no-no. 

24-hour messaging window

To ensure that direct messages are replied to – and therefore the quality experience on Instagram remains – companies have a 24-hour timer to respond to an inquiry. After 24 hours, businesses can no longer see or reply to the message.

While this might present a challenge for companies closed during the weekend, automated responses and chatbots can keep the conversation active until a human agent can pick it up.

Message tags

Message Tags enable sending personally relevant 1:1 updates to users outside the standard messaging window. Users that can be contacted via message tags have already interacted with the brand. 

Promotional content

Businesses can send promotional content using Sponsored Messages, standard messages, and messages sent within the 24-hour window.

Escalation path to human agents

As many companies using Instagram might not have sufficient agents to handle every inquiry, automation helps to scale conversations. However, chatbots will not be able to process every inquiry, and in some cases, it’s necessary that a human agent steps in.

Instagram requires that companies using automation provide an escalation path to a human agent. Acceptable methods include human agent handoff, leaving a phone number, following up via emails, and prompting in-store visits.

Rich media content

Like the app, the API supports text, images, and stickers.


Read receipt

Both the sender and recipient would also receive a read receipt when a message is read.



The Instagram Messaging API comes with extra messaging features such as generic templates and product templates.


Instagram Verified Badge

A verified badge is a check that appears next to an Instagram account's name in the Search and on the profile. It means Instagram has confirmed that an account is the authentic presence of the public figure, celebrity, or brand it represents. 

While the Instagram verified badge is listed here, it does not influence Instagram Direct Messages. Any company, with or without the verified badge, can use the API for Instagram Direct Messages.  

In case you’re interested in applying for the Verified Badge, check how here.

Key requirements

Instagram Business Account

To take advantage of the Instagram Direct Messages API, you need a business account.

Assuming you already have a personal Instagram account, let’s jump to how you can change it from personal to business in only 5 steps.

Step #1 - Access your Instagram profile, then go to Settings. On the left side, click on Switch to Professional Account.

Instagram Business Account - Step 1

Step #2 - Choose Business and click Next.

Instagram Business Account - Step 2

Step #3 - Select a Business Category that best describes your company. Click on Done.

Instagram Business Account - Step 3

Step #4 - Review the Contact Information and click Save.

Instagram Business Account - Step 4

Step #5 - Your Instagram Business Account is ready!

Instagram Business Account - Step 5

Connect your Instagram with your Facebook Page

Now, you can choose to connect your Instagram Business Account to your Facebook Business Page and Facebook Business Manager. By doing this, you can allow multiple users to access the account to assign multiple users to manage your inbox messages and comments, access business insights, and schedule posts with the Creator Studio.

Also, to connect your Instagram business profile to the Conversations Inbox, you have to link your Instagram and Facebook Page. Follow just two steps:

Step #1 - Ensure that you are an admin of the Facebook Business Page you want to associate with the Instagram Business Account. 

Step #2 - Go to the Facebook Business Page Settings > Instagram > Connect Account and follow the rest of the instructions on-screen.

Instagram Business Account - Connect Account

Once that’s done, your Instagram Business Account is connected to your Facebook Business Page. 

Now, ensure your Facebook Business Manager Account owns your Instagram Business Account so no one else can claim it as theirs.

To do this, head on to your Facebook Business Manager. 

Make sure you are a business admin, then go to Settings > Accounts > Instagram Accounts > Add and follow the instructions on-screen.


Enable ‘Access to Messages’ on the Instagram app

Last but not least, as a requirement, you have to enable messaging permissions on the Instagram mobile app following only 4 steps:

Step #1 - Log in to the Instagram Business profile on a mobile phone (if you haven’t converted your Instagram profile to a Professional Account, this is how you do it)

Step #2 - Go to Settings and then click Privacy.

Step #3 - Click Messages.

Step #4 - Click the toggle so that Allow Access to Messages is enabled.

That’s it! You can start now connecting your Instagram business profile with the Conversations Inbox 🎉

A brand’s best friends: Instagram API and Conversations Inbox

The Instagram API recently touched down, allowing the platform to be integrated with existing company systems. Most importantly, it enables CX departments to handle all Instagram interactions via a single centralized platform such as tyntec’s Conversations Inbox. 

This gives brands the ability to quickly and easily receive, read, assign and respond to customer DMs from three key Instagram sources:

  • Capture any messages initiated on the brand’s Profile and respond to them.  
  • Receive customer questions about products, deliveries, and more via the Shop.
  • Be notified if the brand is mentioned on Stories, enabling agents to reply immediately.

All about scalability: Instagram CX without tyntec’s Conversations Inbox

Scalability is a crucial feature of tyntec’s Conversations Inbox, the solution able to easily manage large-scale messaging volumes. Fail to put in place a centralized DM management solution, and a typical scalability scenario will most likely play out something like this:

  • The brand starts small, its compact social team handling any posts and answering Instagram DMs. So far, pretty easy.
  • As conversation volumes grow, though, so do the pressures on the now over-stretched social media team as they struggle to manage all the different types of messaging that need responses.
  • More and more departments become involved; for instance, sales and marketing are required to step in to answer specific types of questions or mentions, with the assignment of duties often occurring on an ad-hoc, disorganized basis.
  • Soon, Instagram DMs become a hindrance instead of a help as negative reactions from ‘ignored’ customers and prospects mount up.
  • The brand considers hiring in more people — but is worried about the cost implications. Is the social channel worth such an increase in investment?
  • The brand can either decide to hire in extra staff — and their associated costs — with the hope of clawing back vital resources later down the line, or continue with its chaotic approach, hoping the situation will somehow ‘get better’.
  • Alternatively, the brand can look for a more cost-effective solution that tackles these damaging CX issues, all while massively improving efficiency, reducing costs, and boosting agent morale.

6 steps to Instagram CX success using tyntec’s Conversations Inbox

1. Receive immediately

When a user directly messages the brand, their message appears in the platform’s ‘Inbox’ in moments. There’s no need to wait for notifications and/or email reminders or head on to Instagram to scour for new missives or mentions.

Receive immediately

2. Reply quickly

A user’s message can be replied to in the text field beneath their text. For frequently asked questions, a ‘quick reply’ can also be dispatched immediately to help reduce response times and boost customer satisfaction rates.

Reply quickly

3. Assign in an instant

Alternatively — depending on the inquiry type — the message can be assigned to a certain agent, team, or virtual assistant (chatbot). 

There’s no need for agents to ping each other, as the message will automatically appear in the assigned agent or team’s Conversations Inbox window.

Assign in an instant

4. Manage mentions

Any mention of the brand in a customer Story is delivered right into Conversations Inbox and can be responded to directly; again, out goes the need to trawl through Instagram, trying to spot and reply to mentions in time, so any response remains timely and relevant.

Manage mentions

5. Meet expectations

A brand’s agents aren’t always going to be available — there will be specific timeframes (i.e., the middle of the night) where a brand ‘shuts up shop’. 

To combat customer frustration, create automated messages that allow brands to use full scheduling options to create customized opening/closing times lists. It means customers will at least know when they can expect a response instead of being left guessing or, worst still, choosing to walk away.

Meet expectations

6. Curb chaos

Multiple departments may require access to Instagram — think social/marketing, customer service, sales, technical support, and more — creating a potential logistical issue. Conversations Inbox enables brands to add agents and assign them to teams effortlessly before assigning inquiries to the team best qualified to answer them. 

Curb chaos

Conversations Inbox: Versatile solution for the ultimate in social channel management

While Conversations Inbox’s Instagram offering is demonstrably powerful, brands know they now live in a multichannel world; one that must be coordinated and managed efficiently to create true omnichannel experiences for every customer, no matter the touchpoint 👍

Support Inbox

Conversations Inbox has been designed to meet this vast demand, enabling companies to:

  • Manage messages from WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, and more.
  • Engage the customer throughout their journey from inquiry to delivery and beyond on nearly ten messaging channels. 
  • Send and broadcast messages to opted-in consumers to aid in marketing drives for enabled channels, e.g., WhatsApp, Viber, SMS. 

Crucially, Conversations Inbox can be rolled out with minimum disruption and zero-coding and offers a host of other CX-critical benefits, too, including full integration with existing CRM platforms, third-party chatbot implementations, and expert guidance from the omnichannel specialist, tyntec.

Getting started is easy – and for free

The following steps to connect your Instagram Profile with Conversations Inbox and start rocking your customer engagement are at your fingertips! 

  1. Ensure you have an Instagram business account and admin access to your linked Facebook Page. 
  2. Link your Instagram business account to the Conversations Inbox following these instructions. In less than 5 minutes, you’re connected! 
  3. It’s time to try it out – exchange messages FOR FREE with your customers on the Conversations Inbox until 30.09.2021. 
  4. Promote your Instagram profile wherever possible to increase customer engagement.  

    🎁 How to claim your free trial for Instagram with Conversations Inbox – for new customers

    • Conversations Inbox access for 30-days for free
    • All Instagram messages for free until 30.09.2021
    • Is WhatsApp also interesting for you? Create your WhatsApp Business Profile free of charge and unlock 1,500 complimentary messages. 
    • Start here

    You already got the Conversations Inbox?

    • Follow these steps to connect your Instagram business account with the Conversations Inbox. 
    • All Instagram messages for free until 31.12.2021.

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