With the brand new Instagram update, made active last night, users can now share photos and videos with specific friends, groups, family or whomever they choose.
As users begin to get their feet wet with the new idea, many are asking “what’s the point?” The reaction I have gathered so far is that the new addition of direct messaging photos on Instagram seems unnecessary, when it is just as easy to text a photo to one or more people, or send a Snapchat.
For business owners and brand managers, however, the update may be much more helpful than we think. While it is often difficult to target publics on Instagram, the new feature allows businesses to send photos to certain users or groups, and to drive interest and followers to their account.
Ideas for Business Owners
Businesses that sell products can use Instagram Direct to release new products to certain fans. You can choose to either select fans at random, or select a group that is the most enthusiastic about your brand. Either way, this product release will create enthusiasm among the chosen fans and will motivate others to follow your company. Those fans’ brand loyalty will be increased and they will no doubt spread the word about your product on other social media platforms.
Instagram Direct can also be used as an easier method in creating a contest, or making a more complex contest. First, release your contest graphic to all of your followers. Then, send phase 2 of the contest to the top 10 qualifiers of your choosing. Lastly, direct message a final “You won” graphic or photo to the winner of the contest. This way, contests will be cleaner and more organized on your end.
If you want to use Instagram Direct in a simple way, instead of creating a contest or releasing products to certain users, try simply segmenting your publics. For example, if you take a photo of food on your Instagram account, direct message the photo to users that are foodies or food bloggers. If you take some photos of clothing on your account, direct message those to fashion bloggers and enthusiasts. By targeting your publics, you can increase likeability among specific users, and avoid pushing out information that is not interesting to several users.