How to DM on Instagram — basics and tricks

Julia Moore
Direct Messages is a tool allowing you to send messages on Instagram. All you want to know about Instagram Direct with examples and in easy words is here. From the article you will know why every business should use Direct messages. We will also share a few new tricks for the app. And not just how to DM on Instagram, but how to use Instagram Direct for your brand benefit too.
Reading time — 19 minutes

The interface of the Instagram tool is similar to a regular chatting app, it’s fairly intuitive. By the way, the feature hasn’t always been on Instagram. It appeared 3 years after the Instagram app’d been launched. It was the fifth anniversary version of the social media. Now, Direct is a gold mine of function, the possibilities start from regular chatting and stretches to the ads mailing and making sales. But first things first...

Direct messages instructions

Before you go climb the IG Direct mountain, let’s learn the basics. Many of you probably know the main principles of using the messenger and might think the article is for dummies. But it's not. Direct messages masters will also get some cool tricks and discoveries. Just be patient!

1. How to go to Direct messages

DMs is usually used in the app. But if the battery is low or the app is lagging, you can use other less trivial methods. Below we will tell you how to use Instagram Direct from any device. 

1.1. Mobile Instagram application

Users usually get into Direct inbox and send messages through the Instagram app. It’s simple, it’s always at hand, until your iPhone is frozen or turned off. 

So, to go to Instagram DMs, you need to open the app and tap the paper plane icon on the home page. Here you can see and read messages. 

1.2. Instagram app for a computer

Instagram app page in Microsoft Store.

Open Microsoft Store on a computer or laptop, find the official app in the search, install it and authorize with your login.

Desktop Instagram version looks like the mobile, so just look for the familiar paper plane.

The disadvantage is that the desktop app works only on Windows 10. If you have an earlier version, you can’t use the app.

1.3. Online services

Instagram Inbox in Facebook Business Suite.

Special web services you can use through a browser are for using from any device.

Just find one of them in the search bar and download, authorize with your login and use all Instagram features through a computer.

1.4. Emulator

BlueStack emulator interface.

An emulator is a particular service, which copies Android operating system. It allows you to use a smartphone app right from a computer.

Before you open Instagram DMs in an emulator, you should install it first.

For example, download BlueStacks. Open GooglePlay in it and download Instagram. Use the social media app as you do from your phone. We wrote how to post on Instagram using BlueStack here.

2. How to write a message

Ok, now we’ve learned how to go to Instagram Direct from any device. Now let’s learn how to use its main feature — texting and answering in Instagram DMs.

By the way, when you understand how to write the messages, you have no questions like "How do I read or see a message?" anymore.

2.1. In the Direct Messages

If you have never used DM before from your device, there appears a white screen after you opened Instagram DMs by tapping the thunder bolt icon on the main page.

Tap the pen and paper icon in the top right corner or the active words Send a Message to text someone.

Instagram Direct in mobile app.

Here you see a window for typing a message. Choose a recipient in the Search bar and start writing a username.Choose a user from the list, they will be automatically added to the sending line. Tap Chat.

New Message menu in DMs.New Message menu in DMs.

A chat with the Instagram user opens. There is a text field at the bottom. After you typed at least one letter, the Send button becomes active.

A chat in Instagram Direct.

You can also add an attachment: a photo, video, link or other information. Below we’ll give the instructions.

2.2. From profile

Another way to DM on Instagram to someone is to go to their profile and tap Message under the number of publications and followings. 

Message button on a profile page. 
Attention: You can’t use the feature if the user you want to text has a private account. You need to follow them to see the button.

Lifehack for those who want to message without the subscription. Open the three dot menu in the top right corner and choose to Send Message there.

Send Message option on a profile page. 

Direct messages restrictions

Direct restrictions can be divided into two categories: to Instagram DM notifications and limits which are obstacles occurring while chatting in the Instagram app.

1. Requests and invitations

You can limit the list of people allowed to send you messages in Direct. Go to the Settings — Privacy — Messages.

Choose Your Followers on Instagram in the Potential Connections section. Put a tick near Don’t Receive Request to disallow everyone to DM you.

Settings for followers requests in DMs.

Choose Others on Instagram in Other People section. Put a tick near Don’t receive Requests if you don’t want non-followers to text you on Instagram.

Settings for users requests in DMs.

In the Who Can Add You to Groups, Group chat section, you can set whether everyone or only followers can invite you in the group chats.

Group chat invitation settings. 

2. Limits in DM

It seems easy as it may how to DM on Instagram, but there may appear some technical obstacles. Let’s look at the limits affecting the work in Instagram DMs.

2.1. Messages Requests

If a user has a private account, you need to Request to text him first. Send something using the option in the three dot menu on the top right. The request will come through in their Direct. After they accept it, you both can chat.

Requests in Instagarm Inbox.

2.2. Texting limits

I beg you not to jump to mailing 100500 letters to every user when studying the Direct features. You’ll be banned. Keep limits to avoid it.

Trusted accounts can send no more than 100 messages, new accounts can send up to 50 messages a day. And no more than 15 messages per hour for all accounts.

2.3. A message size

There are limits for the text size. There can’t be more than 1,000 symbols in a letter. If you try to exceed it, you get the warning and have to shorten it before sending.

What you can send

At the beginning of the article we mentioned Instagram users can send not only texts in their messages. In this section we’ll look at the type of the content in Direct and ways to send it.

1. Text

The most easy and popular message type is text. We've figured out how to make it and choose a recipient, said about the limits above. By the way, you can separate text with all known emoji.

Text message in Instagram Direct. 

2. Photo

Second popular content is photo. You can attach a photo in Instagram DMs by tapping a picture icon in the texting field.

After the tap, the media gallery opens. There, you can select one or several images to send there.

Photo message icon in Instagram Direct. 

3. Video

Video records from the phone gallery are available by the same picture icon. You can also use Direct Messages as a Skype alternative.

Tap a camera icon at the top right to record a video or call in real time.

Video message icon in Instagram Direct. 

4. Instant selfie

It is often used for private accounts. Tap a blue camera icon on the left of the texting field to make a disappearing photo for sending in Instagram DMs.

There appears an Instagram Stories interface where you can switch between front and main camera, create photos or videos and send it to a person.

Instant photo icon in Instagram Direct. 

5. Links to profiles

To send a link to a profile, you should first go to it. Tap the three dots at the top and choose Share this Profile.

Choose a recipient or a group of recipients in the search bar and tap Send.

Sharing a profile in DMs.Sharing a profile in DMs.

6. Posts

Go to a profile and choose a post to send (no matter if it’s photos or videos), open it in a view mode and tap the paper airplane icon.

You can share Instagram posts both from your or others’ accounts this way.

Sharing a post in DMs.Sharing a post in DMs.

7. Stories

You can share interesting Instagram Stories. To do it, you need to tap the paper airplane icon while watching one and choose a recipient.

Sharing a Story from a private profile, bear in mind the user can watch the information only after starting following the profile.

Sharing a Story in DMs.Sharing a Story in DMs.

8. Stories reactions

All comments and replies you send in the Instagram Stories window (through the field Send message in the picture above) are also sent to a DM chat.

Here you also can answer any comment for a Story and continue the communication.

Stories reactions in an Instagram chat.

9. External links

You can attach links not only to internal Instagram publications, but also to external resources. The main advantage is such links are clickable. So you can add an active address of your websites or social media group to the letter.

External link in an Instagram chat.

10. Voice messages

To use the messaging feature, tap the microphone in the text field to start recording a voice message.

Voice message in an Instagram chat.

How to make the best of Instagram Direct

Having read the first chapter, you know everything about the structure and how to DM on Instagram. This is fairly enough to communicate with your clients and quickly react to their messages.

You’d think, what other messaging features this small Instagram chatting app may have?

The things we’ve looked at are only the beginning of a big adventure in the world of the unexplored features. Wake up, Instagram guru! Now you are going to be surprised too.

1. Group chats

One message recipient is good, but 32 is better. This is the exact number one can gather in a group chat in Direct and hold a joint conversation.

A chat is to be made like a private message, the difference is adding several profiles one by one. Group chats can be made for:

  • Product discussion. Make a chat to discuss novelties in a product line. Followers will be exchanging their opinions and experiences, telling about a product’s advantages during live chatting. Detailed recommendations in the first person are always trustful for the users who haven’t decided on a purchase.
  • Reviews. Involving feedback in a group discussion gives you certain advantages. Every new review is named. Anyone from a group chat can go to the author’s page and ensure they are not a bot. A chat participant will get a notification about a new review, and a delighted review is more likely to encourage them to make a purchase. 
  • Q&A. You probably answer hundreds of similar questions like "How much for it?", "Should I pay for delivery?". If you’re done with it, make a Direct section where followers will ask long-standing questions, and reply to all them at a time. 
  • Tech support. Let all your followers watch you deal with their problems. Respond to their queries "can’t navigate through the link", "the publication is unavailable" and others. Show the engine room of your company from the inside. Live companies, who are courageous enough to show and admit their failures, get more credit considering they quickly and professionally deal with the queries.

Make different chats and test how people react. Of course, the list of group chat ideas is not complete. It’s your flight of fancy call.

2. Quick replies

Quick replies are an alternative solution for frequently asked questions. You can make templates for the most common questions like "How much does it cost?", "How to place an order?". Every time you get these kinds of messages, you can choose one of the templates and send it in response. You can even go further and use a chat-bot for Instagram, it will manage a proportion of the queries for you.

Besides quick replies are good for making sales scripts. They are what positively affects the number of orders for sure. An effective script includes greeting, defining the problem, clarifying the needs, relevant USP, informing about current sales, dealing with customers' objections, and making the deal itself.

Quick replies save your time spent on typing a message, checking the price and so on. Besides, it saves users’ time spent on waiting for the answer which means lower risk of a client going to a rival.

Quick replies are easy to set. Go to the Settings — Business — Saved replies. Tap "+" in the top right corner or the active words New Saved Reply.

Saved Replies setting. Saved Replies setting. Saved Replies setting. 

3. Mailing

It’s not a secret a lot of IG posts are out of sight because of the big number of active followings or unpredictable "smart feed".

And Stories live just a day. Do you realize how much of important information eludes from your clients?

No worry, here come messaging features to help you. Mass mailing specifically since private messages are read always and by everyone.

For starters, let’s see what you can send and then how to DM on Instagram to a lot of people at a time. Welcome our list of ideas for Instagram Direct mass mailing:

  • Greetings. Send a named greeting message to every new subscriber. Tell about your USP, give bonuses for the subscription.
  • Appreciation. Thank your customers for choosing your company, cause positive emotions in them, motivate them for the next purchase.
  • New arrival. Inform your followers about new items in stock, draw their attention to particular categories, weekly items, bestsellers. 
  • Limited offer. Motivate your clients to buy more by informing about limited items in stock. 
  • Sales. Let your customers know about a coming sale. Tell about the terms and dates, show the product you are putting on sale.
  • News. Tell your subscribers about changing in working hours, moving to another office, or that Buddy the cat has joined the staff team.
  • Congratulations. Be generous with your attentions to the customers in the event dates: a birthday, Christmas, first purchase anniversary.
Thank-you message for a client.

The list can be continued, just use your imagination and think up reasons to remind about yourself.

3.1. Mailing types

Two main types of mailing are available: manual and automated. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each one.

3.1.1. Manual mailing

It’s mailing using the paper airplane icon in the Instagram app. This mailing may be personal, named or group — in a chat, it depends on your goals.


  • Free.
  • You don’t have to give your account data to third-party resources.


  • Very time-consuming.
  • The number of messages per day is limited.
  • You may be banned for breaking the limits.

If you are serious about IG mailing, you don’t want to use a manual method. Except only you have a small user base.

3.1.2. Auto mailing

It’s mailing using online-services. They allow you to get into Direct inbox from a computer.


  • Quick.
  • Safe (the possibility to get banned is minimal).
  • Automated (does not require regular control).
  • Services control the limits themselves. 
  • Audience Reach is wider.


  • Takes money.
  • Not all services have free demo versions.
  • Takes time to choose the best platform (audit, comparison).
  • You need to get the hang of the interface before using a service. 
  • A possibility to make a mistake in settings.

Below you can find several services and detailed information for each of them. Read and choose one according to your preferences and opportunities.

  • provides mailing from multiple accounts. The messages are automated and not limited. Pricing starts from 19 USD per month. 
  • With you can set auto messaging to new followers, or all followers, or use a custom list. There is also a feature for texting in a single chat for multiple accounts. The price starts from 29 USD each month.
  • sends messages in Direct to users from your custom list. It also provides management from multiple accounts. The charge is daily and starts from 2.7 USD.

These are three most popular services for mass DM. Choose any, test and don’t forget to share your experience in the comments.

4. Taplink for DM

Another important Instagram Direct messaging feature is making a deal or working with placed orders. Taplink helps you here to make it quicker and easier.

In the service, you can create a page with:

  • Order forms. Create a page with the froms to let customers place an order online or request for a call-me-back. Send the link to it as an answer whenever users ask how to order, or add it in a quick reply. 
  • A link for online payments. After clarifying the details and deciding on the item, navigate a user to a payment service. Create a landing page with the payments and send the link to it. This step may stimulate a customer to pay right now. 
  • More information. The service also has picture, video, price list and other blocks. Add them on a landing page you to tell your clients about the advantages, stock, sales. You can create a separate portfolio page with work examples and reviews. Send the page link to help a curomer to choose what they need or decide on a purchse.
Taplink laning page. Taplink laning page. 

Sign up on Taplink to create landing pages for Instagram with an order form.

By the way, you can also add landing page link in bio and write "Link in bio to order" under Instagram posts. It is a good way to automatize your sales.

If a user reacted to this CTA, you almost got it. Now it all depends on your offer and a landing page it is placed on. We are sure you know what to offer to your clients. And Taplink gives all the tools you might need to design a goof selling page, read the guide here.

The bottom line

Hopefully, you’ve ensured Instagram direct is not just the app’s chatting addition to communicate, it’s a useful tool for a business in any scale.

It allows you to share content of any type, build relationships with potential clients, send ads and newsletters, make deals and work with feedback. If you run an account for your brand, use Instagram Direct tricks you’ve learned today.

Share your tips on how to DM on Instagram in the comments.