Benjamin Boman

How To Use Instagram Direct Message Automation for eCommerce with Richard Thomas

Tell us a little about yourself

As a landscape architect, I’ve been on the technology industry for quite some time and had started working with the internet in the mid 90s. Around 2007, I discovered SEO and started working in that industry before getting more involved in my local Business Network International (BNI) chapter over the past 5–7 years, where I established my agency in funnel marketing.

Why should eCommerce businesses pay attention to DM chatbots?

The key message is really that you can move from “algorithm to inbox”. Unfortunately, no matter how many followers you have on Instagram, you’re at the mercy of the algorithm as to how many people see your posts.

Engagement does help, but there is still a disconnect between that and what your followers can do to continue the communication. They will have to direct message (DM) the business.

With Instagram DM automation, you can do the same posts as usual but at the same time build a list. So instead of requesting users to DM you for details, you can request that they DM you or comment on a post with a codeword to begin the communication.

The key thing here is that you’re then allowed to message anyone who becomes a ‘subscriber’ via these codewords, and you have 24 hours to send follow up messages in Instagram.

This gives you 3 direct message channels to work with: email, SMS and Instagram inboxes. You can escape the control of Instagram and give yourself the asset of that list.

Does the technique suit some sellers over others?

It’s still very early days, so there isn’t much difference between industry verticals within eCommerce. If you are already getting engagement, it’s going to do well.

Naturally, some brands get more engagement on giveaways or posts than others. If you put up posts that say DM us for the details, you can continue doing that but instead ask people comment below to get the details and get more engagement instead.

How To Automate Instagram DMs?

First, look at what you’re doing already, where you can use the automated sequences with what you’re doing that is getting engagement.

For example, giveaways are often a good opportunity. Whether it’s on stories, giveaway posts, influencer collaborations, it doesn’t matter.

If you aren’t currently doing posts that get engagement, profile people in your space, look at their content and test your own posts that do similar. You might consider running ads to get people engaged if they haven’t been engaging historically.

Tip: Competitions are a good way to get followers and sales. For example, request users to follow you, tag a buddy and comment below. Try to get people on your list, and offer a product currently on sale.

Next, you’ll need to connect a 3rd party platform to your Instagram page, Chatmatic. Before you do this, make sure you are using a Facebook Business account, and your business account is connected to your Facebook page and Instagram profile.

Third, build a conversation sequence with your code word.

The key here is to be conversational. Use emojis, comfortable language.

In the sequence, ask for their email address and phone number and provide a good reason for doing so. For example, you might say that doing this will double their chances of winning.

Fourth, begin testing the sequence.

You will need to give it about 3–4 weeks to massage and optimise it. Things to look out for are:

  • Look how people engage with sequence overall
  • At what points do people drop out of the sequence
  • Completion %
  • General comments and feedback
  • Consider adding steps

💡 Tip: Focus on getting something up and running. Make a minimum viable product (MVP) then add to that and improve it from there on.

Beyond this, you can now explore improvements, including:

  • More integrations with auto-responders
  • Connecting your CRM
  • Plan out your next campaigns, experimenting to find the the right cadence for maximum engagement

Tip: The swipe up feature on stories is going away, so codewords are probably going to be more important.

Thank you for sharing this technique with the eCommerce community.

For people who want to reach out, what’s the best way to connect with you?

You can check out my website or try out the DM automation for yourself on Instagram. Go to my profile on Instagram and send the message message ‘instabot’ (not case sensitive.