Instagram business messaging is the newest brand-friendly messaging service on the block. Read on to learn what it’s all about—and why you should be using it to connect with customers.
What Is Instagram Business Messaging?
Instagram business messaging is Instagram’s enterprise-supported messaging system. It’s commonly known as Instagram Messaging. (Their official name for it is Messenger API support for Instagram.) It functions similarly to Facebook Messenger, if you’re familiar with that tool.
For customers, Instagram business messaging works similarly to how it did before: Customers can navigate to a brand’s Instagram profile and click “Message” to start a conversation. Their phones will redirect to a messaging window with your brand logo clearly displayed above the chat box. There, they can type and send their messages to connect with you.
But the experience has changed significantly on businesses’ end. Before Instagram launched its Messenger API support, businesses received Instagram messages in their Instagram inbox, just like consumers did. But they couldn’t connect those messages to their other communications tools.
Now, if you have a centralized omnichannel messaging platform inbox, you’ll receive the Instagram messages there alongside messages from your other channels, like native SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google’s Business Messages, Apple Business Chat, and more. If your platform allows for it, you can also connect Instagram Messaging with your enterprise tools, like a CRM or eCommerce system.
What Are Use Cases for Instagram Business Messaging?
Customers use Instagram Messaging to connect with companies for a wide range of reasons. Depending on your business, you may see some or all of them.
Customers will reach out to:
- Learn more about your products or services
- Ask general questions (e.g., what items are in their subscription box and how your newest products were made)
- Schedule appointments or services
- Start customer service queries (e.g., order questions and return requests)
- Share support or appreciation for a post or a Story
On your end, you can use Instagram business messaging to answer questions, schedule appointments and services, and simply thank customers who show interest in your brand.
What Are Instagram Business Messaging’s Guidelines?
Instagram business messaging currently follows the same requirements as Facebook Messenger. Their guidelines and our learned best practices help you ensure that Instagram users are getting the highest-quality experience possible.
For example, you must:
- Empower customers to reach a live team member quickly, even if you initially respond with an auto reply. Instagram requires that customers always have a path to a live agent.
- Aim to respond to customer messages within 24 hours, and no later than seven days. To respond to messages quickly at all hours, you should set up an auto reply for every incoming message. It can, of course, change based on time of day and incoming keyword.
- With Instagram Messaging, you may only send one follow-up message once the customer’s query is resolved. Keep that in mind if you choose to automate any follow-ups. (Other business SMS apps allow for a series of follow-ups.)
- Avoid reaching out to customers first through Instagram Messaging, unless you are moving a conversation started via Instagram comments to private messaging
- Stick to answering customer service and product-related questions (no unsolicited marketing)
Following these guidelines helps you provide customers with fast, customer-centric service.
Why Should You Prioritize Instagram Business Messaging?
Instagram is a popular channel. Your customers are almost certainly using it to connect with one another. They’re also using it to identify, follow, and connect with brands they’re interested in. In fact, eight out of 10 people use Instagram to research products and services. (Read more stats about your customers’ Instagram usage.)
Ensuring Instagram users can reach you through direct messages empowers you to:
- Modernize your branding (or stay up to date if your brand is on top of trends already)
- Connect with more leads and customers
- Build stronger, more positive customer relationships
Instagram business messaging is an important communication channel. Offering it to customers encourages them to reach out, allowing you to connect with more customers and build long-lasting relationships.
How Can Instagram Messaging Users Apply Conversational Customer Engagement?
Conversational customer engagement (CCE) is a new, popular strategy. It’s all about fostering lasting customer relationships through authentic, person-to-person messages.
If you’ve already adopted CCE, Instagram Messaging is a key channel to add to your brand. CCE emphasizes the importance of making it easy for customers to reach your team, which means you need to offer them as many entry points as possible.
To help build authentic relationships with customers who message in—a key tenet of CCE—you need to ensure they know that there’s a person on the other side of the line, not a bot. Your team should use:
- Agent signatures in initial chats
- Friendly, casual language
- Emojis (if appropriate for your brand)
CCE can help you create a positive Instagram business messaging experience for customers. Using this tried-and-true messaging strategy with such a popular messaging channel will help you boost engagement and customer satisfaction overall.
Want to learn more about Instagram Business Messaging? Check out our blog.