In the coming year, eCommerce marketing will be evolving from simple product promotion to creating personalized relationships between consumers and marketers. Customers actually want more than just an efficient transaction and there’s always a better way to sell to them, too.
Facebook’s photo sharing application Instagram launched direct messaging, popularly known as Snapchat Killer. It’s a new way to share your product photos and videos with your customers. Instagram Direct is built to feel natural to the Instagram experience. Merchants can now drive personal messages containing photos and 15-second videos similar to twitter’s direct message functionality. These messages can be shared with individuals or groups of up to 15 people and can attract users who are more apt to use apps.
The app has evolved as a means of visual communication allowing online retailers to express detailed information about their products and services. You can directly advertise your brand using Instagram  Direct to engage with your existing fans. You can also use this new feature for solving customer service issues and brand reputation management.
How Do You Use Instagram Direct?
- First, take a photograph and/or record a video. Add optional effects, filters and captions if you like.
- Next, tap on an option called “direct” on the screen.
- Tap the names of the followers you wish to send the video and/or photo.
- Lastly, tap on “send.”
Use Instagram Direct for eCommerce Marketing
Hold a Contest
Post a product photo with instructions stating that the first 10 people to comment on the photo will receive a direct message from you with detailed information on how to enter a secret contest. You can also ask each of the 10 people to submit a photo of themselves using the product to win prizes. Then post the best photos to different social channels for added content.
Promote New Products
Nothing can beat the way of direct messaging to let select groups of followers know about a new product. You can send a private message containing a photo of a newly launched product through Instagram Direct (but cannot share them on social network sites). This encourages investigation and sparks word of mouth. Be sure to also include a link.
Feature Sales and Coupons
Reward your top followers with exclusive sales promo codes and coupons. These are the people who comment, like and share your content frequently. A good idea is to send the photo to selected followers with a coupon code letting them know that they are your loyal fans.
Hold a Q&A Group Chat
Instagram Direct enables online merchants to interact with their followers by supporting a chat function. In addition to threaded conversations, you can also host question answer sessions to learn about your followers and educate them as well. This is a great way for qualitative market research.
Target Followers Via Their Demographics
Through direct message you can send special photos and videos to your followers based on their locations or demographics. This is important because you can ask for their feedback to be used as brand research.
For instance, you can ask your California based customers about your latest products and services. Instagram is more popular among teens and millennials as they are the most active mobile users and more likely to share their lives online. Therefore, Instagram is considered an attractive channel to target this group of people .
Behind the Scenes Stories
This strategy serves as a way to humanize your business and deepen your relationship with your customers. The images and videos can include customers using your products or something like happy moments in their lives.
Instagram Direct messages can help you to search for customers who are a fit for your brand and reach out to them directly.