So you’ve heard rumblings that entrepreneurs like yourself are actually making sales from Instagram…

How to sell on Instagram - Elise Darma

How can this be?

Isn’t Instagram a wasteland for teenagers and selfies and avocado pics? 

Not Anymore, Rhonda, not anymore. 

I’m going to share a little hidden feature of Instagram that you can use for your customer support and boost your brand loyalty like crazy. 

Today I’m covering how to sell your products and services using Instagram’s direct messages, also known as the ‘DMs.’ 

Leveraging the DMs to make sales on Instagram has worked for my friend and client, Becky Keen, who’s a business coach. Over the last six months she’s already generated over $40,000 in revenue back to her business all through the free app that we know and love: Instagram and it’s direct messages. 

Rather watch the video? Learn all the tips right here ☝️

What are Direct Messages on Instagram?

Just so we’re on the same page, let’s talk about what direct messaging is.

Simply put, it’s Instagram’s private messaging feature, so if you want to connect with someone one-to-one virtually, this is how you’re going to do it. 

Yes, this means you could direct message Gerard Butler, Britney Spears or Josh Groban (who was my childhood crush).

Move over cold emailing. That’s so 1999. Direct messaging is where it’s at on how to connect with someone virtually. 

Now, direct messages aren’t just text anymore. Did you know that there are six types of direct messages you could send someone on Instagram? 

6 Types of Direct Messages on Instagram:

  1. Text-based message – this is the closest thing to texting someone.
  2. Pictures. You can easily send someone a photo from your camera roll or within your message thread. You can snap a pic and send it their way.
  3. Videos. You can pull up a video from your camera roll, or you can film one directly from your message thread and send it over. You are going to have to be quick though: the videos can only be 15 seconds max.
  4. Video chat with someone directly in the thread. Similar to calling someone on Facetime or through Facebook Messenger, there’s now a video chat button where you can call someone up directly in the DMs.
  5. Group chat. If you’ve got some friends in your industry you want to gather all together in one thread, or, you want your family to be together in one thread, you could start a group chat with multiple people in one DM thread.
  6. Voice notes. Hallelujah. I love voice notes. They’re my favorite type of message because let’s be honest, I’m lazy and it’s way faster to hit a button and send a voice note than to type it all out. 

How to Make Sales on Instagram Using Direct Messages (DMs)

Let’s get down to the juicy stuff, shall we? How do you actually use these wonderful DMs to sell your products and services on Instagram? 

Well, DMs are my favorite because they help your business grow in five main ways: I’m talking awareness, leads, sales, brand loyalty and connections. Let me go through each one of these. 

1. Awareness

How do you make sure that someone becomes aware of you on Instagram? 

My favorite tip for this is to actually go onto your ‘Explore’ page.

From the Explore page, you will see posts that Instagram has catered for you.

Click on a post, and you will be able to see who has a Story available to view by whether or not they have a colored ring around their profile picture. 

Just like this 👇

Red arrow pointing to Instagram profile photo with rainbow ring around it.

Go ahead and view their Story; if they seem like a great person to connect with, reply to their Story. 

Replying to the Instagram Story of someone.

And voilà, you now have a DM thread with a new person who’s just discovering you. 

2. Leads

My best tip to get leads from Instagram is to DM the people who are commenting on your posts.

Now, I know it’s pretty common to just like a comment or maybe reply back on your actual post, but I’d encourage you to take it up a notch.

Why not send that person who took the time to comment a private message?

You can simply thank them for commenting, but this simple act creates that private DM thread between the two of you where further connections can be made. 

Another trick I love is to run a poll in my Instagram story.

By including a poll in my Story, I can see who chose which options.

Depending on their answer, I can go ahead and tap the paper airplane symbol, open up a DM thread with that person and ask them more questions about why they chose the answer they did.

3. Sales

How do you get sales from Instagram? 

Well, you can send an unlimited number of links in the direct messages.

Now, you probably know you only have one link underneath your bio. 

And then, of course, if you have 10,000 followers or more, you can share multiple links in your Stories with the Swipe Up feature. 

But let’s be honest, most business owners don’t yet have 10,000 followers.

Your best bet is to start that private conversation with someone in your DMs, and then you are not limited to the number of links you can share, or the type of link either.

You can send your call booking link, your opt-in page link, your sales page link, your checkout link – whatever makes the most sense to nurture that relationship and bring that lead over into a sale. 

4. Loyalty

I know it’s the norm to help out your customers over email or in a private Facebook group, but you would be amazed at how impressed your customers will be when you privately offer them help in a direct message thread.

This exact tactic is the reason why I’ve been able to sell $2,500 retreat tickets – because of offering that support in the DMs. 

And want to know my favorite feature for building brand loyalty? It’s called the ‘Close Friends’ feature. 

The ‘Close Friends’ feature is a filtering system that you could use in your DMs to mark the people who you want to send a message to.

As a business owner, you could mark all your coaching clients as close friends or all your course students as close friends.

Then when you go to share something in your Story, don’t share it to everyone. Just share it to your close friends and that creates that private connection. 

Again, if people reply, they’re starting that private DM thread with you and it just feels that much more intimate. 

5. Connections

How do you make connections on Instagram?

By creating group threads for your peers in your industry. 

Funny story: my boyfriend of six years has my phone number, but he’s not texting me anymore. He’s sending me DMs on Instagram. Why is that?

It’s because Instagram is the world’s number one social media platform and people are spending way more time there and in their DMs than even in their text messaging app. 

So apply this to your business life.

Why not gather a group of peers in your industry into one group thread? That way you all have this private place where you can talk about your businesses, maybe even create some brand partnership deals with each other and just help each other out.

Red circle around "Start Chat" from Instagram Story viewers.

By doing this, you’re going to be positioning yourself as a thought leader and a really great connector in your industry.

Ready to Make Sales on Instagram?

First you gotta learn how to use Instagram like a pro. Let me be your guide 👇

My FREE Instagram Masterclass is your one-stop shop for Instagram strategies that actually work. It contains all of my best secrets. Like…

  • How to make your account’s growth skyrocket — without a ton of free time or a fancy camera
  • How to actually get leads, clients and sales to your business directly from Instagram
  • How to grow your following by the thousands — without ads or press

Ready to start earning real revenue from Instagram? Let’s go! 

7 thoughts on “How to Sell on Instagram”

  1. Hello, Mrs. Elise,

    I Savas from Turkey. I follow your articles with excitement. You guys are great. I take advantage of your Instagram articles. I wish I could communicate better with you even though my English is better 🙁 I can understand your articles with Google translation. Thank you.

  2. I’m new to this and it’s tough to decide a niche where the computation is already giving you headaches please help me out I would be greatly appreciating your help🙏

  3. Hi I’m new on Instagram. Trying to figure out how to actually execute a sale through DM. I didn’t quite get the nitty gritty from this article. So for example, I make handcrafted jewelry, my Etsy shop is still in production. If I want to offer a piece for sale via DM, I put that in my comments, then how does the actual payment transaction take place? Do I give them my Venmo or PayPal ? Wait until payment goes through before shipping? Is this sale reportable for taxes? Do I need a sellers permit or license? It’s been a little hard to find this granular level of detail.
    Thanks if you’re able to answer !
    Best, Maura at StarryGroundStudio.

    1. Hi Maura 🙂 You are correct – you will need to at some point send them a link to purchase from you, so that can be via whichever platform you are using, whether it’s Etsy, or your own website, a PayPal invoice, etc.

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