Your Guide To Boosting Engagement with DM Marketing

Get ready to inspire 1:1 conversations at scale with your complete guide to DM marketing on social media.

Lucinda Starr
9 minutes read

In 2024, direct message (DM) marketing is going to be one of the most important shifts in social media engagement. 

The writing has been on the wall for some time. In 2022, Meta reported that over a billion people are messaging businesses across its apps every week. That same year, Adam Mosseri (Head of Instagram) tweeted that DMs are where many users are opting to spend their time, along with Instagram Stories.   

As crowded newsfeeds become more and more competitive to cut through, brands are beginning to realize the potential of inspiring real-time, 1:1 conversations via DM marketing. From timely customer service replies to rewarding your most loyal shoppers, you need to treat your DMs as a key engagement and growth opportunity this year. 

Not sure where to start with DM marketing? We’re running you through why your direct messages are key to boosting engagement, along with our top best practice tips and tricks to maximize DM marketing in 2024 (and beyond). 



What is direct messaging (DM) marketing? 

Direct MessagingAs the name suggests, a direct message (or DM, for short) is a form of 1:1 communication on social media. Each social media platform will have its own inbox to handle DMs, with the ability to chat with one user at a time or create a group to directly message multiple users at once. 

DM marketing allows brands to leverage 1:1 communications to drive deeper engagement and personal connections with customers. Rather than broadcasting messages via feed posts or Stories, DM marketing is focused on:

  • Forging brand loyalty and trust through personalized communication
  • Responding to customer FAQs to streamline the path to purchase 
  • Driving two-way conversations between brands and customers 

Your platform-by-platform guide to DM marketing

Platform Key Features 
Instagram DMs
  • DM Stickers: inspire DMs by using this interactive sticker on Instagram Stories. 
  • Send Message Button: prompt users to connect with your brand via DMs using this CTA on your profile. 
  • Vanish Mode: ephemeral messages that disappear after they’re seen. 
  • Notes: short statuses (up to 60 characters) that are displayed in the Instagram Inbox tab. 
  • FAQs: set up automated responses to your most commonly asked questions, and turn on suggested questions to prompt users to start a conversation with your brand. 

Keep reading and discover how to manage Instagram DMs like a pro.

Facebook Messenger
  • Reactions: quickly respond to engagements and confirm that you’ve seen a message with emoji reactions.
  • Replies: respond to specific messages within a conversation and create threads within a DM chat. 
  • Custom Greetings: Craft a welcome greeting when someone new starts a conversation with your Facebook Page. 
  • Saved Replies: Write, save and reuse messages for FAQs.  
  • Chat plugin for websites: Add a chat plugin to your website to allow visitors to chat with your business via Messenger. 
  • Automation: leverage Instant Replies and Away Messages to ensure fast response times and respond to common queries even when you’re offline. 
  • Badges: Respond to at least 90% of messages in under 15 minutes to score the very responsive badge. 

Keep reading and learn how to use Facebook Messenger to grow your business. 

X (formerly known as Twitter)
  • Snooze: pause specific conversation notifications for 1 hour, 8 hours, 1 week or forever. Plus, Snooze mentions to control when you receive notifications for group conversations. 
  • DM Replies: reply to any message you receive in DMs for a smoother, more intuitive conversation experience. 
  • Emoji Picker: react to DMs with a wide range of emoji options. 
  • DMs for Company Pages: In 2023, LinkedIn expanded its DM functionality to include Company Pages, allowing brands to send and receive messages. 
  • Conversation Topics: After enabling Company Page messaging, you’ll be able to set up custom conversation topics to allow you and your team to categorize conversation threads. 

Why DM marketing is key to boosting engagement on social media 

DMs are fast becoming the primary place of engagement on social media.

For brands, DM marketing offers a unique opportunity to connect directly with your customers. Rather than broadcasting messages to your entire audience, DMs allow you to craft tailored, direct responses that answer your customers’ specific questions. 

With more platforms heavily investing in DM tools and functionality, it’s clear that DM marketing will play an even more important role in the success of your brand on social media. Still not convinced? Here are three reasons why DM marketing is key to boosting engagement: 

Real-time customer service channel: 79% of customers expect to receive a response from a brand within 24 hours. With automated responses in place, you can provide instant answers to your audience 24/7 to make DMs your primary customer service channel.

Preferred mode of communication for Gen Z consumers: In 2023, Instagram’s Trend Talk report revealed that Gen Z respondents named ‘sending memes in DMs’ as one of their preferred ways to communicate with others on Instagram. If you’re looking to target and reach younger consumers, a DM marketing strategy is a non-negotiable in 2024.

Ability to foster 1:1 conversations with customers: A key ingredient of brand loyalty is trust. With an active presence in DMs, you can facilitate direct, intimate conversations with your customers to foster a sense of connection and brand preference

👀 Keep reading: Want to discover the biggest trends that are shaping the world of social media in 2024, including DMs? Download your free copy of your 2024 Trends Report, packed with practical tips, tricks and actionable insights. 

How to tap into DM marketing in your social media strategy

Ready to harness the power of DM marketing on social media? Here are five tangible steps you can take to leverage DMs on social media like a pro. 

1. Make it easy for users to send a DM to your brand 

Many social media platforms, like Instagram, offer tools and functionality to inspire users to connect with you via direct messages. Prompt users to send you a DM by using these key tools:

Ask a questionAdd a Send Message button to your Instagram profile to turn profile visitors into loyal, engaged followers.

Use the Ask Question Sticker on Instagram Stories to inspire 1:1 conversations. Bonus tip: reshare these responses to your Stories and shout-out users to create a sense of loyalty.

Redirect users to contact your brand via Instagram Direct on other platforms, such as your website, using the link format: https//ig.me/m/{ig_profile_handle}  

👀Keep reading: Discover why Instagram Direct Messages are the most under-used marketing tool, along with seven creative ways to use DMs for business. 

2. Use caption CTAs to drive DM engagement 

Adding a call-to-action (CTA) to your captions is a powerful way to drive engagement and action from your followers. So, why not tailor your caption CTAs to inspire followers to send a DM?

A few creative CTAs to inspire DM engagement include:


Struggling with [PAINPOINT]? DM us [WORD] to learn how we can help!’ 

Not sure which size to order? DM us for a virtual fitting!’ 

🔥Bonus tip: Keeping your Instagram Notes status updated with a DM prompt is a powerful way to inspire direct messages from customers. Remember that this is refreshed every 24 hours, so use this as an opportunity to test and experiment with different CTA messages. 

3. Leverage automation using Saved Replies and Frequently Asked Questions

Saved repliesWork smarter, not harder and ensure your customers receive a prompt response 24/7 by leveraging automated responses. Across all social media platforms, you can unlock tools and functionality to automate replies to common customer questions. 

Use Saved Replies to quickly find answers to common questions, such as your opening hours, shipping information and the best way to submit an enquiry.

Use automated FAQs to prompt users to gain instant answers to commonly asked questions.

Use Away Messages to explain your customer service hours and set expectations about when to expect a response from your team.

4. Harness DMs to share VIP resources and offers

Direct messages are a brilliant way to recognize and reward your most loyal followers. By setting up automated messages in DMs, you can leverage keywords to allow users to unlock exclusive resources, VIP discount codes and more. 

For example, you could share an Instagram Story with your curated Close Friends list, mentioning they have qualified for an exclusive discount code. To access this, all they need to do is send your brand a DM on Instagram using a specific keyword. Talk about a smart way to boost sales!

Get inspired: The team from ASICS used this exact technique, using the Instagram DMs and the keyword ‘ASIC Launches’ to fast-track customer sign-ups in exchange for an exclusive discount code. The results speak for themselves: this DM campaign saw an 81% completion rate and a 75% CTR.  

Send a dm to your brand

5. Prioritize fast response times

As we’ve mentioned, consumers expect brands to respond to DMs as quickly as possible. The sooner you can answer a question about a product’s features, color options or sizing, the sooner a potential customer will be empowered to make a purchase.

Not only do fast DM response times improve a customer’s experience with your brand, but it will also build brand loyalty and preference. That means shoppers will be more likely to pick you over your competitors and even recommend you as a trusted brand to their family and friends. 

🔥Hot tip: Make sure to turn on your notifications for DMs across all social platforms. Plus, make sure to check secondary DM inboxes (such as your message requests tab on Instagram) to ensure no enquiries slip through the cracks. 

Discover the biggest trends shaping social media in 2024

We understand the challenges posed by the continuous rollout of new features and tools across platforms, making it harder than ever to stay in the loop. That’s why we’ve curated the ultimate guide to equip you with the insights and strategies you need to lead the game.

Prepare for a transformative year! Our comprehensive report unveils the most anticipated trends, from the evolution of social commerce to groundbreaking shifts in user-brand interactions.

2024 Social Media Trends Report
Your Ultimate Guide to 2024 Social Media Trends

Our report unveils the most anticipated 2024 trends, from the evolution of social commerce to groundbreaking shifts in user-brand interactions.


Looking for an all-in-one content creation suite that simplifies managing your social media channels? Inside Plann, you’ll discover everything you need to effortlessly map out your strategy, repurpose your content, and take your social content to new heights.

Ready to go from idea to scheduled posts in minutes? Join the 3 million global brands (and counting) that are finding success on social media with Plann.

Go on, and redeem your 7-day free trial of Plann Plus. If you don’t like it, keep using Plann for free!



Latest Blogs

Social Media Strategy

The Best TikTok Hashtags You Can Use To Boost Your Content

Looking to boost your content’s visibility with TikTok hashtags? Discover the best hashtags for TikTok and where to find them.

Instagram Tips

Social Media Strategy

How to Make Money on Instagram

Wondering how you can use the power of Instagram monetization to earn an extra income while growing your account? Here’s how to start earning money on Instagram right now!

Social Media Strategy

How to Measure Social Media Analytics for Crafting The Perfect Content Strategy

Ready to craft the perfect content strategy? Here’s how to measure social media analytics and elevate your social media content.

“So much information packed into a small amount of time”
As an artist, I always knew TikTok was an important platform for me to be on to connect with potential clients. I left this course feeling so confident and excited to create and grow!
Arden Interiors
Jenn Evans

Getting Started with TikTok

Up your TikTok Strategy with
Greta Rose
Greta Rose
IT’S HERE!   |   Schedule Your YouTube Shorts With Plann!