What Is A Direct Message?

A direct message (DM) is a private form of communication between two social media users. Sending a direct message is similar to an email. However, here users can keep the tone casual, instantaneous, and to the point. Direct messages are also known as private messages (PM).

Direct messages are a common form of customer engagement used by online businesses to address product concerns, verify order information, and resolve disputes privately. This social media communication mode can help businesses take an individualized, personalized approach to interacting with consumers.

The guidelines and requirements for sending and receiving direct messages vary among the social media platforms.

More About Direct Message

Do you ever wonder how we landed up using the phrase “Just DM me the details”? There is a long history behind it!

In 1844, Morse code was first used to send a long-distance direct message. Later, in the early 1900s, people started using postal services to send messages to their loved ones. And, with the introduction of phones, the application of SMS came into play.

With advancing technology, we had the Internet in the late 1900s. The concept of Internet messaging took a leap after 1998 with the introduction of Yahoo, MSN, and Google Talk. The direct message feature was launched by Twitter in 2006 and by Instagram in 2010.

Today, there are 375 million Instagram DM users in a month. Studies also show that 75% of customers prefer to interact with brands over DM than other channels.

What are the benefits of direct messaging on social media platforms for brands? A direct message makes conversation easy and helps the customer and you to speak your mind, send queries, and share relevant Stories and posts in complete privacy.

Additionally, brands have now started to offer real-time customer support over DMs, sometimes with chatbots. This helps the customer to discuss product or service-related queries.

There are more use cases for direct messages that businesses should consider, such as:

  • To connect with customers who have made recent purchases
  • To share targeted promotions with a select group of people
  • To target users or retarget customers based on their browsing patterns and preferences
  • To explain complex functions related to a product
  • To develop a network of brand ambassadors and influencers
  • To solve queries and disputes in private

There are certain rules created by every social media platform for using the direct message feature. This includes the following:

  • On Instagram, you can send a DM to 15 people at once.
  • WhatsApp limits DMs to five chats at a time.
  • You need to ‘like’ a page on Facebook before sending DMs to the admin. Typically, a message will land in the ‘request folder’ if you are trying to send a direct message to someone who is not on your friend list.
  • On TikTok, you can send direct messages to profiles you are friends with. This applies to both public and private profiles.

Here is an example of what a direct message looks like. In this example, a customer has asked for the price of a particular product posted by the business.

Direct Message

Frequently Asked Questions

What social media platforms have a direct message feature?

DMs can be sent on the following popular social media platforms: Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

What is the difference between a direct message and a text SMS?

Both direct messages and SMS help you have a conversation in private, but they are different in their use. A direct message can be made more creative and engaging by adding emojis, GIFs, images, videos, and voice notes. On the contrary, with SMS, one can only send simple text messages to a contact.

What is direct message marketing?

Direct message marketing is a subset of direct marketing that uses personalized and targeted messages. These are sent on social media channels, through emails, or with texts to connect with a particular customer or a group of customers, existing or potential. It is one of the fastest-expanding channels for users and brands to communicate with each other.

Direct message marketing can be executed with personalized messages, automated messages, chatbots, and other modes.

How can brands use DMs for marketing?

Marketers can use DMs to nurture leads, build networks and relationships, and develop targeted marketing campaigns for specific audience segments. Businesses can also take to DMs for customer service and reply to inquiries and complaints timely. DMs ensure that every instance of customer engagement is personalized.

What are some best practices to observe while using DMs for social media marketing?

Some best practices for using DMs for marketing include the following:

  • Personalize the message for the target user or users.
  • Be concise, and use precise wording for relevant messages.
  • Integrate visuals to make your message distinct.
  • Address the recipient and ensure you’re providing value to them.
  • Always avoid spamming and respect the privacy of the recipient.

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