Instagram’s image-conscious approach – the visual comes first, with the text a supporting narrative – means people look as much as reading; they’re in an artistic mood, inspired to create and connect. It’s one of the few social channels where sales and branding messages are expected and enjoyed. And that’s a great opportunity for marketers and service departments.
If someone’s looking at your brand or products on Instagram, they’re already primed to have a conversation with you: no desire to visit your website, no intention of phoning, but ready to talk nonetheless. And Instagram now offers you a chance to continue that conversation with Instagram Messaging.
According to the company, Instagram Direct is “an in-app messaging product that allows you to privately exchange text, photos, posts and stories with one or more people. With Instagram Direct, you can spark discovery, strengthen relationships and drive sales through a personal connection at every phase of the customer journey.” It’s subject to strict and non-negotiable usage guidelines – as with any consumer channel – but the potential to connect and converse with interested customers in your target audience is vast.
There’s a caveat: if your customers are all around the world and looking at their phones at all hours, you’ve got to be there when they want, whenever they’re ready to talk. That means either trained sales or service agents on duty 24/7/365 or a chatbot that can answer their questions without needing a break.
Many customers have bad memories of chatbots, remembering that time it was too slow, didn’t understand their query, or just bounced them into your website’s Help section. With greater understanding from developers and cloud services now part of the process, those days are over – so it’s time to combine chatbots with the technology everyone’s talking about: AI.
CM.com’s AI-enabled chatbot can work for you on Instagram and connect to millions of potential customers. Let’s take a look at the benefits of adding CM.com to the most visual social channel of all.
Instagram Messaging for Business: a different proposition
Instagram Messaging has a different ethos to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, even though Facebook parent Meta owns all these apps. While sharing posts with friends is just as much a part, Instagram as a whole is also a place where brands and their spokespeople build audiences and followings, allowing like-minded fans to come together around topics and ideas they enjoy. This makes Instagram an effective channel to communicate with customers – especially if you’re in the consumer space.
A Direct Message (DM) doesn't appear in a threaded comments section for all to see; it’s shown privately to the recipient. This means that subject to the right permissions, you can organise complete one-to-one marketing campaigns for your Instagram audience or personalised support – talking to each customer as if they were the only customer and taking advantage of the heightened excitement people on Instagram often feel when they’re browsing their favourite Influencers and brands.
Integrate an AI chatbot into Instagram DMs
Some 2bn people use the Instagram app. It’s the fourth most visited social platform. And unlike stablemate Facebook Messenger – whose user profile is somewhat different from Facebook itself – there’s a strong correspondence between the people who scroll the app and use the DM functionality.
Instagram users are excited, fizzing with questions, and like to talk.
It’s also a major advertising platform, bringing in US$43bn+ a year. And because the platform is so well known for consumer-focused brands – fashion, food, travel, celebrity, human Influencers – ads are more accepted than on some social sites; they’re seen as part of the fabric. And that’s where an AI chatbot - such as CM.com’s - can really perform for your marketing and service teams.
One chatbot integrates with every social channel
Adding more channels carries a complication. Choose the wrong SaaS platform to add chatbot functionality to a channel, and you might find yourself managing as many chatbots as channels—hardly an efficient solution.
So, let’s state this upfront: when you add CM.com’s chatbot with AI to a messaging channel, you don’t need to create a separate chatbot for each one. It’s one chatbot with many channels – each channel simply integrates into the AI-enabled chatbot.
This makes a consistent user experience much easier. No matter what channel your customers interact on, they get the same natural-language answers and access to the same resources and knowledge. There’s no necessity to switch to other apps or visit your website; the conversation happens within Instagram, the channel they’re using at the moment they want to talk.
Getting more from Instagram Messaging with a CM.com chatbot
It’s vital to use each channel as a channel, not simply an expanded audience - many of your customers will be on other channels too. So make sure you learn the customs and culture of Instagram and the types of queries and information customers are interested in; it’ll make your ROI much higher. Some things to consider:
Only 0.1% of Instagram users are unique to the channel. So don’t just duplicate your standard knowledge base on Instagram DM for Business: work out what appeals most to the mindset of consumers on it. That means more images, more videos, more exciting experiences.
Instagram is about leisure, perhaps more than any other social platform. So aim to bring the fun into your communications. If you have consumer events, brand activations, or new product announcements, an Instagram DM may be the perfect way to tell the world about them.
Tailor alerts and announcements to the content they’re consuming. A sudden sales pitch can sound jarring, so always keep your messages relevant and in context with what the customer wants to know – perhaps by referring to a picture or video recently posted.
60% of Instagram users are under 35; be mindful of the demographic and answer their expectations of the channel. Reels and Stories are part of Instagram’s DNA; users expect events to unfold over time, not just one-off transactional interactions, So your communications should do the same.
Instagram has a good gender balance, at roughly 50:50 male to female. It’s a young, trend-aware, and fashion-conscious audience – so make sure your products are a good fit. It’s probably not the place to plug industrial machine replacement parts.
As with Facebook Messenger, reach out to consumers with alerts and notifications where possible. Maintain the sense of fun: birthday reminders, interesting polls, and customer surveys are possibilities. Look to build a relationship, not just answer a question.
In case it wasn’t obvious, don’t forget the most basic customer contact rule of all: always provide a human option. If a customer asks to escalate the conversation to a real person, make that easy. With CM.com, the human CSA can simply enter the Instagram message thread, making the experience seamless.
As we’ve seen, with attention to the right details and awareness of branding, Instagram DMs for Business offers a great way to offer customer contact and service to a very engaged audience – and by integrating this channel into the same chatbot as your other channels, management becomes a lot easier, too. That’s what CM.com’s AI chatbot integration for Instagram delivers.
Integrate chatbots with Instagram Messaging via CM.com
By embracing chatbots with Instagram integration, you can automate interactions at key moments in the customer journey, continue the conversation on the channel the customer prefers, and maximise the positive feelings that lead to a sale – and do it 24/7/365. Why not get started today? Talk to us at CM.com about integrating our chatbot into your sales, marketing and customer service plans.