The Art of the Direct Message

How to use Direct messagesThe Art of the Direct Message

The ability to Direct Message followers is quickly being added to almost every major Social Network. Facebook and Twitter were the first and now Instagram and Google + are allowing direct messages and e-mails to be sent to your followers and circles. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.


Though Facebook messaging has been around a long time, they have prevented sending direct messages (DMs) to anyone outside of your friends list without paying. Facebook sends DMs to the “Other” inbox that just so happens to be hidden in the messages tab. You’ll have to pay Facebook $1 to send a message to a stranger or a Facbook follower. $1 is a small price to pay but if you don’t pay your DM most certainly won’t be seen by a casual Facebook user.

We advise using Facebook Messaging to contact contest winners as well as contact both positive and negative reviews. Paying the $1 to send a message goes a long way to customers.


Twitter DMs have been used and abused by spam bots and business trying to get you to “follow them on Facebook” or automatically “Thank” members for a follow. Please do not be one of those companies that sets up an instant DM for followers. If you are guilty of this you are telling your following that they are not worth real interaction and that your Twitter feed is full of advertising for your business. You will soon be unfollowed or ignored.

What you need to do is nurture relationships with @ mentions and the use DMs to contact customers who have asked specific questions, ask for contact information and thank followers for a review or great @mention.


Instagram has created a DM system so that businesses can send photos directly to followers With this being a relatively new aspect bots have not yet ruined it.

Use it to push contests and thank people for the following your business with a funny picture or coupon. The opportunity should not be abused and if it is not worth sharing don’t do it. Coupons for follows are a double edged sword but could work during the early stages of Instagram’s DM system just remember not to spam your followers. Remember, now is the time that people are interested to see a new DM alert on Instagram, which won’t always be the case.


Google + now allows members to e-mail their followers and circles through directly through Google+. This is great for people looking to network and those looking to reach out to those that are strongly integrated on Google +. These features will also help growth on Google + much like networking through Linkedin. More users will join to make connections and grow networking opportunities. We ask you once again not to spam followers with pushes to “buy” your product. Social is a friendly industry and being able to e-mail people with content or about content is a great opportunity to help your business and G+ network grow.

Users most “opt-out” to not receive e-mails from other Google+members so if you don’t want random members e-mailing you make sure to opt-out.

I would love to hear how you or your clients have utilized Direct Messaging in their Social campaigns please share your thoughts in the comments below.


Justin Smith (@FlyingSmitty) has worked in Marketing, PR and Social Media for over 5 years. He has worked with Several Agencies and current is the Director of Communications for and He advises several websites on their Social Media Marketing Campaigns and continually seeks opportunities in App Development and Small Business Strategies. Justin has lived in the United States, South Korea and currently resides in Ibiza, Spain.


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