As any interior designer knows, Instagram is one of the most powerful tools to grow your business. Not only is the ‘gram a way to showcase your latest work, but it’s an opportunity to attract new dream clients and connect with others across the industry.
Curating your feed and posting beautifully branded IG stories are two key components, but equally important is your account engagement. In addition to comments, this means managing your direct messages, aka DMs. As your audience grows and engagement climbs, keeping up with those messages can eat up hours of your day—but it doesn’t have to. With some careful strategy (think templated responses) in place, we’re sharing our best tips for managing Instagram DMs by working smarter, not harder.
Over at IDCO Studio, we are huge believers in batch scheduling throughout your work week. This applies to tackling emails, ordering, sourcing, client consults, and (you guessed it) social media. We’ve created a collection of client email templates for this very purpose, and your DM inbox is no different.
As a designer, you’ll often receive the same DM questions over and over, which is why setting up Instagram ‘Quick Replies’ is a time-saving move. Start by pinpointing your top FAQs, and set up a shortcut or quick reply to populate your response and eliminate any retyping. Here’s how it works (steps via Instagram):
1. Tap the Quick Reply (three-dot chat bubble) icon on the bottom of your screen. Tap New Quick Reply to write the response you’d like to save.
2. Add the shortcut that you can enter for the response. For instance, you can add the shortcut ‘hours’ for the response, ‘Our business hours are 9 am – 5 pm on weekdays and 10 am – 6 pm on weekends.’
3. If you have previously answered a frequently asked question, you can also save your response as a Quick Reply. Open the message thread where you’ve previously answered a frequently asked question. Tap and hold the message you want to save — you can edit the response and shortcut before saving it.
4. Once you add a response to your Quick Replies, you can just add it the next time you get a frequently asked question. Tap the Quick Reply (three-dot chat bubble) icon on the bottom of your screen and choose from one of the responses you’ve integrated, or type the shortcut for the Quick Reply you want to use.
When efficiency is the name of the game, templated shortcuts are a busy designer’s best friend.
As your work day gets busy and the messages pile up, it’s tempting to let your DMs sit unattended. But here’s the thing: account engagement via direct message is really important to the Instagram algorithm for growing your following. Plus, whenever someone takes the time to engage with your content, neglecting to respond is not a good look for your brand.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours a day messaging on your phone. Simply find a consistent time that works best for you or an employee responding on behalf of your business. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or while dinner is cooking on the stove, make a commitment to respond to messages on a daily basis.
We’re all about productivity hacks, and that’s especially true with social media management. Typing on your phone can often feel tedious, especially when you’re replying to multiple DMs. Instead, try taking the work session to your desktop. First, you’ll need to make sure your business Facebook page is connected to your Instagram account. From there, follow these easy steps and save hours hunched over a phone.
For further reading: Work from Home Productivity Hacks
Whether it’s from a real-life acquaintance or online follower, you’ve probably received DM requests for advice on paint colors, furniture sourcing, renovation ideas, and more. But it’s important to remember that communicating with your Instagram audience doesn’t mean giving design consults away for free. Instead, respond with a ‘simple thanks for reaching out’ while also encouraging the commenter to submit a design inquiry on your website to learn more. Bonus: set this response up as a quick reply (see above) to save time in the process.
For further reading: Why You Should Be Charging for Design Consultations
Managing Instagram DMs works best for quick moments of connection. But when it comes to new client inquiries or more involved conversations, it’s always best to move those threads to your email inbox. Communicating from your business email sets a more professional tone and allows you to send additional resources like an investment guide or welcome packet to those interested in your work. While utilizing DMs is a great way to foster IG engagement, don’t let it be your primary means of client communication.
For more tips for elevating your interior design or lifestyle brand, check out these posts:
IDCO Studio is a full-service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help brands built around beautiful living elevate their digital presence to represent the physical spaces they design. Our recently launched limited-release website templates are the perfect way for interior designers to get a luxury website on a budget. These templates allow designers to maintain control of their content. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.