In this article, we show you how the Instagram messaging platform changes with the arrival of the Instagram Direct APIs, what you can do with them and how companies can use them to manage a team dedicated to this client communication channel.
The continued growth of Instagram over time has brought an incredible number of active users every month. The data tells us that there are more than 1 billion users within the Facebook-owned platform.
For this reason, many companies have long since undertaken successful marketing strategies within Instagram, involving influencers and users, made up of posts, hashtags and stories, at relatively low costs.
To understand how Instagram can be an excellent channel for marketing products or services, just think that 90% of users follow at least one company within the platform.
Zuckerberg’s company has therefore studied a way to make life easier for companies that want to expand on Instagram through their APIs, by providing the ability to manage some of the activities on the social network through external platforms dedicated to this purpose.
What changes with the arrival of the Instagram Direct API
Instagram APIs are nothing new, the first ones were in fact released already in 2018, and have now been replaced by the Instagram Graph API version that allow Instagram Professional, Business and Creator users to use external platforms to manage their presence on the social platform.
Moreover, Instagram recently updated its new Instagram Messenger API, to offer businesses new tools to communicate with their users in a more organized way.
Starting from the first, the Instagram Graph APIs allow you to:
1) Post photos and videos: you can manage the publication of content directly from the API, and it allows you to get a list of “likes” that a photo or video has received. Stories are not supported;
2) Capture and manage published photos, videos and stories: it is possible to create containers with Instagram photos/videos to embed, for example on your site, and read the data relating to them through the API;
3) Acquire data on our profile:the APIs allow to obtain information about our account, which can be useful to know with which account we are authenticated or to check the statistics of our profile;
4) Get background information about other Instagram Business users and creators:in the same way it is possible to obtain information from another account, from other companies or from any user;
5) Moderate comments and their responses:with this function you can enable/disable comments relating to Instagram contents, or hide, delete or reply to them;
6) Measure media and profile interactions:for example, to manage who we follow or unfollow, Instagram offers reading methods to check the status of tracking relationships between users;
7) Discover multimedia content with hashtags: hashtags are perhaps the most powerful option for an advertiser, so the API allows you to know information about hashtags such as their total available content, their popularity or allows you to specify a search term within the hashtags;
8) Discover the mentions: it is possible to identify the mentions contained in the photos and videos published within the platform, with the exception of stories and comments.
As for the new Messenger API, however, these will allow large companies to manage Instagram Direct messages more professionally. They will therefore make it possible to organize teams dedicated to responding to chats generated on Instagram through external platforms, such as Callbell.
Some famous brands, such as Adidas, Amaro, Glossier, H&M, MagazineLuiza, Michael Kors, Nars and Sephora have already been involved in beta tests of the Instagram Direct Messanger API to understand the benefits.
The ability to manage large quantities of messages will radically change the way people advertise and communicate on Instagram, placing instant messaging more and more in the foreground, with a view to conversational marketing.
Why use Instagram Direct as a team
The release of the new APIs by Instagram will allow many structured companies to organize real teams dedicated to the most varied activities within the platform.
For example,it will be possible to organize the team in order to manage the publication of content, photos, videos, stories, Reels and IGTV, to increase coverage and engagement, and to be able to increase your followers and your community.
The team will be able to study of statistics through the analytics modules in order to extract interesting insights and reach the target audience more effectively, understand which content or hashtags work best to bring a huge competitive advantage to the brand.
Or, you can create a team dedicated to managing advertising campaigns aimed at increasing brand awareness, increasing interactions with users and advertising your products or services.
Last but not least, among the most important activities that the team can carry out is to manage conversations with the target audience of the brand, and always have a constant interaction with it.
The latter activity is of particular importance if we consider the constantly increasing trend of instant messaging and the willingness of users around the world to get quick answers, wherever they are.
Precisely for this reason, the best use of the Instagram API is to organize a team that can take charge of the chats generated via Direct, to sell or offer customer support.
Find out how you can do this below.
How to sell via Instagram Direct
Instagram can be a very powerful sales tool, especially since it is not strictly necessary to have a website available in order to finalize sales.
What you need to get started is a well-stocked feed of quality content, with clearly visible products, showing their characteristics and peculiarities with care and attention. The product offer must be clear right away, in order to make all the information necessary accessible to your potential customers.
An important aspect to consider is the choice of testimonials for the products or services. It will be sufficient to study an influencer marketing strategy sparingly to ensure that they are effectively communicated by opinion leaders of the sector to which it is addressed.
Creating sponsored campaigns will ensure that the brand acquires traffic and leads much faster. It will be essential to manage the budget and create content that creates a positive impact for the company.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to get your target audience to contact you via Instagram Direct. Below you will find some tips on how to do it:
1) Add a “Send a Message” call to action to sponsored ads text: to ensure that the target of the campaigns contact the brand via Direct. This will increase the chances of receiving a message from potential business customers;
2) Add a “Send a Message” call to action to feed posts and stories: also here in the text, so that the followers of your page can interact with you when they see the published post. A study of the hashtags to use can greatly increase the coverage of posts/stories;
3) Add a widget “click-to-chat” to your website:in this case you will allow your website visitors to land on your Instagram profile and start a conversation via Direct;
4) Invite users who comment to send you a private message:you will have to make sure that those who comment on your posts send you a message, in order to have a more “intimate” interaction with them.
With these techniques it is possible to attract valuable leads that will be oriented towards the purchase of one of your products. Clearly you will need to give them an incentive to contact you via Direct, for example, by offering exclusive discounts.
Once you have received a message from a potential customer, a sales team will be able to give them all the information they need, direct them to the website to finalize the purchase or directly receive the order via chat.
How to use Instagram Direct for customer support
Having a fast means of communication to offer support to your customers is the best way to build a lasting relationship of trust with them. An instant messaging channel like Instagram Direct has all the features to manage customer support effectively.
Through Instagram Direct, your customers or potential customers can request information about your business, products or services or request after-sales assistance, returns or refunds.
It will be enough to provide a team dedicated to the management of support requests, so that they can be managed quickly and thus guarantee the best results for your followers.
In this way your users will always have a point of reference for support requests and can contact you whenever they want without any particular effort. This will greatly increase your brand reputation and reliability.
If your brand works on the international market, however, users may speak different languages. It is therefore very important that your support team is able to satisfy all requests in the languages of the users concerned.
How to start using Instagram Direct as a team
To fully exploit the potential of Instagram and its Direct messaging channel, you will need to know how to best organize a team to manage sales or support requests. Callbell can help you in this regard.
All you have to do is create a free account through this link and connect your Instagram page. In rhis way you can start inviting your sales or support team and manage the conversations generated by Instagram Direct.
Thanks to Callbell you can invite up to a maximum of 100 agents to whom the chats will be allocated in a random and totally automated way. Furthermore, our platform provides a series of functionalities for the organized management of chats.
In fact, with Callbell you can:
1) Add internal notes: the dedicated team will be able to share notes to improve contact management;
2) Add user tag: it is possible to categorize a user so that he/she is more easily recognized by the team;
3) Create a welcome message: you can set up an automatic message that will be sent to the user when the conversation starts;
4) Automatic routing: it allows you to automatically allocate chats to different teams based on the type of request, for example sales or support;
5) Integration of the other main messaging channels: in addition to Instagram Direct it is also possible to integrate Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Telegram;
6)Access the analytics module: all data deriving from chats are available here, which are useful for improving team processes;
7) All this and much more within our platform
If you found this article useful to discover how to use Instagram Direct as a team, don’t forget to leave a comment and share this article! Thanks for reading and see you next time!
About the author: Hello! I am Alan and I am the marketing manager at Callbell, the first communication platform designed to help sales and support teams to collaborate and communicate with customers through direct messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram and (soon) Instagram Direct