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The Power of DM for Small Business


31 May 2023



The Power of DM for Small Business

Do you remember having to go shopping for clothes, groceries, footwear, accessories, office supplies, electronics and essentials? Over a period of time, the internet has managed to turn that around and bring the store to the people at home. 

From online shopping to cloud kitchens, shopping for almost anything, and everything is only an order away. The demand for instant delivery to an instant response from customer care has made it possible for customers to highlight the perks of choosing to shop from a particular brand. But this is the customer’s benefit. 

How can local businesses use Instagram’s instant messaging feature to expand their customer base further?

What is Instagram DM?

Instagram DM, also known as the Instagram Direct Message, is a free feature through which users can message each other on the social networking platform. Text, photos, links, videos, stories, and posts by other accounts, links to profiles can be shared through a DM. Instagram Direct message has a private and group chat feature. To access the Instagram Direct Messages, go to the homepage and click on the arrow on the top right corner.

“DM for Price” and Instagram Algorithm

If you have scrolled through Instagram business accounts, you might have noticed a particular trend in the comments section. Whenever a potential customer inquires about the price, they receive three simple words – “DM for price”. Have you wondered why? How does it benefit a local business to add another thing to a customer’s to-do list? 

If you think this is done to maintain some secrecy, there’s more to the story.

Think of this instant messaging feature as a Direct Message Marketing or DM Marketing strategy that focuses on using social media DM features to develop relationships and business initiatives privately. The new Instagram algorithm controls the order of the posts that users see while scrolling through their feed.

Based on specific signals, the most relevant posts shoot to the top and are given more visibility than others.

The new algorithm is subject to change, but as a business, here are a few things to pay attention to:

  • If users have had continuous engagement or interactions with your Instagram content, they will be more likely to see your future content. 
  • Relevancy of the post is a score given by Instagram that impacts who sees it in their feed.
  •  Instagram considers content to be high-quality and engaging when it receives lots of likes, comments, saves, shares, DMs, or any other kind of interaction.

The Reason Behind “DM for Price”

Knowledge of how this algorithm works drives small business owners to ask followers to “DM for price” for additional information, price, link to order and other product or order-related inquiries. 

Picture this: you, as a business owner post on Instagram about a new product launch. The post has an image of the product and highlights its features. This is the crucial information minus price. An Instagram user scrolling through likes your post and inquires about the price. You respond, “DM for price”.

These kinds of replies will lead interested customers to the brand’s inbox. This means more traffic in your inbox, more opportunities to build relationships with your followers, and increased quality of the post showing up on their feeds.

Why “DM for Price” Works

  • Increase in the number of comments on your post.
  • Improved ranking on the feed due to the Instagram algorithm.
  • Identify customers keen on making a purchase.
  • Creating a direct lead.
  • This works well for custom-made products.

Why “DM for Price” Might Fail

  • Not trustworthy: Customers might be skeptical of purchasing a business that does not freely disclose the price. Transparency is vital to building trust.
  • High risk of losing potential customers: “DM for price” might interrupt the buying process and kill impulse buying.
  • Time-consuming: Assuming that you or your potential customers are not frequently online, moving the conversation to DM will create a back-and-forth that might be too time-consuming.
  • Annoying: Customers want instant information. This is the whole point of dropping a query in the comments section. 
  • Repetition: Sending the same set of messages over and over to the same Instagrammers.
  • Blocked and reported: Instagram users might block your page, share screenshots of your promotional messages and alert their followers.

To avoid coming across as a spammer, there are a few things to be mindful about while reaching out to potential customers through DM. Try these:

  • Enquire: When a customer sends you a DM to find out the price of a particular product, ask common questions that don’t get too personal. “What is your budget?”, “What is the occasion?”, “how about checking out this category of products?”
  • Appreciation: Someone made a purchase? Ask them to share a picture with or of the product through DM. Re-share the photo (with permission) in your Instagram feed or Story and give the buyer a shoutout for being awesome!
  • Try again: Facing a lot of bad reviews and backlash in the comments section? Take it to the DM. Find out why a customer is upset with you. Clarify their doubts and issues.
  • Promotions and discounts: Keep track of customers who reach out to you often or are regular customers. Send a discount coupon to them as a special gift or offer through DM. 
  • Double-check: Always double-check before sending out the wrong message to the wrong customer. Don’t lose your cool. You are representing a business. Ensure that the account used to respond, follow and communicate with followers is your business account. 

Using DM to Build a Customer Base

Small businesses value personal relationships with their customers. Followers are more likely to trust a brand they can talk to and be heard by. Customers like the feeling of direct contact with their seller as it replaces the personal attention customers are given in a brick-and-mortar store. 


It’s time to get started on re-imaging and re-building the way you communicate on Instagram. Remember to weigh the pros and cons of mentioning the price of products in every post compared to requesting customers to “DM for price”.

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