Get All Access for $5/mo

How to Send a Networking DM on Instagram That Works Instagram may still be the best platform to slide into DMs.

By Jesty Beatz Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

NurPhoto | Getty Images

When it comes to networking online, recently, LinkedIn has been the dominant platform. While it's a great place for people to connect, it isn't always suited to reflect the nuanced and organic networking needs of smaller entrepreneurs. Some Facebook Messenger users still have the "secret inbox" where unsolicited messages go to die, and TikTok only allows DM's from people who are already followers. But Instagram's latest message filtering system actually increases the chance that your message will be read. Here are some tips for maximizing Instagram for networking opportunities.

1. Make sure your profile is up to date

Think of it this way. What do you do when someone sends you a friend request? You poke around their profile to figure out who they are. Your recipient will do the exact same thing. So first take a good look at your profile and ask yourself if that is how you want to be represented to whoever you are trying to network with. Make sure your profile has all the info necessary for someone to briefly stalk you online like your bio, city, and occupation. With our attention spans getting shorter and shorter, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to get a feel for who you are. Therefore everything you want them to know should be readily available. Having a well-written, detailed profile will help legitimize you before hitting that send button.

Related: How To Use Instagram For Your Business


2. Curate your profile with the recipient in mind

Treat your profile like your portfolio. What's the first thing that you want your recipient to see? Whatever it is, you have to put that right on top. For a lot of people, this means deleting or completely reorganizing posts in their Instagram profile. The idea here is to spare them from having to scroll through your feed to figure out who you are and what services you offer. Therefore your top row should accomplish three things: provide context to the nature of your work, establish authority in your work, and show social proof.

3. You need to put in the work first

Before you reach out with a direct message, first you need to establish a relationship so that your message doesn't come across as spam. Spend some time researching people who you admire and would like to form a working relationship with. Follow them for a few days. Like their content, comment on posts, and add to the discussion. By contributing meaningful and insightful observations, your name and profile will stick out above the noise of other people who may be trying to network with them. Keep up the engagement until they start to interact with your likes and comments. This way when you do reach out with a DM, you are more likely to get a response.

4. Pitch etiquette

Make your message short and concise. It's easy to get lost in pleasantries and flattery, so for the sake of brevity just mention who you are, what you offer, and then end with an open invitation for a conversation. Something like "Hey [recipient], I'm also a [occupation] who does [service]. Let me know if you would be interested in [offer.]" Make it sound personal and not like something you copy and paste all the time. Then comes perhaps the hardest part: waiting. When you don't get a response within a day or two it will be tempting to send a follow-up message, but just have patience. Give it at least a week before sending another message. If you never get a response, don't sulk. Just use Instagram's "unsend" feature, and repeat the process.


Jesty Beatz

CEO of Holy Mattress Money

Jesty Beatz is the founder of Holy Mattress Money. Currently, he serves as CEO of Declared Major, a content agency that handles full-range production for a variety of A-list projects. From the subtle detail to the most bombastic theme — Jesty makes sure brands are heard loud and clear. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Growing a Business

How to Determine The Ideal Length of Your Marketing Emails Your Customers Will Actually Read

Wondering how long your marketing emails should be? Here's what consumers say — so you can send them exactly what they like.

Leadership

Tech Overload Will Destroy Your Customer Relationships. Are You Guilty of Using Too Much Tech?

Technology's value in our world is undeniable. However, there can be a point where it is ineffective and possibly counterproductive. See where it can negatively impact your product, brand, and business.

Management

Most Gen Z Workers Want This One Thing From Their Employer. Are You Providing It?

Millions of college graduates are entering the workforce, and many feel unprepared. Here's the one thing they're looking for from potential employers — and how providing it will benefit you and your business in the long run.

Making a Change

Get a Lifetime of Babbel Language Learning for Just $150 Through June 17

Learn up to 14 languages over the course of a lifetime, with bite-size lessons, personalized reviews, and speech recognition tech.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."