Instagram, Twitter Direct Image Messaging Brings Opportunity for SMBs

As social media channels continue to pile on new features that make them act more like one another, the capabilities that once differentiated these tools are becoming less and less unique.  The latest bit of “feature-creep”-  as Roundarch Isobar’s Tim Dunn calls it – to take place is the recent introduction of direct image messaging on both Twitter and Instagram.

Instagram Direct allows users to send photos directly to people that follow them and Twitter now lets users send images via mobile direct messages.  With these recent updates, SMBs have a new way to connect and engage with their followers.  These images have the ability to tell a more personalized and direct visual story while building brand and product awareness.

Given the limited reach of these messages, targeting the best customers in conjunction with some sort of loyalty program may help maximize customer engagement. Similarly, listening to followers may uncover an opportunity to directly promote or inform of a product or service to a specific follower.  Once a targeting approach is defined, here are a few ways SMBs can use direct image messaging to drive consumer actions:

  1. New Products: Before making a new product available to all customers, SMBs can give specific followers the feeling of exclusivity by messaging a “sneak peak” photo of a new product that just arrived while making it available just to them.
  2. Coupon Codes: SMBs can give followers a reason to visit their store by sending a picture of a coupon for an in-store discount that expires that day.
  3. Sales and Promotions: Instead of just telling consumers about a sale, now SMBs can show them by sending pictures of the specific products and services that are on sale.
  4. Greetings: Create specific picture messages for special occasions, holidays, birthdays, etc.

Just like any other form of marketing, there needs to be boundaries and limits to the amount of messages that SMBs send. Overdo it and followers are sure to stop following.  With a thoughtful content schedule and targeting strategy, these new direct image messages are a great way to connect with followers on a more personal level.

See below for a great infographic Tim Dunn and team put together on the increasing levels of feature-creep among social networks:

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