Instagram DM automation: the ultimate guide

Sep 15, 2021
min read
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Answering Instagram DM’s on our phones may feel like a lifetime ago, but it’s actually just been a short while. The release of the Instagram Messaging API back in June, made it possible for businesses to finally manage all Instagram communication in one platform. This not only makes our lives a lot easier, it also leaves room for Instagram DM automation. Automation helps you and your customer service team to work more efficiently, ensure a consistent tone of voice, and save valuable time. Plenty of reasons to automate the busy work, right? Let's dive in.

Instagram DM automation

In this blog you’ll learn:

  • The benefits of Instagram DM automation
  • The different ways of Instagram DM automation
  • How to automate Instagram DM's with auto replies
  • How to automate Instagram DM's with quick replies
  • How to automate Instagram DM's with rules
  • And lastly: how to automate Instagram DM's with chatbots.

The benefits of Instagram DM automation

You may wonder what Instagram DM automation can do for your business. Sure you’re doing fine now, answering every DM personally. That’s what your customer service team is for, right? But what if you receive hundreds of Instagram DM’s each week? It’s no fun anymore. Especially if a lot of similar messages pop into your DM’s. Think about promotion codes, returns, or shipping costs. Instagram DM automation makes answering messages a whole lot easier. It makes sure you and your team:

  • Work more efficiently. You only have to set up the automation once. After that, you don't have to spend any time answering repetitive questions.
  • Keep the same tone of voice. If you automate your communication, you are guaranteed a solid tone of voice. So every member of your team shares the message in a similar way with your customers.
  • Save time. If you work more efficiently and you keep the same tone of voice without even trying, you save yourself and your customer service team valuable time.

The different ways of Instagram DM automation

There are several ways to automate your Instagram communication. You can use:

  • Auto replies
  • Quick replies
  • Rules
  • Chatbots

Each one has its own benefits. Maybe you want to use just one, or maybe you want to use all. In the next paragraphs, we’ll dive into each of these scenarios.

auto replies

How to automate Instagram DM’s with auto replies

If a customer reaches out to you on Instagram, they’re not planning to sit around and wait. They want an answer within minutes. If they don’t get it, they might go after one of your competitors. However, it’s not always possible to answer customers immediately, think about outside of business hours or holidays. With auto replies, you can let customers know exactly when you’re getting back to them.

Instagram doesn’t allow you to set auto replies in the app, so you need a customer service platform —like Trengo— to help you do it. In Trengo, you can manage all your Instagram communication, together with your other channels, in one view.

Here’s how you can set up an auto reply in Trengo:

  1. Go to your settings >automation >auto replies
  2. Click on the green + sign
  3. Fill in the message you want to send during opening hours
  4. Fill in the message you want to send outside of openings hours or holidays
  5. Decide on which days you want your auto replies to be sent (for instance, you could decide to only activate it during the weekend)
  6. Hit the save button.

Do you want more inspiration on how to write a good Instagram DM auto reply? Check out this article.

How to automate Instagram DM’s with quick replies

Auto replies definitely come in handy, but they don’t help you to answer repetitive questions. And answering repetitive questions can become time-consuming. I mean, another question about shipping costs, delivery, or returns? It’s a waste of time to type the same message over and over again. Instagram DM quick replies help you to not only reply faster, but also maintain the same tone of voice in every message.

On top of that, you never send the wrong information or make an accidental typo in the shipping costs. You can set up Instagram DM quick replies in your Instagram business account. You can do this as follows:

  1. Go to your direct messages
  2. Click on the ‘quick reply’ icon (the little chat bubble with three dots in the bottom right corner)
  3. Next, tap ‘New Quick Reply’
  4. Here, you can write down your first quick reply
  5. In the ‘Shortcut’ field, write down a shortcut. This will trigger the quick reply later on.

Are you ready to start typing your own quick replies? Keep in mind communication on Instagram has to be short and sweet. If you need any inspiration, here you can find 15 Instagram quick reply examples.

How to automate Instagram DM’s with rules

Other than quick replies or auto replies, you can use rules to make sure questions automatically end up with the right person or team. You no longer need to manually tag, assign or drag messages into the right pile or to the right person. This way you organize your inbox, without any effort.

color coded

Rules consist of a condition that triggers a specific action. You can see it like this: if you automatically add the label "return" to an email about returns, the email will be assigned to Lisa, who’s in charge of all the returns. So Lisa doesn't have to go through the inbox to find emails that are relevant to her, she automatically gets them.

Instagram doesn’t allow you to set up rules in the app, but you can set up rules in Trengo. Trengo can recognize subject lines, email addresses, contact names, and more. So your inbox automatically stays organized and every message gets the right label.

Tip: besides incoming questions, you can also use rules to automatically send a CSAT survey to customers after their purchase. In this blog, you’ll learn how to set up rules.

How to automate Instagram DM’s with chatbots

The last way to automate your Instagram DM’s are chatbots. A chatbot doesn’t just send out a quick reply or auto reply, it actively participates in the conversation. Chatbots improve your responsive time —they always work— reduce costs and save your customer service team time.


You can use a chatbot to answer frequently asked questions about opening hours, available products, return policies, or shipping costs. Besides answering questions, a chatbot collects customer information and gathers leads, so you can build a customer profile. And lastly: a chatbot supports queries by using dynamic content. This means a chatbot can support your customers with order information, product issues, and product information.

A chatbot doesn’t just automatically know the answer to a question. You have to educate them. You teach a chatbot to recognize keywords so they can send pre-filled answers. A chatbot may take a little bit more time to set up compared to auto replies or rules, but save you a lot of work. Here you can find how to set up a chatbot in Trengo.

Start your Instagram DM automation today

Instagram DM automation can speed up your customer service, help your team to work more efficiently, and ensure a solid tone of voice. With Trengo you can easily automate all your Instagram communication. On top of that, you can integrate all your other communication channels into the platform.

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