Sliding Into DMs On Instagram

Written by Zach Grossfeld

Sending a DM can be intimidating. It’s a chance to shoot your shot. The DM can be an incredibly valuable asset in both the personal and business world. What’s the recipe for a great DM? How do you capture someone’s attention who you’ve never met before? Here’s some tried and true advice from an experienced DMer:


So how do you effectively slide into a DM?

According to Yo Gotti, it all “goes down” there, right?

If you’re like me, you’ve awkwardly slid in and have come up empty on many occasions.

Over my years of subpar DMing, here are some direct message best practices on Instagram that have served me well with both personal and business connections: 

No “perfect” way to DM exists.

Only “your” way exists.

Don’t follow a formula.

Each recipient differs and demands individual attention. Are you trying to get in contact with a more significant, even verified account?

They receive hundreds of messages per day. Make yours stand out. Do research on this person, stalk their friends for a reference, comb through related accounts. 

I’ve gotten prominent music artists, entrepreneurs, and others to respond over a direct message by honing in on specific details. Did this person recently receive an award, drop an album, start a new project? Bring this up in the message, and don’t ask for something right off the bat. Work the request into the conversation after the initial reply.

Think of how warm you feel when someone acknowledges a recent accomplishment of yours. If a request follows the acknowledgment, the recipient questions the sincerity of the initial message. 

Though, in my experience, one type of request if received positively: asking to “pick someone’s brain” or learn from someone else’s expertise. People love talking about themselves.

Often, I ask to pick someone’s brain over lunch or a drink.

Avoid big asks like interview requests, tickets, or other commodities. Approach the interaction as a student willing to serve. Ask yourself:

What can I learn from this person? 

How can I be of service to them?

If you want to get someone’s attention, be willing to learn, and serve them before they help you. This mindset will go a long way towards building long term relationships beyond the initial message. 

Respond to an IG Story.

Responding to a story works exceptionally well when reaching out for dates or meetups.

For me, I’ll search through the explore page around NYC and follow girls that pique my interest. 

Rather than cold DM, I wait for them to post a story and comment on it. An IG story provides material for the DM, and a clever DM builds a bridge between you and that girl. 

For example, if she posts a story drinking a coffee, say something along the lines of “Who told you about my favorite coffee shop?”

It builds rapport over a shared interest and feels like you are responding to her. Cold DM’s will rot in the unread message bank.


Keep it short.

Just like texts, no one likes receiving a paragraph.

The sight of one causes you to cringe.

Keep it concise, two to three sentences max, and be direct. Crafting straightforward text is attractive to both romantic and business interests. Clear messaging portrays that you know what you want and how you want it. 

Avoid speech like:

I guess…

I was thinking…

I’m not sure how to ask this but…

If it’s okay with you…

Believe me, if it’s not okay with them, they’ll let you know.

Here’s an example of a clear, direct message:

Hi Mike, I caught your Woodstock photo exhibition last Saturday, and it changed my perspective. I’ve never that side before of artists like Jimi Hendrix and Santana. I’d love to grab a coffee to pick your brain sometime next week. 

A clear message, specific feedback, and you brought in the possibility of a potential meetup. Ball’s in Mike’s court. 

Creativity is King

The more creative the response, the higher the chance of a reply.

People in high demand receive thousands of similar messages. Be different. Most people are too lazy or lack the skill to craft a witty message.

If you have a high creative capacity, use this gift to your advantage. 

Have confidence in your creativity.

Send the message and let it sit. Don’t second guess. The response is out of your control.

As a recap: don’t chase the perfect DM, respond to an IG Story if you can, keep it short, and be creative. 

Getting responses is a skill, so don’t be discouraged by the lack of replies.

I’ve sent out thousands of DMs, emails, and Facebook messages, many of which invite the cold shoulder. Keep crafting positive messages and working to find your voice.

As always, it goes down in the DMs.