The question was like, she was saying that she can tell, especially in stories, when things are resonating because she'll get a lot of DMs about it and she can tell when things aren't resonating because she doesn't get any DMs. I will say that DMs and how many messages influencers receive off their stories is a metric that we track in our campaigns and for the same reason, if there's a lot of DMs, we think that's a super highly engaged post. People are asking questions or commenting on it. That's something we definitely pay attention to. You should be looking at your DMs as a metric to understand how engaged your audience is in your Insta stories specifically.
Now, should you answer them? I think the concern is obviously, as you grow, it gets really, really difficult to answer them. It's a conversation we were having with Grace. She said she struggled-- She wanted to answer all of her DMs. It was already a lot with 100,000 followers and sometimes she had to take breaks. Personally, I don't really understand influencers, especially bigger influencers who still feel like they need to be answering all of their DMs.
If your DMs are like the firstname.lastname@example.org email address, nobody would expect the CEO of a company to be answering the general info at address. If you train people effectively to speak in your voice, if you teach them the responses that you would give and if you give them a way to escalate things that they feel do need to be personally answered by you, then I don't understand why you would feel the need to answer all of your DMs. The experience for your audience is going to be exactly the same.
They're going to have a question. That question is going to be answered. I think that the audience doesn't get a huge amount of benefit from you personally answering the DMs or more often than not, not answering them because you're too busy, and you end up feeling a lot of guilt and stress that you should be answering these DMs and you're not. For me, if this was my business and my job, I would make it a point to answer every DM that was a question. When that felt like it was not worth my time, I would have somebody help me do that and make sure that you're still involved in it, that you're seeing reports on the kinds of questions that are being answered. Again, if there's anything that is a brand or something that you should be paying attention to or a question that the person who's helping you doesn't know that they're escalating that to you, but I wouldn't feel the pressure to answer every DM on your own. It's not scalable, it's impossible, so why do it.
I do think if you had people helping you, it is potentially a way to really make that audience feel connected to you and feel like you really do care and you're putting in the effort. I do think it is a way to build a deeper relationship with that audience. If you're going to have someone else answer your DMs, how do you balance that? I think you could tell your audience. You could say, "Hey, I have someone that helps out with the DMs." Most of the DMs I assume are questions about the product and about, "I'm looking for this, I'm looking for that, who made that dress? Who makes those shoes?"
It does not matter who answers that. I don't see a situation where you run into a follower and they're like, "Oh, my God, we've been like having a DM conversation for years." You're like, "What? I don't answer my DMs." "What?" Even if someone is helping you out with DMs, it's not like you don't have the phone and that you're not on top of this stuff. I've seen also back in the glory days when we had a sane president who didn't take to his own Twitter account that much. I think when he had a tweet, he would put Barack at the end to let you know that he actually wrote it, not somebody from his staff. I do that sometimes on the Four account. If I'm going through one night and I'm answering DMs, I'll put JN or James just to be like, "Hey, this is me who's talking."
You could do that. The ones you personally answer, you could say that. Again, I think that if the audience's goal is to get an answer, then it's enough to get an answer, and if you think of what you're doing as a business, then that business needs to scale. Nobody could expect that you'd be answering all those DMs. It's just not a good use of your time. I really believe that, for the audience, it's a much better experience to know that I can send you a message and within a couple of hours get an actual answer rather than never get an answer.
You can see how it feels shitty to send someone a message, especially a thoughtful one with a question and then just not get it answered. The problem is Instagram, it's not like a normal email inbox, obviously, it's difficult to manage a huge volume of messages whereas, again, in an email you can have filters, you can sit on the plane for two hours and bang out 400 emails really easily. There are ways to get through big volumes of messages on emails but there's really not on Instagram.
I think it's just on you to train that person effectively. You write the responses. Again, if that person is working for you, they should know your tone of voice, how you talk about things. Again, this is why brands have brand guidelines. The person who is tweeting for a brand, they're speaking in that brand's voice. They had to be trained to know what is that voice. Do they use exclamation points or not? Do they sign off with an XO or do they not? Do they use emojis or not? This is all goes into what a brand is. It would be pretty easy to train someone to answer questions the way you do and then, again, just make sure they have a way to escalate things, and say, "Hey, if you get a chance today, there's five messages in your DM inbox that I feel like would be worth you answering."
I understand there's probably some complexities there because someone else is in your account, which I think makes people nervous rightly so. They're speaking on your behalf, which can make you nervous. If you would be nervous about that, I would argue that maybe that employee isn't the right person for you. Sometimes when there are big complicated things to do, we distract ourselves with small simple things to do. While you should be out emailing brands and pitching them a new project, you might say, "Well, I've got two hours of DMS to answer. I'll do that instead because that's easy and I don't get rejected. That's something I know how to do."
In running any business you constantly have to be growing out of the things that you're doing and growing into new things and then finding capable people to take over the things that you left behind. I read that John D. Rockefeller book Titan, which if you ever want to read a 900-page book on John D. Rockefeller, it was excellent. At Standard Oil, they would say, "The day you got hired you should be trying to get out of that job as soon as humanly possible and get the next job and have someone else take your job." It was just constantly about growth and constantly about figuring out a way to operate at a higher level and have someone else do those other things. I wouldn't get caught up too much in the minutia of answering 200 DMs a day. It's not worth your time.
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