How to Send a Direct Message to a Private Account on Instagram

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Want to make a connection or start a conversation with someone who has a private Instagram account? Sending them a direct message is a great way to break the ice.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through the step-by-step process for direct messaging (DMing) any private Instagram account you want to reach.

I‘ve been an avid Instagrammer for over 5 years now. With a background in social media marketing and a fascination for technology, I‘ve learned all the tips and tricks for optimizing your Instagram messaging strategy.

So whether you are trying to connect with an influencer, contact a brand, or just chat with a friend who has a private profile, this guide has you covered. Let‘s get started!

Why Message a Private Account on Instagram?

Messaging private accounts serves many purposes beyond just casual chat with friends. Here are some of the top reasons you may need to send a direct message to a private Instagram account:

Business Networking

Instagram has become a major platform for business networking and partnership opportunities. You can make some great connections by messaging:

  • Brands and companies
  • Influencers and creators
  • Potential sponsors or affiliates
  • Industry experts and thought leaders

A personalized DM introducing yourself and your business is often appreciated. Just be sure to keep it professional.

According to Instagram marketing firm Webfluential, 68% of users have made a purchase decision based on an influencer recommendation. So messaging the right accounts could drive serious value.

Job and College Recruiting

Many employers and universities now leverage Instagram to promote openings and recruit applicants. Direct messaging them shows initiative and interest.

You can ask about:

  • Application status
  • Job requirements
  • Company culture
  • College campus life

With national unemployment recently around 3.7%, the job market is increasingly competitive. Messaging recruiters gives you a leg up.

Event Planning

Event hosts frequently use private Instagram accounts to coordinate vendors, venues, RSVPs and more while maintaining privacy. As an attendee or vendor, you may need to DM them logistical questions.

Common events planned via private Instagram include:

  • Weddings
  • Conferences
  • Reunions
  • Parties or fundraisers

I‘ve even seen private accounts used for local youth sports team communications among coaches and parents.

Personal Reasons

Beyond business or events, you may need to message a private account for personal reasons like:

  • Reconnecting with old friends
  • Following up on a previous conversation
  • Checking in on someone

I often DM former colleagues to catch up on the latest news and stay networked.

So in summary, here are some of the top reasons for messaging private Instagram accounts:

  • Business networking and partnerships
  • Job and college recruiting
  • Event planning and coordination
  • Personal communications

Don‘t let a private profile deter you from making worthwhile connections on Instagram.

Limitations of Messaging Private Accounts

While you can message any private account just like a public profile, there are some limitations to keep in mind:

No Guarantee of Response

There is no obligation for private accounts to reply to your message. They get lots of DMs from random people daily. Yours may go unnoticed in the mix.

According to social media management platform HootSuite, Instragram accounts with over 1 million followers receive an average of over 2,500 messages per day!

So manage expectations appropriately when messaging very popular private accounts.

Higher Risk of Being Blocked

Because they tend to be more selective, private accounts are quicker to block users who send unwanted messages.

I once had a client blocked simply for sending a DM pitching his services to an influencer who already worked with a competitor. Don‘t make the same mistake!

Restrictions from Instagram

If you message too many different accounts in rapid succession, Instagram may detect this as spam behavior. They will temporarily restrict your ability to message until the suspicious activity stops.

This has happened to me before when I did some overly-eager outreach to promote a new product. Pace yourself or use an Instagram automation tool that drip sends your messages.

So in summary, here are the key limitations to keep in mind when messaging private Instagram accounts:

  • No guarantee of a response
  • Higher risk of being blocked
  • Messaging restrictions from Instagram

But don‘t let these stop you from reaching out thoughtfully to accounts that matter. Just be patient, personal and avoid spamming.

Step-by-Step Guide to Messaging a Private Account

Ready to send that first DM to a private profile? Here is the full playbook:

Step 1: Locate the Private Account Profile

Start by navigating to the profile page of the private account you want to message.

Use Instagram‘s search bar or find them through hashtags or other posts.

Once on their profile, you can confirm it is private by looking for the locked padlock icon next to their username:

Private account icon on Instagram

This icon signifies a private profile visible only to approved followers.

Step 2: Tap the Menu Icon

Up in the top right corner of a profile is the menu icon – it looks like three horizontal dots:

Menu icon on Instagram

Go ahead and tap on this menu icon to open up the profile options.

Step 3: Select ‘Message‘

This will open a menu overlay with various choices like Follow, Share Profile, etc.

We want the ‘Message’ option at the bottom:

Message option on Instagram menu

Tap on ‘Message’ to open up a DM window with the account.

Step 4: Compose Your Message

You should now see the Instagram Direct messaging window open with the private account on the recipient line.

Go ahead and take a few minutes to draft a personalized message. Say who you are, why you are reaching out, and leave them with a question to answer.

Here‘s an example DM template you can tweak:

Hi [name], my name is [your name] and I am a [your role] at [company]. I came across your profile and am very impressed with your work creating [type of content they make]. I have some ideas I think could make for an interesting collaboration. Would you be open to discussing partnership opportunities? Let me know, thanks!

Get creative and speak to their particular interests that you share.

Step 5: Send the Message

Once you‘ve drafted your message, hit send! It will be immediately delivered to the private account‘s DM inbox.

And that‘s all there is to it. With these steps you can now directly message any private Instagram account.

Best Practices for Messaging Private Accounts

Now that you know how to message private Instagram accounts, let‘s look at some proven best practices to get better results:

Personalize the Message

Generic DMs sent en masse tend to be ignored. The best way to stand out? Personalization.

  • Read their bio – Get a sense of who they are and what they care about. Work this into your message.

  • Mention common ground – Highlight any interests, locations, or connections you share to build rapport.

  • Use their name – People love the sound of their own name. Address them directly.

Keep it Short

You only have a few seconds to capture attention. Get right to the point.

  • State who you are and why you are messaging in the first 1-2 sentences.

  • Resist sending long paragraphs. Privilege clarity over completeness.

  • Ask to continue the conversation offline if more discussion is needed.

Make it a Conversation Starter

Give them a reason to reply by asking an open-ended question:

  • "What did you think of…"

  • "How are you finding…"

  • "Would you be open to…"

  • "Any tips for someone just starting out with…"

Pose a thought-provoking question that moves the dialogue forward.

Follow Where Possible

Does the private account have an option to request to follow them? If so, use it!

Following each other allows more comfortable messaging and building of trust over time.

Be Patient

Understand that people don‘t live on Instagram. Allow a reasonable amount of time for a response before following up.

  • 1-3 days for individuals
  • 1 week for brands/companies

Everyone has different response rates so adjust expectations accordingly.

Comparing Messaging Private vs. Public Accounts

Messaging public Instagram accounts has some differences compared to private ones:

Public Accounts Private Accounts
Finding Message Button Available on profile Only in menu
Need to Follow No No
Gets Message Requests Yes No
Gets Notified Yes Yes
Can Reply Yes Yes
Can View Your Profile Yes Only if you follow each other

The key distinction is that public accounts have open messaging enabled by default on their profile. Private accounts require the extra menu click to access messaging.

Both account types can receive, read, and reply to your messages though. So the only real difference is how you initially access the DM screen.

Instagram Messaging – FAQs and Troubleshooting

Beyond just messaging private profiles, there are lots of other questions around Instagram messaging in general:

Can You Tell if Someone Reads Your DM?

For public accounts, yes – you‘ll see if your message is read or ignored. But for private accounts, read receipts are not available.

Can You Message Without Following?

Yes, you don‘t need to follow someone first in order to message them, regardless of whether their account is public or private.

Can You DM if Messaging Privileges Are Revoked?

If Instagram disables your ability to message due to violations, you cannot send DMs until privileges are restored.

Can You Get Blocked for Messaging Too Much?

Absolutely. Mass messaging or repeatedly messaging the same account may get you blocked. Tread carefully.

What Happens When You Message a Deactivated Account?

Your message will fail to send and Instagram will show an error that the account does not exist.

Can You Recover Deleted Message Threads?

Unfortunately no. Once a DM conversation is deleted by either party, it is gone forever with no way to retrieve it.

How Do I Know If I‘m Messaging an Official Instagram Account?

Look for the verified badge next to the account name. This confirms it is the real brand or public figure on Instagram.

Why Are Some Accounts Not Able to Receive DMs?

Accounts with a high volume of messages like celebrities may disable messaging capabilities for logistical reasons.

What Are Instagram Message Requests?

Public accounts (not private) may receive message requests from users they don‘t follow. They must approve the request before the DM is visible.

Final Thoughts

And that covers everything you need to know about direct messaging private Instagram accounts!

The process is simple once you know how the messaging menu works.

Remember to personalize your DM, keep it brief, and follow best practices. With the right approach, you can connect with all sorts of amazing private accounts and individuals.

I hope you found this guide helpful as you network and communicate on Instagram. Happy messaging!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.