Efficiently Handling Instagram DMs: How to Utilize Primary and General Messages on Instagram

By: Ellen Bartolino

Navigating Instagram’s Direct Message (DM) feature has evolved significantly in 2023, especially with the introduction of the primary and general tab. These tabs have redefined how Instagram users manage their inboxes, providing a more organized inbox experience. Whether you’re using a professional account or a personal one, understanding how to effectively utilize these tabs can transform your Instagram messaging strategy.

The primary one is where you’ll find important messages and those from users you frequently interact with. On the other hand, the general tab is ideal for less important or general DMs that you don’t need immediate notifications for. This new feature is only available on professional Instagram accounts, adding a layer of sophistication to inbox management.

In this article, we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty of how to get primary and general DMs, manage your inbox, and make the most out of this new Instagram feature. Whether you’re a seasoned Instagram business owner or new to the platform, this guide will provide everything you need to know about managing your inbox effectively in 2023.

Handling Instagram DMs: How to Utilize Primary and General Messages on Instagram

Understanding Instagram DMs: Primary and General Inboxes

In the ever-evolving world of social media, Instagram has introduced a feature that significantly enhances user experience: the segregation of Direct Messages (DMs) into primary and general tabs. Understanding this feature is crucial for both professional Instagram accounts and regular users looking to keep their inbox organized.

The Role of Primary and General Tabs in Instagram Messaging

The primary tab on Instagram is designed for important messages and interactions with close connections. These messages will trigger a notification, ensuring you don’t miss any critical communication. It’s an ideal place for direct messages on Instagram that you would like to see first or need to get back to later.

In contrast, the general tab serves a different purpose. It’s a space for less urgent messages, ones that you might not need to address immediately. Notifications for messages landing here are typically turned off, helping to reduce unnecessary interruptions. This tab is particularly useful for managing multiple messages that don’t require immediate attention, like those from users who don’t follow you or general DMs on Instagram that aren’t time-sensitive.

As a small business owner, I noticed a significant increase in engagement when I started using Instagram’s General tab for managing promotional DMs. This allowed me to focus on urgent customer inquiries in my Primary inbox, enhancing response times and customer satisfaction.

Navigating Between General and Primary Messages

Switching messages between the two tabs is a straightforward process. To move messages from primary to general or vice versa, simply swipe them into the general or primary as needed. This functionality allows users to maintain an organized inbox that categorizes messages based on their importance or urgency.

For Instagram business users, this feature is a game-changer. It enables them to prioritize customer queries or important collaborations in the primary tab while keeping promotional messages or less urgent inquiries in the general one. As a result, businesses can respond more efficiently to primary messages while keeping their inbox manageable.

In 2023, this inbox management strategy has become an essential part of using Instagram professionally. Whether you’re a large brand, a small business owner, or an influencer, effectively utilizing the primary and general tabs can make a significant difference in how you manage communications and engagement on the platform.

How to Get Primary and General DMs on Instagram

With the introduction of the general and primary tabs in Instagram’s direct messaging, managing conversations has become more streamlined and user-friendly, especially for professional accounts. Let’s explore how you can set up and use these features effectively.

Setting Up General and Primary DMs on Your Instagram Account

To start using the primary and general tabs, you need to have a professional Instagram account. If you haven’t switched to a professional page yet, you can easily do so in the settings. Once you have a professional account, these tabs should automatically appear in your DM section.

To customize the settings for these tabs:

  1. Open the Instagram app and go to your profile.
  2. Tap the three-line icon in the top-right corner and select ‘Settings’.
  3. Go to ‘Privacy’ and then ‘Messages’.
  4. Here, you can adjust your preferences for who lands in your general and primary tabs and decide if you want to receive notifications for unread messages in either one.

You can adjust your preferences for who lands in your general and primary tabs and decide if you want to receive notifications

Moving Messages from Primary to General

Managing your messages is straightforward. To move a message:

  1. Open your DMs and find the conversation you want to move.
  2. Swipe left on the conversation (for iOS) or long-press (for Android).
  3. Select move to general or move to primary, depending on where you want the message to appear.

Remember, messages in the primary tab will send you a notification by default, while those in the general one will not unless you turn them on in settings.

These features provide a more organized inbox, allowing you to prioritize important messages and keep less urgent ones out of the way. Whether you’re managing a busy Instagram business account or simply trying to keep your personal messages in order, these tools are incredibly useful.

The Significance of General Messages on Instagram

The general tab on Instagram offers a unique way to manage your DMs, especially for users with professional profiles. It allows for better organization and prioritization of messages, which is crucial in today’s fast-paced social media environment.

What Do General Messages Mean on Instagram?

General messages on Instagram are those that you categorize as less important or not requiring immediate attention. When a message is moved to the general tab, it indicates that while it’s worth keeping, it doesn’t necessitate an instant response or constant notification interruptions.

This feature is particularly beneficial for Instagram business and professional accounts, where managing a high volume of messages can be challenging. By using this tab, businesses and influencers can filter out promotional messages, casual inquiries, or messages from individuals they don’t frequently interact with, allowing them to focus on important messages in the primary section.

When I switched to a professional IG account, the Primary and General tabs completely changed how I handled DMs. I used the General tab for less urgent messages, which significantly decluttered my inbox and made it easier to focus on important conversations.

Focus on important messages in the primary section

Managing Your Instagram DMs for Better Engagement

Proper management of your DMs can significantly impact your engagement and relationship with your audience. Here’s how you can leverage the general tab for better engagement:

  • Organize your inbox: Use the general tab to keep your inbox clutter-free, making it easier to focus on important messages and respond promptly.
  • Prioritize responses: With less important messages sorted into the general tab, you can prioritize responding to those in the primary one, enhancing your responsiveness and engagement with your most active followers or customers.
  • Maintain a professional demeanor: Keeping a well-organized inbox reflects professionalism, which is especially important for businesses and influencers looking to maintain a strong online presence.

In essence, the general tab is more than just a feature; it’s a strategic tool for anyone looking to optimize their Instagram messaging experience. Whether it’s for personal use or managing a professional account, understanding and utilizing this tab can make a significant difference in how you interact and engage on the platform.

There are around 375 million monthly Instagram Direct Message users, highlighting the extensive use of this feature for communication and business purposes​.

Tips and Tricks for Efficient Instagram DM Management

Effectively managing your Direct Messages (DMs) on Instagram, especially for professional pages, is crucial for maintaining engagement and responsiveness. Here are some useful tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Instagram’s DM features.

Utilizing AiGrow for Enhanced DM Management

For those looking to take their DM management to the next level, AiGrow is a valuable tool. It’s a third-party app designed to provide advanced control over your Instagram DMs. With features like bulk DMs, automated responses, and the ability to schedule DMs, AiGrow can be a game-changer for businesses and influencers looking to streamline their engagement process.

How to Get Notified for Primary and General DMs

Staying on top of your messages is important, and Instagram allows you to customize how you receive notifications for your DMs. You can choose to receive notifications for unread messages in both the general and primary tabs, or you can opt to receive them only for the primary tab to minimize distractions.

To adjust your notification settings:

  1. Go to your Instagram profile and tap the menu in the top-right corner.
  2. Select ‘Settings’, then ‘Notifications’, and finally ‘Direct Messages’.
  3. Here, you can customize your notification preferences for both primary and general DMs.

Instagram allows you to customize how you receive notifications for your DMs

Organizing Your Inbox for Maximum Efficiency

An organized inbox is key to efficient communication. Use the primary tab for important messages and those you want to see first or get back to later. The general tab is ideal for messages that aren’t urgent or from users you interact with less frequently. Regularly reviewing and sorting your messages can help keep your inbox manageable and ensure you don’t miss any important communication.

By following these tips and leveraging tools like AiGrow, you can significantly improve your DM management on Instagram, making it easier to maintain engagement and build relationships with your followers and customers.

Integrating DMs into Your Instagram Strategy

Direct Messages (DMs) on Instagram offer more than just a means of communication; they are a pivotal tool in building relationships and enhancing user engagement. Understanding how to use the general and primary tabs on Instagram can significantly improve how you interact with your audience.

Leveraging DMs for Building Relationships and Engagement

The importance of personal connection on social media is paramount. By effectively using your DMs, especially in the primary tab, where important messages appear and are seen first, you can engage with your audience more personally. A simple acknowledgment or response to messages in this tab can foster a loyal following. Remember, messages in the general tab are typically for less urgent interactions, where notifications are turned off.

For those using Instagram for business, DMs serve as a crucial channel to connect with potential customers. They provide a platform for answering queries and offering personalized service, which can greatly enhance customer satisfaction. Utilize these features effectively to see a marked improvement in your brand loyalty and customer engagement.

Related Posts and Content Strategies Involving DMs

Your DMs can be a goldmine for content inspiration. Pay close attention to the themes and questions that appear in your primary tab. Use these insights to create posts or stories that resonate with your audience’s interests and needs. By doing so, you show your followers that their voices are heard and valued.

Encourage your followers to interact with your content through DMs. For instance, after sharing a story or a post, invite your audience to share their thoughts or questions via DMs. This strategy not only boosts engagement but also fosters a more interactive and connected community.

The ability to categorize messages as they appear in the primary tab or are moved to the general tab helps in maintaining an organized inbox with two distinct sections


The advent of general and primary tabs in Instagram DMs has transformed how both individual users and businesses manage their inboxes. Particularly for professional Instagram accounts, this feature creates a systematic approach to message management, ensuring that every message is accounted for. The ability to categorize messages as they appear in the primary tab or are moved to the general tab helps in maintaining an organized inbox with two distinct sections.

As you follow these steps to manage your DMs, you’ll notice how unread messages are turned off for the general tab, allowing for less distraction and more focus on urgent communications. Messages from the primary tab usually demand immediate attention, while those in the general tab can be addressed later. This distinction is crucial in prioritizing responses and enhancing interaction with your audience.

The integration of DMs into your content strategy, especially when utilizing tools like AiGrow for advanced management, plays a significant role in the efficacy of your Instagram presence. As we move through 2023, mastering the nuances of Instagram DMs—understanding which messages will appear where, and how to get a notification for each—is vital for anyone aiming to make a significant impact on this dynamic platform.

Remember, success on Instagram isn’t just about what you post; it’s equally about how you connect and engage. The ‘primary’ and ‘general’ tabs in your DMs serve as more than organizational tools—they are gateways to forging stronger, more meaningful connections. They allow you to easily move messages depending on their urgency, ensuring you view the messages that you’d like to get back to promptly. It’s a sophisticated feature that elevates communication, helping you understand the importance of every message and manage your inbox in a way that best suits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between Primary and General Tabs in Instagram DMs?

The Primary tab in Instagram Direct is for messages from close connections or important conversations that you’d like to get back to. In contrast, the General tab is for less urgent messages, where notifications are typically turned off. Understanding this difference helps users maintain an organized inbox.

How Do I Move Messages to the General Tab on Instagram?

To move messages to the General tab, open the conversation in your DMs, swipe left (iOS) or long-press (Android), and select move to general. This helps manage your inbox by categorizing messages you don’t need immediate notifications for.

Can I Receive Notifications for Messages in the General Tab?

Yes, you can choose to receive notifications for messages in the General tab. To do this, go to your settings, select ‘Notifications’, and adjust your preferences for the General tab under ‘Direct Messages’.

What Happens When Someone Sends Me a Message Request on Instagram?

When someone who you don’t follow sends you a DM, it appears as a message request in your inbox. You can choose to accept the message, which moves it to your Primary tab or decline it.

Is the Primary and General Inbox Feature Available on All Instagram Accounts?

The Primary and General inbox feature is only available on Instagram Professional accounts. To access it, you need to switch to a professional page, which can be done in the Instagram settings.

Author Bio

Ellen Bartolino

Ellen is a seasoned author and communication expert, with a particular focus on Instagram. Her extensive knowledge of the platform has allowed her to create engaging and effective content for businesses and individuals alike. Ellen has a proven track record of crafting compelling Instagram captions and influencer marketing.