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Get started with the Messenger API for Instagram.

Get started with the Messenger API for Instagram.

April 3, 2024
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Author: Big Y

How to Send Your First Business Message on Instagram Using the API

Are you looking to engage with your community on Instagram in creative ways and deliver a great customer experience? Look no further than the Instagram messaging API. In this article, we'll walk you through the setup and steps to send your first business message on Instagram using our API.

Requirements

To send your first business message using the Instagram messaging API, you will need an Instagram professional account and a Facebook page connected to that account. If you don't already have a Facebook page, you can create one and unpublish it so that it is not publicly available. You will also need a meta developer account that can perform tasks with at least moderate level access on that page, and a registered app with basic settings configured.

Creating the App

Assuming you have the first three requirements ready, to create the app just log into your meta developer account and click create app. Make sure you select it as a business app, provide the name of the app, contact email address, and click create app. Once you have created the app, make sure you have the required permissions enabled.

For test mode, you only require standard access for the following three permissions: Instagram basic, pages manage metadata, and Instagram manage messages. Remember, the test mode will only work for users who have a role on the app as well as are connected to any Instagram test account. For a public launch, you will need to request advanced access for these three permissions.

If you're building an app to be used by other clients, you will have to configure Facebook login in your app so the client can grant access to the necessary permissions to your app. However, for the purpose of this demo or if you're building the app for your own business, you can easily use the Graph API explorer to generate a page access token. Generate the page access token by specifying the Facebook page to be connected to the app.

Once that is done, provide access to the three permissions again: pages manage metadata, Instagram basic, and Instagram manage messages. After you specify the permissions, connect the Instagram account that captures the token so your app can use it in the next few steps. You can also check if all the permissions have been set up correctly by calling the Instagram conversation API to fetch all the conversations for the Instagram professional account.

Setting Up the Webhook

You can set up a webhook to subscribe and listen to any messages or comments that may come onto your Instagram professional account. You will need a server to receive and process the webhook. We have sample code available linked in our dev docs, which you can deploy on any app development platform. Once you follow the steps provided, you will be able to generate the callback URL for the webhook.

To configure the webhook, go back to your meta developer dashboard and set up a webhook for your app. Use the Instagram object and configure the webhook with a callback URL from the server as well as you will also need to subscribe to messages. To specify that the webhook should be listening for incoming messages to your account, your app must enable page subscriptions on the page feed field to receive webhooks from the Instagram account.

Using the Webhook

Now that your setup is done, let's explore how you can use the webhook to receive the message and respond accordingly. Let's deep dive into Instagram stories. Instagram story is an easy and lightweight way for businesses to engage their community. They can invite their customers to ask specific questions, participate in giveaways, create excitement about an upcoming launch, and drive pre-orders for their products.

For our demo today, let's explore how a business can capture all the activities happening on stories and start interacting with their loyal followers. Here we have a fictional business, Original Coast Clothing, which is doing a 24-hour giveaway to reward their followers and further engage with their community. They ask people to reply with a specific hashtag, #occgift, to enter the giveaway.

When a user replies on the giveaway story, your app will receive a webhook notifying you of the event. This will include the anonymized user ID, also called IG business scoped ID. In your app, you can build simple automation to check for specific hashtag associated with a giveaway, which is hashtag #occgift in our case. If the giveaway hashtag is identified, the business can respond with a set message.

As you see here, I'm using the IG business scope ID to respond to the user and thank them for participating in their giveaway. And there you have it, your first business message. As you saw, it is quite simple to build an app to receive, automate, and send messages on Instagram.

Conclusion

Businesses are already using Instagram in creative ways to engage with their community. Today we are announcing that we have also increased the send API rate limit to 100 API calls per second for each Instagram professional account. This can improve the user experience for high volume use cases like private replies on Instagram live giveaway posts and flash sales.

You can easily leverage features like persistent menu, ice breakers, great replies, templates, and handover protocol to help build a rich and engaging messaging experience for businesses and creators on Instagram. Now that you have learned how to send a first message on Instagram, dive a little deeper into building a conversational commerce experience for users in the next session.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

- Easy and lightweight way for businesses to engage with their community

- Great platform for businesses to deliver a great customer experience and help drive sales

- Can improve the user experience for high volume use cases like private replies on Instagram live giveaway posts and flash sales

Cons:

- Requires an Instagram professional account and a Facebook page connected to that account

- Need to set up a webhook to receive and process messages

Highlights

- Instagram is a great platform for businesses to engage with their community in creative ways and deliver a great customer experience.

- To send your first business message using the Instagram messaging API, you will need an Instagram professional account and a Facebook page connected to that account.

- You can set up a webhook to subscribe and listen to any messages or comments that may come onto your Instagram professional account.

- You can easily leverage features like persistent menu, ice breakers, great replies, templates, and handover protocol to help build a rich and engaging messaging experience for businesses and creators on Instagram.

FAQ

Q: What do I need to send my first business message on Instagram using the API?

A: You will need an Instagram professional account, a Facebook page connected to that account, a meta developer account, and a registered app with basic settings configured.

Q: How do I set up a webhook to receive and process messages?

A: You can set up a webhook by following the steps provided in our dev docs and configuring the webhook with a callback URL from the server.

Q: What are some features I can leverage to build a rich and engaging messaging experience for businesses and creators on Instagram?

A: You can leverage features like persistent menu, ice breakers, great replies, templates, and handover protocol.

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