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How to Slide Into DMs For Business or Pleasure

Whether you’re new to the dating world or a veteran of the apps, you’re probably familiar with the nervous excitement that comes when sending that first DM or love connection. For some, messaging a prospective partner is fun and flirtatious but for others discovering how to “slide into DMs” requires a full team of friends to help craft and send the perfect pitch.  

The pandemic propelled many to turn to lock-down dating, dating over DMs and inventing creative ways to be romantic. Whether you spent the past year sending DMs at home and in your favorite pair of underwear or are just re-entering the dating world, it doesn’t hurt to read up on the code of conduct for effectively making the “slide.”

To help you navigate the new digital world of DMing, we’ve sourced tips from experts in business and dating on how to slide into DMs to help garner the best response. 

What Does Sliding Into Someone’s DMs Mean?

Illustration of a phone conversation with different reasons to slide into DMs popping up as if they two people are messaging eachother]

The term “sliding into someone’s DMs,” for those who don’t know, is direct messaging a stranger or acquaintance, using a social networking platform in an attempt to get their attention. The approach tactics can vary but so can the intention. You could be reaching out for numerous reasons such as to make a romantic connection, ignite a friendship, expand your professional network, or get the attention of a celebrity. 

Messaging Etiquette by Platform

White and blue sections highlighting the different messaging etiquette by platform along with the icons each platform is known for

Many learn the hard way that publishing something online is hard to take back, so it’s best to be mindful when learning how to slide into DMs and send reputable messages out into the virtual universe. Each social media platform comes with different messaging etiquette. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your manners (and reputation) stay intact.

Networking Sites

Networking sites like LinkedIn are a great way to learn about new job opportunities, connect with prospective employers, and expand your network. Today, networking online is an essential part of career development but connecting on LinkedIn isn’t as simple as sending the default “Hi. I’d like you to add me to your network” message and it shouldn’t be treated as casually as other social networking sites. If you don’t follow proper networking etiquette, you risk damaging your relationship with potential connections and your credibility.

Keep the following in mind before you make your next connection:

  1. Make sure your profile is up to date: The last thing you want when forming a new professional relationship is for someone to look at your profile and be confused or think you are underqualified. Your bio should accomplish three things: provide context to the nature of your work, establish authority in your work, and show social proof.
  2. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t in a professional setting: Author and LinkedIn expert, Melonie Dodaro says in her article “LinkedIn Etiquette and Best Practices” that there’s a basic rule of thumb you should always apply: “Would I say this in the workplace?” If the answer is ‘No’, then don’t do it on LinkedIn.”
  3. Be brief: Your first inclination might be to treat a professional direct message like an email correspondence but it’s better to lead with brevity. Between 50% and 60% of LinkedIn’s traffic comes from mobile devices, which means the majority of messages are read on a mobile screen. One or two short paragraphs that are each no more than three or four sentences is plenty.

Social Sites

Direct messaging etiquette differs greatly for social sites like Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter but the basic code of conduct when it comes to digital communication rings true–mirror how you might behave in person. 

Below are some other ways to mind your manners when DMing on social media:

  1. Be respectful and polite: Leading with kindness is the best way to avoid coming off as creepy if you are messaging a stranger! 
  2. Don’t type while tipsy: You might think liquid courage can help you feel more confident writing and sending a message, however, drunk dialing might increase your chances of sending a message you might regret later. In a study that looked at students’ drunk dialing, 89% of participants had sent a text message while drunk, and 43% said that they felt guilty about it later.
  3. Don’t assume your exchange is private: Like anything on the internet, messages can be screenshotted and shared. Consider this: If you’re not willing to post your message publicly, does the message need to be sent?

Dating Apps

So you landed a match on a dating app, congrats! So what now? Many focus on their profile, photos and bio but fail when it comes to communication and etiquette. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when direct messaging on dating apps:

  1. Be cautious of catfish: Depending on the dating app, you might not be able to see too much information about matches from their bios. Be cautious of sharing personal information with others and if possible, try to share other social networking profiles with each other to verify you are not being “catfished.”
  2. Don’t act like your “too good” for dating apps: If you really don’t want to use dating apps, a much easier way to convey that than complaining about it in your dating app profile would be to simply not make a dating app profile in the first place.
  3. Look for red flags: If a match takes a while to respond or sends messages that are short, suggestive or abrupt that might indicate that they are seeking a hookup or testing people to see how they respond.
  4. Be wary of “ghosting:” Ghosting is when someone stops answering your messages without explanation. This commonly happens on dating apps due to its nature of anonymity and moving on or losing interest can be done without the discomfort of breaking up or having to see the other person again. 

Top 9 Ways to Slide Into Someone’s DMs

Illustrations of a speech bubble, a magnifying glass and camera, a pencil writing a letter, a shining diamond and more representing different tips for sliding into DMs

Keeping the above etiquette in mind, you’re ready to learn how to slide into DMs whether you have romantic or professional intentions. 

1. Lay the Ground Work

Sliding into someone’s DMs can be a necessary but risky move as you aren’t sure if the receiver will be interested and reply. Samantha Moss, editor and content ambassador of romance site Romantific, recommends responding to a story or post as a way to lay the groundwork. “It could be a TikTok, a meme, or a picture of them, responding to their stories shows interest and it makes sliding into their DMs easier and more casual,” she says.

Laying the groundwork is just as important when sending a professional direct message as it helps build a relationship with your prospective connection outside of their inbox. Andrew Selepak, a media professor at the University of Florida, tells his students to avoid messaging someone for the first time with a direct ask but rather treat networking as relationship-building that develops over time. “No one is going to help a random stranger get a job or internship...long before you are looking, is when you should start networking,” he says. 

What does this look like in action? Follow them for a few days. Like their content, comment on posts, and add to the discussion! By contributing meaningful and insightful observations, your name and profile will stick out above the noise of other people who may be trying to network with them.

2. Research Before Reaching Out

The first message you send when you slide into someone’s DM is vital as it will set the tone for your ensuing interaction. Be willing to invest some time in this person by looking at the information you have on hand.

For example, if they've tweeted about a particular TV show, consider asking them a question about it. Or if they've posted a pic of a band they've seen in concert, prepare to ask for their favorite song. Commenting on their interests shows that you noticed something about them and asking a question motivates them to answer.

Before reaching out in a professional setting, conduct some background research to understand their values goals and how you align with them. Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation emphasizes the importance of doing some background research to ensure you are spelling the person’s name and other affiliations correctly as well as checking out their company’s social media handles and 'about' pages for the organization's leadership information.

Once you’ve completed this step, you should be very familiar with your prospect and have some ideas in mind for sending a message that resonates. 

3. Personalize Your Message

When sending a direct message on LinkedIn, avoid simply saying “hey” or sending a default connection message. Take the time to personalize your message to increase your chances of getting a positive response. Did you go to the same college or recently attend the same webinar? Use these uncommon commonalities to entice your prospect to respond.

The same goes for DMing socially. Do they use cheeky captions on their Instagram posts? Do they love to laugh or have a specific taste in music? Use any common interests as a way to hint that you checked out their profile and are interested. 

4. Do as You Would IRL

When sending a digital message it’s important to act how you would in real life. Avoid sending an overly pushy or forward first message, unless you would say it in real life. You wouldn’t walk up to somebody at a bar and simply say “Hey” or gush over their looks so don’t do it over DM. You would make up an interesting question, something that was observational that shows you are paying attention and are interested. 

The same rings true on networking sites. Communicate on LinkedIn the same way you would in professional interactions outside of LinkedIn. No need to be overly formal or change your style – be real, be you, but be professional.

5. Be Brief

Working professionals are most likely not spending hours checking and responding to direct messages. When crafting your message think a few sentences, not several paragraphs. When DMing, give the recipient the information they need. Right away they need to be able to figure out what it is your asking and who you are. A good test is sending yourself the message and seeing how many scrolls it takes to get to the meat of your message.

6. Be Specific

    When being courted via DM, nobody likes to receive a “What’s up” or “Wyd.” These questions exhibit lazy behavior and don’t entice the receiver to respond. Instead, ask specific questions that show you are interested in them and the conversation. 

    “Don’t ask if you can pick their brain” said Alison Green owner of Ask a Manager when DMing professional connections. “This is a vague request that most people don’t know what you’re looking for or how they can be helpful. Pose precise questions, such as, ‘I’m wondering about the following two things’” she says. 

    7. Be Blunt and Basic

    Most direct messages whether professional or social end with an ask. Do you want to grab a coffee, go on a date, gauge their interest in something or set up a call to talk further? In general, keep your request basic and don’t offer too many options as they will most likely choose the easiest one. 

    8. Create Stronger Bonds

    Obviously, when you slide into someone’s DMs, you’re angling for a reply so be prepared to talk about similar interests, crack a joke or ask additional questions to feel out their vibes. Talk about trips you want to go on or restaurants you’d like to try, then you can escalate the conversation into their family, friends, and outside life. The key is to make the conversation worthwhile. Don’t be afraid of discussing silly or weird topics–like in friendships, sometimes the most memorable and meaningful conversations are weird but personal to you.

    If your professional connection responds or connects with you, your work isn’t done! Continue to engage with their content and congratulate them on any promotions, birthdays, or successes.

    9. Be Realistic

    If you admire a person, chances are that other people do, too. People are stretched very thin and it’s probably not personal if they don’t respond to you right away. Avoid following up more than once and give them a realistic time frame to respond. 

    DM Don'ts: How to Not Slide into DMs

    While there are best practices for sending DMs there are also “no-nos” you’ll want to avoid. 

    Lay Off the Emojis

    If you’re reacting to someone’s story or are simply an animated messenger avoid using too many emojis as they can be easily misconstrued. Never include emojis if sending direct messages for professional purposes.

    Don’t Offer Money or Make Demands

    Never make demands via DM or offer or ask for money. Doing so can scare off any potential connections and ruin your credibility. 

    When Needed, Take the Hint

    If you’ve sent a DM with no reply or reaction, don’t be a pest and continue to send messages. This can come off as creepy. At max, send two messages and if you still don’t receive a reply, take the hint. 

    We hope these pointers around how to slide into DMs have encouraged you to get back out there and make memories that will last you a lifetime! After a year spent mostly indoors, many are ready to refresh their wardrobes, to avenge what they were denied – in particular life’s luxuries like fabulous bras and underwear. 

    With traveling and trips on the horizon, don’t forget to pack a supportive bra for every occasion and if your DM does turn into a date, some of our world-famous underwear!

    Sources: LinkedIn | NY Post Yesware