Instagram sure is making social media waves lately! The photo-sharing site was recently deemed to be 2013’s best social media platform for brands, and now they’ve announced the ability to direct message other users.

Twitter has had the ability to direct (private) message for a long while, but in order to send a message, both parties must be following each other. Instagram allows users to send messages to any other user, with the option to ignore the message.

The big difference between Twitter and Instagram was the latter’s ability to send photos and videos directly- the key setting Instagram apart from its competition. However, suddenly Twitter revealed it too now allows picture sharing through its direct message feature.

Instagram direct messages can be sent to up to 15 users at a time, meaning if you want to leverage this new technique for your brand, you may have to lather, rinse and repeat- or narrow down to a specific 15 users.

You needn’t worry too much though, as proven already by mega-brand GAP Clothing. They already ran a contest to great success.