With many newbies on Twitter these days, the etiquette of the social networking site is constantly changing. On the one hand, there is more social media marketing (= more spam) going on; at the same time, more people are understanding the potential for Windmill Networking on Twitter and are reaching out and creating meaningful conversations with others virtually. However, regardless of how long you’ve been on Twitter, you have probably noticed that you are getting more automated Direct Messages (DMs) from your new followers. And I believe it is coming from both the spammers as well as the newbies. Let me explain the phenomenon in further detail and then address the question at hand.
I continue to be amazed by the number of people who try to follow you with the seemingly sole objective of selling you something through a DM leading you to a website. Because Twitter is relatively new and is difficult for many people to understand, much of this spam is geared towards various software or educational materials to help you gain followers or learn more about Twitter. But the spam is not just limited to that. Either way, these sorts of DMs probably comprise 50% of the ones that I am receiving.
What about the other 50% of the DMs that I receive? They are coming from people, some new and maybe some seasoned veteran Tweeple, but they are usually one liner “Thanks!” type of messages, sometimes asking you to see their blog site or connect up with them on Facebook or LinkedIn. Regardless, they all have one thing in common: they are impersonal.
Windmill Networking and Social Media are all about communicating without forgetting The Personal Touch.
Twitter Auto Direct Messages do not allow you to personalize your message. That is why I recommend you NOT to send them!
Twitter is a unique beast in that third-party applications provide you the ability to send out Direct Messages automatically to new Followers. This is impossible to do on LinkedIn or Facebook. Think about it: when you connect with someone on LinkedIn or Facebook, how often do you get a “Thank you!” message or a note introducing themselves to you if you have never met them before? In my experience, not very often. Now, I do try to send out a message to everyone who sends me a LinkedIn invitation, but it is not automated and thus allows me to personalize the message.
So why should Twitter be any different? Use the automation features of Twitter to ADD value to your brand…it is impossible to do that in a 140 character automated tweet!
As it turns out, I get so much of the above two types of DMs that real communication through DMs with my followers gets lost. Now, I have 20,000+ followers, but even if you have a fraction of that you may start feeling inundated with DMs as well. Which leads to my next point:
If you are trying to send someone a message on Twitter, a DM could very well get lost in the shuffle. Send an @reply or send them an email by checking their profile for an email address or asking them for one!
If you are still new on Twitter or have been sending automated DMs, I hope you will start to realize that the best way to reach out to your Followers is NOT to continue in your ways. Instead, send them an @reply on something that they tweeted about and strike up a conversation springing from an “idea” and not a mere “relationship” as the starting point. After all, that is what Twitter is all about, isn’t it?