Should I Send Automated Direct Messages on Twitter?

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?

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

@nealschaffer

Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker | 日米ソーシャルメディア専門家|G+: https://t.co/BqaJvubiP8
Social Selling Success: Who Do People Buy From? [INFOGRAPHIC] http://t.co/w0XDFSxuBM via @joesanchezr - 3 hours ago
Neal Schaffer
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Comments

  1. says

    I agree! People can really tell the difference between if the DM is automated or not.

    When I receive an automated DM, I actually second think about actually unfollowing that Twitter Account before I realize it was still a valuable person to follow. =(

  2. says

    I agree! People can really tell the difference between if the DM is automated or not.

    When I receive an automated DM, I actually second think about actually unfollowing that Twitter Account before I realize it was still a valuable person to follow. =(

  3. says

    Exactly Diana! In fact I’ve heard of famous bloggers and Twitter rockstars who are starting to delete all those people who send them automated DMs…if only there was a Twitter tool to automate the process of doing so!

  4. says

    Exactly Diana! In fact I’ve heard of famous bloggers and Twitter rockstars who are starting to delete all those people who send them automated DMs…if only there was a Twitter tool to automate the process of doing so!

  5. says

    Thanks for spreading the word about judicious use of DMs, Neal. I almost never use DMs myself. I figure Twitter is all about *social* networking, and I have heard it described as the world’s biggest chamber of commerce meeting, so that’s how I approach it. Over 99% of the conversation can be done in public. I use DMs for exchanging email addresses to take a conversation offline or if there’s some reason the conversation should be a little more private. Any “Thanks” or other benign conversations can be said in public, and I use @replies almost exclusively. Louise, aka @ThoughtsHappen

    • says

      Louise, you are absolutely preaching to the choir! I am hoping that newbies will look at this and think twice about auto DMs. I am also sending the URL of this blog post to everyone who sends me an automated DM! You gotta start somewhere…

      – Neal

  6. says

    Thanks for spreading the word about judicious use of DMs, Neal. I almost never use DMs myself. I figure Twitter is all about *social* networking, and I have heard it described as the world’s biggest chamber of commerce meeting, so that’s how I approach it. Over 99% of the conversation can be done in public. I use DMs for exchanging email addresses to take a conversation offline or if there’s some reason the conversation should be a little more private. Any “Thanks” or other benign conversations can be said in public, and I use @replies almost exclusively. Louise, aka @ThoughtsHappen

    • says

      Louise, you are absolutely preaching to the choir! I am hoping that newbies will look at this and think twice about auto DMs. I am also sending the URL of this blog post to everyone who sends me an automated DM! You gotta start somewhere…

      – Neal

  7. says

    I think the value of automated DMs is changing and still being explored. Twiiter doesn’t give you much room to expand on details about yourself and your websites. I find using DMs ( even automated ones ) to be great for adding info about myself like a website link, where they can get further info, or to expand on topics that I am interested in. Of course, some auto DMs look like Spam and thus one should reconsider the follow, but frankly, I don’t think automated DMs have gotten to the point at all where they should canned and not used. As with everything, it’s how you write and present yourself.

    • says

      Hi Jim,

      An interesting point as even an automated DM can be made more personal than those that I usually see. But at the end of the day, I still think that whatever website you want to lead people to will be in your bio or tweets, making the DM redundant. And with so many spam DMs going around, it is unfortunate that your automated DMs may get lost in the shuffle…

      – Neal

  8. says

    I think the value of automated DMs is changing and still being explored. Twiiter doesn’t give you much room to expand on details about yourself and your websites. I find using DMs ( even automated ones ) to be great for adding info about myself like a website link, where they can get further info, or to expand on topics that I am interested in. Of course, some auto DMs look like Spam and thus one should reconsider the follow, but frankly, I don’t think automated DMs have gotten to the point at all where they should canned and not used. As with everything, it’s how you write and present yourself.

    • says

      Hi Jim,

      An interesting point as even an automated DM can be made more personal than those that I usually see. But at the end of the day, I still think that whatever website you want to lead people to will be in your bio or tweets, making the DM redundant. And with so many spam DMs going around, it is unfortunate that your automated DMs may get lost in the shuffle…

      – Neal

  9. says

    I was taught, never to DM anyone automatically on a personal account. Its just not done and yet again I get so many are using it. Really shows education is really needed, lucky they have a great site like this that gives real information.

  10. says

    I was taught, never to DM anyone automatically on a personal account. Its just not done and yet again I get so many are using it. Really shows education is really needed, lucky they have a great site like this that gives real information.

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