Direct messages on Twitter can sometimes be a topic of controversy. Some people love them as they offer a means to inform and connect with others. Some people hate them as they are often considered spammy and inappropriate. DM’s are usually sent when you get a new follower. A way of saying thank you. This is the only automated messaging service Twitter actually allows. So the question is, “when is it right to use them?”
Business Over Personal
If you run a business which has a Twitter account as a means to advertise and connect, then you will know how fast your following base can grow. You could get 50 new followers a day and as a business, you want these people to know you appreciate their support as these are the ones who will buy your products and helping you expand. There is no way you can manually sit and monitor your follower list 24 hours a day and respond personally to each new sign up. This is when DM’s come in handy, but only if you use them correctly. Here is a quick list of examples to create the perfect DM:
- DO say thank you for following- This shows a human side to your business which the follower can connect with
- DO provide them with only relevant and useful information- For example, provide a link to your websites blog which means they stay up to date with all your business news and promotions. You could also send them to a link which has tutorials or helpful documentation so they know where to locate what they need immediately.
- DO send them details of how to get help and support if they need it. For example, here at MarketMeSuite we let new followers know they can tweet :@MarketMeHelp if they have any questions through the DM service. It’s quick, informative and to the point, everything a DM should be.
- DO NOT spam them. This means you should not send out multiple links to various places. This will only confuse them and over complicate meaning they will be less inclined to take an interest. Also, do not send them links which direct them outside of your business arena, keep it all connected and relevant to your immediate business.
- DO NOT send more than one DM to a new follower. This is vital, just have one Message go out per user or you will be flooding them unnecessary information. If it doesn’t fit in one DM, then write a blog post explaining that you are grateful for their interest, add your business details and help information and link to that in a single DM. Sending more than one looks spammy and messy, avoid this if you can.
- This is the biggest DO NOT of all. Do not use DM’s for your personal accounts. This is a Twitter sin. People may expect a message from a business profile which has things to prove, they don’t expect it from an average Joe Bloggs who could occasionally tweet out an interesting update. The best way to interact with new followers, is @Mention them via the public timeline and/or follow them back. It comes across as odd and and if you don’t have a blog or website, then you really don’t have anything to message them anyway.
It’s worth noting that you should never be able to auto DM all your followers. Not only is this spam behaviour, but Twitter have banned that function for that exact reason. If you need need to talk to the masses, tweet publicly and often, don’t do it over private messages.
Key Take Away
Direct Messages are hit and miss. If you use them as they are meant to be used, as brief thank you with a quick link to the most relevant business material you have to offer, then they can be used for good. If you get the format wrong, you just look like you are spamming your audience with unhelpful links. If you do need to use DM’s, it’s best to do it only via your business Twitter profile, that’s the type of profile followers will expect to be sold to in one form or another, and a well placed DM could help turn that follower into a lead. Just proceed with caution. Think of auto DMs as a special privilege, to be used wisely and with care.
~Image source for Twitter bird: http://www.flickr.com/photos/b1ue5ky