Question: I’ve only been using Twitter for about one year and I notice that a lot of people that I follow send me a direct message like: “Thanks for the follow. I’d like to offer you free access to this small business marketing PDF as a token of my appreciation. ”
So, my question is this: How are these people auto-messaging me via Twitter and, secondly, is this considered a good business practice or is it spammy suicide? Thanks, Gina in South Carolina
Answer: Gina, unknowingly, you have opened a can of worms that is the subject of much debate. Let’s tackle the first part of your question and then we’ll get into the sometimes “heated” debate about whether you should auto-direct message people who follow you on Twitter.
How to Auto-Message Your Twitter Followers
Gina, it is very easy to auto-direct message your followers if you choose to do so. The tool that most people use is called Social Oomph.
Social Oomph used to offer these services for free. However, as we see in the photo below, they have begun charging both free and professional subscribers for these services.
You may also want to check out the Crowd Fire App. As you see in the photo, they also offer a “DM Marketing” section which offers a direct message feature to your new Twitter followers.
But you may notice that little statement above: “-via @crowdfire” would be included in your DM.
While Crowd Fire doesn’t make you pay with dollars, they make you pay by sacrificing your reputation.Crowd Fire doesn't make you pay with dollars; you pay by sacrificing your reputation. Click To Tweet
If the follower ever questioned whether your message was automated, this now removes all doubt!
So Gina, the answer to your question is an emphatic “YES!”. You can auto-message people who follow you on Twitter. But the better question is: Should you?
Should You Auto-Message Your New Followers on Twitter?
It seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Someone has just followed you on Twitter and you have the opportunity to send them a direct message about your business.
For example, with The SEO System, we could say something like: “A big thanks for the follow! If you’d like a winning web content marketing strategy, I’d like to invite you to get started with The SEO System for free: http://theseosystem.com“.
While it seems like a winning strategy, it may be the worst strategy for your business.
Imagine if you just made a new friend over some drinks at a bar and then they immediately started trying to sell you insurance. How would you react? How would you feel?
Exactly, you’d react by getting out of dodge as quickly as possible and you’d feel swindled.
There are passionate discussions about this on the Internet and most veer toward the negative. Here are just a few resources that may dissuade you from auto-messaging your Twitter followers:
How to Create an Automated DM (Direct Message) in Twitter – Auto Style: This article was written by Katie Hellmuth Martin and, while she talks about how to to this, her article begins: “Watch out: sending a direct message on Twitter when someone follows you is overkill and could annoy your new follower.”
How can I send my followers automated direct messages on Twitter? This is a Quora discussion where you will see the heated debates going on. As author Gil Yehuda advices: “Please, don’t use an Auto DM. It’s considered highly douchbaggy.”
WHY TWITTER AUTO DMS ARE EVIL (AND WHAT YOU SHOULD DO INSTEAD): Obviously, the title says it all. Author Melissa Cubertson sums things up quite nicely: “I hate to break it to you but marketing in social media isn’t about shoving messages in your followers’ faces.”
Conclusion: Don’t Auto-IM Your New Twitter Followers!
Gina, let’s end with a question.
Do you have any acquaintances who everyone tries to avoid at a party because he/she will try to sell them something? Sure, this person might get one sale but they rub everyone else the wrong way.
So the only question that remains is: Do you want to be that person?
Article Comments: What are your thoughts on direct messages to new Twitter followers? I know some of you reading this do it because I receive direct messages all the time. Do you do it? If so, what is your feedback? And what is the feedback from those of you who receive direct messages? Do you click? Sound off in the comments section below. I respond to all comments that come in. Cheers, Richard
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