To auto DM on Twitter or not to auto DM? That is the question.

Twitter offers a helpful tool that allows you to automatically send new followers a DM. Most people use this service as an opportunity to say “Hello” and “Thanks for following” and others use it as a chance to enlighten people about other platforms on which they are present like Facebook or a website. And then there are others who use the auto DM as a chance to make you get, do or buy something. It is this last use of auto DMs that I find to be counterproductive for the opportunity that Twitter presents to engage with your consumers.

Many people question whether or not you should even send auto DMs to new followers. Some find it impersonal and annoying, while others see it as a great way to start a conversation, and as a common courtesy. I agree with both sides; however, so long as you’re not using it to MAKE people do something, I don’t see too much harm in it. So, I won’t say yes, send auto-DMs and I won’t say, no, don’t send them. It could always be something that your brand tests for a while to see if it has an impact one way or another. If you do choose to send them, here are some things to consider.

Set goals for what you want your DM to accomplish
You only have 140 characters to say what you have to say, so decide before you start crafting your message, what it is that you want to accomplish.

Be conversational
Twitter is a laid-back, social atmosphere and your message should be crafted in a way that fits that atmosphere.

Be grateful and reciprocate
That new follower did not have to follow you. Let them know you appreciate the opportunity to engage with them. And if you follow back all of your followers, let them know that it will be an info exchange and not just you pushing tweets out AT them; moreover, let them know that you’re excited to hear what they’ve got to say.

Be subtle
If one of the goals of your DM is to get users to like your Facebook page as well, don’t force it on them. Make a subtle suggestion or help them out by letting them know that they can also join the conversation on Facebook.  Do not make your brand sound gimmicky or make the person immediately regret following you by trying to get a sale or by sounding too pushy. Remember, social marketing is not push-push-sell; it is an opportunity for true relationship building.

Don’t be redundant
Again, you only have 140 characters for this touch point. Don’t repeat information that the follower can find in your bio. If your website is already in your bio, then let them know that they can also feel free to join you on Facebook, YouTube, or wherever else you have a presence. Don’t say, “We love rainbows and want to share pictures of them with you” if your bio says, “Lover of rainbows.” People already know that Twitter is for sharing. Make sure you’re making the most out of this opportunity.

At the moment, I don’t send auto DMs on behalf of my blog. Ironically, I find them to be impersonal and at the moment, I don’t have any other information to provide in a DM. I choose to say “thank you” to my new followers via one general tweet after I’ve accumulated a few.

Do you send an auto DM to new users? Do you think they’re helpful at all?

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