If you’re looking for a way to connect with a fan who’s just followed you on Twitter, how would you do it? Would you take the time to seek them out personally and send them a welcome tweet? Or would you choose to automate a response–such as sending them a private message thanking them for their interest? Would you consider sending a tweet or message with a link to your products and services?
You might be surprised (or maybe you aren’t!) to learn that a lot of people will send an automated “welcome” direct message (or DM). Many companies also use this opportunity to attach a link to their website, another social media site, or their newsletter, with the idea being that more people will click through and be enticed to buy or sign up.
While it seems like a good idea on the surface, there’s always pros and cons to “cold messaging” campaigns. So let’s dig into the pros and cons of using direct messaging for marketing purposes!
There are some people who claim that by sending a message with a link to Facebook or a newsletter, they get increased engagements.
Some Twitter users–usually people selling personal services, such as consulting or ebooks–swear up and down that they get increased engagement from sending out auto-DMs. They’ll use a program or app to set it up so that when they get a new follower, they send out a private message with a link to their book, website, Facebook page, or some other place. They claim that their signups, downloads, and sales increase when they do this, and they ignore those who claim that this is intrusive or annoying.
Now, some people have tested this and got miserable results. So it’s not guaranteed, which could mean that perhaps it just needs to be studied more. For example, are certain industries more successful with auto-DMs than others? Is it appealing to a certain demographic, such as people in specific countries or age brackets? Well, we don’t know for sure. But this process is nonetheless still something that some find valuable, so if you’re willing to test it out, let us know. 🙂
Some users think that this is a polite way to reach out and contact someone else.
Remember the days when you sent a personalized thank-you note for every gift you received?
Well, there are still some people who thank visitors to their sites with a message built right into the page. There are some who send thank-you emails to people who have left positive feedback on review sites.
To these people, sending a quick, private thank-you message is the perfect way to show your appreciation for a brand new Twitter follower’s support. Other times, they might choose to send out an automated tweet rather than a DM. They do this because if they do not follow their new follower back, the follower cannot respond to the DM. A lot of people find this frustrating. So by sending out a welcome tweet rather than DM, the person can interact with their follower without feeling obligated to follow them back immediately.
It’s a way to see who is interested in the products you have to offer.
For a while, Twitter actually removed the ability for a person to send a link through DMs. This was because they were trying to fight spam–many people had complained about being spammed through private messaging. But for whatever reason, they decided to bring it back again, and boy, are people really making use of them. Many companies send links to a page where you can directly purchase a product or service.
Some people even take it to the next level and use a tool like JustUnfollow to track who unfollows them (then that way, they can make sure to unfollow the person back if need be).
But JustUnfollow also has an option to send a friendly thank you DM to people along with a link. So this makes it incredibly easy for people who use the app to figure out who is clicking and who is getting fed up and unfollowing them.
If you’re interested, here’s what Twitter has to say about this whole process, now that they’ve changed the rules back: https://support.twitter.com/articles/76915-automation-rules-and-best-practices.
Some people find this to be irritating at best, or intrusive at worst.
On the flip side, there are a lot of Twitter users who really dislike DMs. They find them to be irritating, claiming they clutter up the inbox, send unnecessary push notifications to devices, and don’t contain any valuable information. Others actually find them to be intrusive. They view them as unsolicited marketing spam, and they don’t want to have anything to do with it. In fact, some will go as far as to unfollow and block a company that tries this tactic. Ouch.
Some users think that it’s disingenuous, and they’d rather you just not do it at all.
There are still others who might find it irritating, but it’s not so much about the inconvenience as it is the motive behind the message. They see it as disingenuous–if you can’t take the time to send out a personalized DM to thank someone for their follow, then why send anything at all? To these users, there’s no point in sending out a pre-written private message to everyone. That takes away from the uniqueness and value of a personalized thank-you.
If you don’t follow the follower that you’re messaging, they can’t message you back. That irritates a lot of people.
As mentioned above, if you do not follow a person who sends you a DM, you cannot message them back. Needless to say, most companies won’t mass-follow their fans. So if the company sends a fan a message, the fan can do nothing about it other than delete it or follow the included link (if there is one). This makes for a miserable, one-sided communication attempt that many people find to be a waste of time.
There are a lot of people who don’t even check their DMs–in fact, they hate them so much, they’ll even put it in their bios.
Yes, it’s true: Some are so incredibly fed up with it that they don’t even bother to check DMs anymore. They’ll actually include that in their bio, just so everyone knows that all DMs WILL go unread. That’s a whole other level of annoyance with the concept of marketing using DMs. If you view them as SUCH a waste of time that you won’t even bother looking at them no matter what, then you’re pretty dead-set against it.
In our experience, it’s better to not bother people needlessly, and many, MANY people tend to be in the “don’t send auto DMs” camp. Obviously, the choice is yours–there are plenty of people who do it, and some claim they get a lot out of it, even if it causes some to unfollow them. Whatever you do, make sure you are polite rather than demanding, and give the person the opportunity to directly tweet you if they prefer. Good customer service goes a long way!
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