How often do you receive direct messages (DM’s) thanking you when you follow someone? I receive them about fourteen percent of the time (yes, I counted.) The majority of those messages are automatically generated ADM’s (96%). The rest are sent manually as in, typed out individually and often personalized.
People are either passionately opposed to ADM’s or nonchalant about them. I fall in the nonchalant category. I don’t mind when someone invites me to look at their website, visit their Facebook page, or read their blog after following them. I do mind repeated reminders, but that’s for another time.
The personal DM’s are different. The sender is making an effort to connect with me. The problem is that quite often, he or she sends the DM before following me. This means that I can’t answer the message. This usually occurs with new Twitter users. Presumably, it’s because they don’t know that you have to be following someone for them to DM you.
If you are debating about whether to DM, ADM, or skip the whole DM process, here are some suggestions:
- Know whom you want in your community. If you want to be followed by the Twitter influencers, skip the ADM’s and review their profile page before DM’ing them. Some say, “Do not DM me” in their profile. If your community is for your customers and prospects, welcome them and tell them the best way to contact you. Your objective is to connect with them. Make them feel comfortable reaching out to you. An ADM will serve you well if it is targeted to the right people.
- Don’t DM or ADM anyone you aren’t following. It is impossible for them to answer you. If you are using an automation tool, set it up to auto-follow before it auto-messages. This will mean that you follow spammers and bots, too but you have to take the bad with the good when you automate.
- Watch your numbers. If your community members of choice are unfollowing you after the DM’s, it probably means that they don’t like your messages. Figure out whether it is the content or the process and adapt as needed. In the end, you own your social media strategy and are responsible for its success. Find the best practices that work for your organization. It is always about what works for you, your business, and your community.
Note: This post is the first in the evolution of the #wecEtips that ran on Twitter for more than two years. It allows us to expand beyond 140 characters.