Over in Twitterland, auto DMs often get pegged as the most loathed type of tweet there is. In fact, the evilness of auto DMs has been written about so much that maybe you think blog posts about auto DMs are evil, too.
Well, let me try to convince you otherwise. Just complaining about auto DMs isn’t all that helpful to ridding the world of them. Instead, I’ll tell why they’re no good and what you can do instead.
First, let’s start with the basics.
What’s an Auto DM?
It’s when you set up Twitter to automatically send a direct message (aka private message) to each new follower you have. An auto DM may look something like this:
- The innocent welcome: “Thanks for following me! We look forward to reading your tweets.”
This clutters up direct message boxes everywhere so people can’t see their true one-on-one direct messages. Could you imagine if EVERYONE did this?
- The following-me-on-twitter-isn’t-enough message: “Thanks for following! Have you seen our Facebook page? [link] What about my blog? [another link]
I just followed you on Twitter. Can I just get to know you here first? No need to be pushy. Sheesh.
- The if-it’s-free-how-can-you-resist message: “Free videos show you how you can profit with Social Media & Video Marketing. [link]”
I know you THINK you’re trying to be helpful but I know you’re just trying to sell me something.
- The disingenuous it-looks-personal-but-it’s-not message: “Wow- I like you already! Find awesome stuff here [link]”
I actually unfollowed and re-followed someone who wrote this just to see if they meant it. No, it goes to everyone. For the love of God, don’t tell me you like me if you’ve never even looked at one of my tweets.
These are all types of auto DMs I’ve received. And they all suck. Twitter isn’t email. So if you know 98% of Twitter folk don’t like it, why are you doing it?
Why You Send Auto DMs
Let’s say you are one of the auto DMers. If one of these is your reason for sending them, let me tell you why you shouldn’t.
You don’t know any better:
Maybe you’re new to Twitter and thought auto DMs were something everyone did. Or maybe you’ve never seen anyone complain so you figured it was okay.
Don’t fret. Don’t run away from Twitter because you’re embarrassed you’ve been auto DMing and had no idea people hated them. It’s okay. I rarely unfollow people JUST because they send me an auto DM (although some people do, which I find a bit extreme).
Just disable it now before anyone else is the wiser.
You say that auto DMs work.
I’ve heard the argument that people click on auto DM links so why should you stop auto DMing if it brings in traffic?
Have you heard of spam? People click on those links too; otherwise, people wouldn’t bother being spammers.
For a real world example, think about the unsolicited sales calls you get at dinner time (especially before the Do Not Call list). Do you think companies would use all that manpower bothering people if they didn’t work? They work for about 1-2% of the population. The rest of the people they just tick off.
You think it’s called “marketing.”
I hate to break it to you but marketing in social media isn’t about shoving messages in your followers’ faces. It’s about GENUINE interactions and building connections. Again, why would you want to annoy most of your potential readers or customers just for a few clicks?
What Should You Do Instead?
Let’s say you’re now convinced that auto DMs ARE, in fact, evil.
So what should you do instead? Engage with your followers. Talk with them. Interact with them.
You can approach this many ways but here’s the best solid way to build great connections with your followers: Get to know them.
Reply to someone. Retweet a post. Be helpful in some way. Respond when they ask their followers a question. You don’t have to spend hours doing this. Just a few minutes a day makes a big difference in showing that you’re interested in what people have to say, not just broadcasting your own message.
Finally, don’t be afraid to promote yourself on Twitter. A tweet about joining your Facebook page or downloading your free e-book isn’t wrong; it’s expected… as long as you don’t go overboard. Vary the time of day you promote your links so they reach a wider audience.
As a follower, wouldn’t you be more likely to check out someone’s blog or like their Facebook page if they took a genuine interest in you? Of course!
Just keep it out of the automatic DMs. Use Twitter for good, not evil, okay?