I’ve written a few articles about Twitter this year – you can see my Twitter Summary here. One of the things that I’ve learnt about Twitter is that very few people know how to write an effective direct message. In this article I’ll show you an example of the Direct Message I send to all my new Twitter followers, and I’ll give some examples of what not to do.
My Opinion on Twitter Direct Messages
There’s two uses for direct messages on Twitter. Firstly, you can send direct messages to your new followers. I think this is a good idea.
You can also send direct messages to either selected people or all your followers at other times. I’m ok with sending a DM to a particular person if there’s something you want to say in private to them, but I’m not a big fan of direct messages being sent to all your followers – I see this as spam.
In this article I’ll explain how to set up an automatic direct message to go out to your new followers.
Sending an automatic direct message to your new followers
Some people are against sending an automatic DM to every new follower – they hate the automation aspect of it. I think the bigger issue is that most people don’t know what to say, so most of the welcome DM’s that they send don’t have any real value.
Earlier in the year I followed @JohnHaydon and received the best DM back from him. I’ve copied his idea (he said it was ok!) and started using it.
I’ve created a tweet that suggests other people that the recipient may like to follow. I can’t remember who John had on his, but I made a list of some of the bloggers who I was following and who I thought my followers may also like to follow.
This approach is different to most of the other DM’s you receive – they’re all about promoting the person who sent it. My DM’s are all about promoting other people.
Here’s an example of one of the DM’s I send:
@TwitterUserName: Hi, thanks for following. You may also like the tweets of @patflynn @problogger and @johnhaydon. You can see my site at http://bit.ly/blcLH7
There is is – simple, but providing the recipient with recommendations of three other people they can follow. You may have noticed I’ve also put a link to my site at the end. I figured there was still space to promote myself, as long as it wasn’t the main focus of the DM.
I have a couple of alternative versions of this message, each promoting different people.
How I Set Up My Automated Twitter Direct Message
It’s actually quite simple to set up an auto DM as your Twitter welcome message.
Firstly, go to SocialOomph and set up an account. They have two types of account – free and premium – you’ll only need the free version for the process I’m about to show you, although the Premium version does provide some pretty nice features.
On the left hand side menu in SocialOomph is a button called “Direct Messages”. Hover over this and click the ‘Schedule New DM’ option.
Enter a couple of versions of your welcome direct message – there’s a section to click on to learn how to do this. It’s a good idea to mix up the people you’re going to recommend – maybe have three or four different options.
Above the box where you insert your message, click the “Auto Welcome” box to ensure the message gets sent to all new followers. This is important! I used to use TweetAdder to send my welcome DM’s, but it was a manual process, and sometimes I’d forget to use it and send the messages. With SocialOomph, it’s completely automated and I don’t have to worry about anything.
Mistakes I’ve Seen That You Should Avoid
I use HootSuite to manage my Twitter account, and I have a column set up to view all the DM’s I receive. Unfortunately, the majority are DM spam that provide no real value. I’ll usually unfollow these people.
There are some people who send DM’s that are valuable and interesting, but there are many that are ineffective.
Things I’ve seen that shouldn’t be repeated:
- DM’s that are over the 140 character limit so sentences are cut off abruptly (I’ll admit it, I did this by accident once!)
- DM’s that are trying to use spun text to create different versions, but something has gone wrong with the spinning, so you actually see two versions of the message.
- DM’s that are pointless – “Thanks for following – I don’t have anything special to say, but watch my tweets”. Is that really the best you can do? Don’t send me anything!
- DM’s that are lies – “I’ve created a special video just for you…”. Really. I don’t believe you. You’ve created a generic video that is trying to sell something and this is the only way you can get anyone to view it.
- If you are going to add a link, make sure it works!
When Else Should You Use A DM?
Rarely! I only use DM’s for my welcome message to new followers, and I automate it so I’m sure every new follower gets a message. I don’t use DM’s for anything else.
Whilst the option exists to send bulk DM’s to all your Twitter followers, please don’t. I hate it and it comes across as impersonal and spammy. It’s also a great way to lose lots of followers.
If you’ve got something valuable to say on twitter, do it in the public stream so everyone can see it, not by DM
Feedback I’ve Received
I’ve received some very positive feedback since I’ve started sending these DM’s out. A couple of things will happen when people read your message:
- If they haven’t heard of the people you’ve suggested, they’ll probably start following them.
- If they’re already following the people you’ve recommended, they’ll thing you’re a pretty smart person because you like the same people they like – it makes you look good.
I’ve had messages back from people thanking me for the recommendations. I even received one from John Haydon’s cousin telling me he was related to John!
So, go ahead and craft your direct message to your new Twitter followers. If you like the suggestions I’ve made, I’d love it if you’d add me to the list of people you recommend in your message – www.twitter.com/blogcoaching101 (@blogcoaching101). And don’t forget to add John Haydon as well – www.twitter.com/johnhaydon (@JohnHaydon).
What do you think? Is it ok to send out an automated welcome message? What’s the best welcome message you’ve received on Twitter?
And remember, if you’ve enjoyed this article, please re-tweet it.
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