People like talking to other people, not answer-machines.
Remember the old saying “you only have one chance at making a good first impression“? Well, in most cases, using Auto DM (Direct Message) to thank someone who just started following you on Twitter IS NOT the right way to make that all important GOOD first impression.
6 reasons why Auto DMs are a bad idea (in 99% of the case)
- It is NOT introducing yourself. Twitter – just like any other type of networking, whether it’s online or in real life – is about creating a relationship with another person (you could say “engage”, but I will spare you any social media buzzword this time…). Have you ever attended business breakfast meetings? Now imaging someone just sent a tape recorder that would play a generic message regardless of who their audience was. Auto DM to new followers are exactly the same as playing that tape recorder during your 30 seconds introduction – it is not the right way to introduce yourself to a potential new business contact!
- It DOES NOT make you sound like you care. Remember: Twitter is nothing more than people networking and sharing information online. Using auto DM to thank me isn’t showing me you care, on the contrary! Do you really have so many new followers per day that you can’t take 30 seconds to look at my profile and say something meaningful? Then don’t say anything!
- I DO NOT like talking to a robot. By following you, I indicate that I am interested in what you are saying. If I wanted to talk to a machine, I would simply have picked up the phone and called my broadband provider or my bank – because all I really want is to know that “my call is important to them”!
- It IS an inconvenience. Are you saying anything worthwhile reading, or simply:
Thank you for following me. We do this and that and the other, so please visit our website to find out more.
Thank you for the follow. We use Twitter to talk about our company, our products and our services, and nothing else. Please give us your business!
Are you offering anything of value to me, or simply taking up my time, and filling up my inbox, with your unwanted, unsolicited message? This has a name. It’s called spam!
- It MAY just show your lack of understanding of what Twitter, networking or even doing business is about. Forget what you may have read in some $4.95 ebook, building a successful Twitter account takes time. Just like you wouldn’t expect to build a successful business by working on it 5 minutes a day, don’t expect to become a Twitter success story by spending less than an hour on it every single day, interacting with people you follow, and the people who follow you. 1 hour of actually talking with other people – not setting up auto tweets for your new followers.
- It just makes me want to UNFOLLOW you: all the above reasons might just have cost you the trust I had put in you when I started following you resulting in me pressing the unfollow button.
What about the remaining 1%?
Glad you asked. On some – rare – occasions, auto DM are a suitable option to greet new followers by offering them something of value to them.
- Really reward your new followers:
- An online promo code: if you have an online shop, or are a travel agent, airline, car rental company…
- A link to an offline promotion (pdf) to print and take to your place of business: restaurant, hairdressers, local IT shop…
- A link to an ebook (not the $4.95 type), something interesting where the follower can download it directly without having to enter their email address;
- Provide useful information:
- Updates on something disrupting your business: airline or railway strike, snow;
- Dedicated telephone line for Twitter users who would like to call;
- Say something really personal totally unrelated to your business, like a fundraising event you want people to be aware of;
Here are a couple of example (under 140 characters) that you could use as well:
Existing client? Here’s a code that will give you 5% off your next purchase. Code: 12XYZ . Not a client? The code works for you as well :)
Weather disruption may affect your travel plans, and we sincerely apologies for that. We aim to reply to all tweets within 2 hours.
Even if brand new Twitter users might be indifferent when they receive Auto Tweets (they appreciate having some activity in their timeline), I would bet that almost everybody else thinks Auto DMs are annoying. Therefore only use one if it really provide something of value to your new follower.