Unfortunately many twitter users don’t know how to properly use it and spread the rumors that twitter DMs (short for twitter direct messages) are a waste of time.
Others don’t bother to research twitter DMs themselves before announcing their “verdict”. They just heard some “social media guru” saying twitter DMs don’t work for marketing and that was enough for them to utter “their opinion”.
Samuel Goldwyn once said the infamous phrase: “When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you”. For people who blindly repeat the opinions of self-pronounced gurus without double-checking the facts, it seems to be very appropriate.
The Truth about Twitter DMs
We use Twitter DMs as a valuable component of social media marketing campaigns for all our clients. The information in this article is based on real digital marketing experience and not some cooked up opinionated theory.
Here is the truth about twitter DMs.
If managed the right way, twitter DMs could help:
- to identify twitter accounts worthy of further research,
- to build initial relationship with select users
- to generate quality leads
- to gather rare intelligence about other companies
- to find interesting insights on your topics of interest
If you handle them incorrectly, twitter DMs are not only an enormous waste of time but also a potential threat to the reputation of your brand.
10 Do’s and Don’ts of Twitter DMs
Here a 10 important Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind when using Twitter DMs
1) Don’t send more than 2 welcome DMs
2) Don’t send boring auto-DMs
3) Don’t send auto-DMs without call to action
4) Don’t send auto-DMs from validation service
5) Don’t click on links from DMs with suspicious messages
6) Do: Use the right DM tools or DM software to manage your DMs
7) Do: Regularly Check your DMs
8) Do: Filter your DMs
9) Do: Use DMs for private interactions
10) Do: Purge old DMs
Let’s take a closer look at each paragraph.
“Don’t send more than 2 welcome DMs.” There are many unwritten rules on Twitter. One of them is that it’s acceptable to send 1 or 2 welcome direct messages to new followers. But if you send more than 2 welcome DMs, you’ll cross invisible line and go into the land of unwelcome spammers. Don’t do it. It’s not only useless and unprofessional, there is a good chance that you would be either unfollowed or banned.
“Don’t send boring auto-DMs“. How many times have you seen a DM that says something like this: “Hey, thank you for following. Like my Facebook page: link. Visit my website: link”.
You have to remember that all people are tuned to “WIFM” wave and if you’re in dissonance with “What’s In It For Me”, you won’t get too far. Time is precious. Why on Earth would people like your page if you don’t offer anything in return? The same goes for a website visit. Offer them ethical bribe – like free download, discount or special offer or, if you’re an expert, share insights or professional secrets . Offer real value, not some regurgitated BS. Make them feel special and proud to be a part of your social community.
“Don’t send auto-DMs without call to action“. This one is self-explanatory. Let’s say you receive a DM with the following subject: “Thanks 4 following. I’m a best-selling author and I love to connect with thought leaders. Talk soon”. You take a notice of this DM, may be put it in a folder of people to follow up with, but since there is no call to action, you go on reading other DMs. If this person would provide a link in the DM with a compelling offer, there is a great chance his site would get a lot of visitors.
“Don’t send auto-DMs from validation service“. While other do’s and don’ts are highly recommended, this one is a matter of opinion. If you have a lot of followers, you will be followed not only by interesting people and companies, but by spam accounts as well. The right way to deal with this situation is set up filters in your DM management software, and let it handle it.
The wrong way (in my opinion) is to use a Twitter validation service like TrueTwit that will send verification DMs on your behalf. Why? If I receive a DM that says something like this: “this acct uses TrueTwit validation service. Click this link to confirm that you’re a real person”, I go on reading other DMs.
This direct message will be simply deleted as part of the routine DM purging procedure (more on this later). Since I don’t want to waste time with CAPTCHAs nor have any inclination to prove that I’m a real person, I NEVER CLICK ON THE TWITTER VERIFICATION LINK.
If this person decides to follow me on its own later on, that’s fine. I might follow back. I don’t use twitter validation service, so this person won’t have to jump through hoops to follow me.
“Don’t click on a links from DMs with suspicious messages“. If you’ve used Twitter for a while, you most likely received DMs that said something like this: “Did you see this picture of you? LOL” or “This Twitter user says really bad things about you” or “What are you doing in this video? LOL”.
Don’t click on these links! There is a high probability that they will lead you to phishing sites that will install malware on your computer and will use it to steal your financial information. They can also compromise your twitter account (more on this in the paragraph about brand reputation).
“Do: Use the right DM tools or DM software to manage your DMs“. Unfortunately twitter provides a very poor user interface to manage twitter DMs. I have to say that as far as DMs are concerned earlier twitter version had much better usability.
You can’t delete multiple DMs after you read them, you have to do it manually one-by-one, only a few recent DMs are displayed, and the rest is often unavailable, both incoming and outgoing DMs are jammed in the same popup. Basically, it’s very difficult to manage Twitter DMs from Twitter. To be efficient, you have to use third party services.
Professional version of SocialOomph (developed by Dewald Pretorius) allows you to easily manage the direct messages of all your Twitter accounts from one console. You can quickly set up auto-DMs to welcome your followers.
Auto Twitter DMs are an excellent source of fresh and targeted leads, don’t underestimate this opportunity. The program also deals with SPAM – you can set up your filters, and it will make sure you never see the DMs from these accounts again.
“Do: Regularly Check your DMs“. You have to check your DMs regularly. Otherwise you could not only miss and important potential client or partner, the reputation of your brand could be at risk.
Let me explain. There are millions of people who unwittingly click on links in phishing DMs (as was explained earlier). Not only they become victims of identity theft, their twitter accounts begin sending pornographic/viagra DMs or DMs with links to phishing sites.
If DMs are not checked regularly, it may take a long time before twitter user identifies and rectifies the situation. In the meantime people who follow this twitter user might think that those nasty DMs are sent by him/her. The best case scenario – this user will be unfollowed, the worst case scenario people will be so upset about this inappropriate DMs that they will tweet/ blog about it which could lead to serious reputation management issues.
“Do: Filter your DMs“. Once again, you need twitter DM management software for this. See a DM with suspicious message? Filter this user, so you never see DMs from him again. See a DM from a superstar? Respond with personal DM and start building a relationship.
“Do: Use DMs for private interactions“. Never tweet your email or other personal information in a public tweet. Instead, use DMs for this purpose. Also use a DM if you want to offer a certain person a super-deal not available to general public.
“Do: Purge old DMs“. Old DMs tend to grow in your DM folder. Sift through them regularly, find the diamonds in a rough, filter spam, and delete the rest. It doesn’t have to be a painful one-by-one deletion process. Just use Twitter DM purge services.
That’s it for today. Please leave comments about your experience with Twitter DMs, which features would you like to learn more about, etc.