Automated Direct Messages on Twitter: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Automated direct messages I have received recently

As businesses begin using Twitter as a part of their marketing strategy, every once in a while a follower will get hit with an automated direct message.  To save time and make instant contact, businesses use tools like TweetSpinner to send out a message that often links to a Facebook page, website, or blog.  However, is direct messaging a good idea?

Considering the number of automated direct messages (DMs) I get, I immediately want to answer “no” to this question. To this date, I have not come across a smart use of automated direct messaging. An intelligent use of automated messaging would include research and statistics about the audience you are trying to reach and providing them with a targeted ad or coupon they could benefit from. A simple keyword search of their profile or tweets could help with this message.  This concept is similar to what Facebook does with their advertising.

Unfortunately, most direct messages are nothing but spam – links to blogs, Facebook pages, and websites which only draw in a few followers leaving the rest a little peeved and eager to hit unfollow.  If you think about it, your audience will follow you if they are interested so allow them to build that relationship via conversation vs. an automated message that sends a bad first impression. It takes a while to interact with new followers however the ROI is higher than what you would expect from an automated message that might only target a few people.

The question remains: should you send out an automated message? If you can make it sound personal and target your audience, be my guest. If you’re Nike or Coca-Cola, it really doesn’t matter; your audience will love you anyway. In hindsight, let’s face it: you’re not Nike or any other major brand and if you’re new on Twitter, it would probably serve you best to research your audience by engaging with them online and developing a relationship.

After all, Twitter is a social network; not a robot. In order to make this social network work, you need to be “social.” I guess that wasn’t much of a surprise. Users get inundated with automated direct messages on a daily basis, don’t add to the chaos and seek to be different.

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