The Pros and Cons of Auto-DMs for Twitter Marketers

On Twitter direct messages (also called DMs) are tweets that you send out to a follower that only he or she can see. Whereas other tweets are public to all your followers, the DM is a private message that functions like an e-mail, but with 140 characters.

An auto-DM is an automatic response that you can send to someone who follows you. You can set up auto-DMs by using a website service such as SocialOomph or software packages such as Tweet Adder.

However, keep in mind that sites that help automate tasks on Twitter, such as SocialToo, have dropped support of auto-DMs because most people don’t like them. You can find a Stop Auto DM petition in the top results of a Google search for Twitter auto DM.

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You may want to use an auto-DM at times, although you shouldn’t that often. Here are a few reasons to use auto-DMs:

  • Time management: If you use auto-DMs, you can save yourself a lot of time sending thank-you messages to new followers, introducing your product or service to people and sending links to your Web site to help build your readership or Web traffic.

  • Fast and timely responses to followers: If you like to respond to new followers, you can set up an auto-DM so that you immediately send a welcome message to each new follower. An auto-DM is one of those “set it and forget it” features for Twitter. Set it once, type in a message that includes a link to your Web site, and then just measure how many clicks you get. You can even consider changing your message and link every 30 days to measure which phrasing gets the best results.

Don’t use auto-DMs too often. In fact, the reasons not to use them far outweigh the reasons to use them:

  • Brand degradation: A lot of people may use auto-DMs, but most twitterers don’t like getting them. If you send impersonal auto-DMs to people, they aren’t going to respect you or your brand very much, much in the same way as they wouldn’t start a conversation with a robot.

  • Looking lazy: Although you may see auto-DMs as a way to save time, others may see you as lazy.

  • Impersonal touch: Twitter is all about personal conversations. You can’t start a personal conversation by sending a form tweet to anyone and everyone.

People have some valid arguments in favor of auto-DMs, but you can find a lot more made against them. If you want to be a successful Twitter marketer, don’t sabotage yourself right out of the box with new followers by sending them auto-DMs.

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