Twitter: Do Auto DMs do More Harm Than Good?

Twitter: Do Auto DMs do More Harm Than Good?

Image: Marketing Fundamentals Ltd

When was the last time you received an interesting automatic ‘thank you for following’ direct message on Twitter? Exactly! They are rarer than Albino Humpback Whales . Let’s start with the positives, the idea of saying ‘thank you for following’ is a good one and from a strategic point of view taking the opportunity to remind people what your core activity is also makes sense. Great! Unfortunately when it comes to the execution of a standard repeatable message most Twitter users come across as, well how can I say this…automated. This includes some verified users with millions of followers. Before I go any further let me give a full confession. I used to use an automated message delivered via Tweet Adder but with the passing of Tweet Adder in May: R.I.P. Tweet Adder I took the opportunity to reconsider this approach. Since then I have not sent any automatic DM messages.

Automatic Direct Messages Twitter

I want to be very clear, it is not that the words contained in your automatic DM are necessarily bad, it is the fact that you are taking a blanket approach. For example, perhaps a family member or personal friend follows you on Twitter and within a few minutes you have sent them a message promoting your book, course, webinar, website etc. It will understandably be perceived as impersonal and irrelevant. Yes, there will be occasions when the person who has just followed you matches the profile of your ideal target and the context is right for your message content but that will not be 100% of the time. If you are still using auto DMs I urge you to stop as soon as possible. More than likely your Auto DMs are doing more harm than good.

One of the wonderful aspects of working in the online environment is how quickly things change. The online space is dynamic and affords lots of opportunities for you to iterate your strategy, in fact a process of continuous learning, evolution and adaptation is a definite path to success.

Okay, what should you do instead? 

First of all, if you are not already doing this, view the Twitter profile and URL links of everyone who follows you. After you have decided whether you want to follow back, if you feel it is relevant send them a personal message. Try to compose a message that demonstrates a personal touch. Focus on communicating authentically and trying to establish a relationship. You do not have to send everyone a message. I know what you are thinking – this could take some time. That is the point, if you are willing to take the time to craft a personal message you may just have taken the first steps to establishing a new conversation that could lead to a meaningful connection and relationship. Surely, that is the point, isn’t it? Quality over quantity. In the words of Paul Graham from Y Combinator, 

‘Do things that Don’t Scale.’ – Paul Graham

The result of this is likely to be that you will develop fewer more qualitative connections and relationships. From the perspective of a B2B focused business, this a great result. You must decide whether this is the right approach for your sector.

Now is the time to make that change.

Last month Twitter made a significant changes to the functionality of Direct Messages. There is now no 140 character limit on Direct Messages. You can click to read their blog post, ‘Removing the 140-character limit from Direct Messages’ . This alone should prompt to reconsider your approach to Direct Messages.

Flashback to December 2013 and Twitter made another significant change, they allowed Photos in direct messages and swipe between timelines images. Visual images boost engagement and interaction on Twitter. You can learn more about that here, Twitter: Visual Content to TurboCharge Your Engagement (Video) .

This means, that instead of sending standard Auto DMs, you could be creating personalised messages some of which include images. I think you know what you should do.  Still using a Direct Message? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below.

Marketing Fundamentals Ltd is a B2B Content Marketing Agency in London that creates Content and manages Social Media for Professional Services firms. If you would like our help planning and executing Content Marketing and Social Media give us a call on +44 (0) 845 2264 247 or email us via

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,

Mike Pitt

Founder of Marketing Fundamentals Ltd

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This is blog post number 312.

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Founder of Marketing Fundamentals Ltd, Blogger, Author & Content Creator