Caffeinated Marketing

Gettting through all the noise, one cup at a time

Be True to Your Twitter – the Auto DM Question December 1, 2008

Filed under: Tip of the Day,Twitter — jenharris @ 3:40 pm
Tags: , , ,

What is an Auto response on Twitter?
There are quite a few Twitter tools out there that make your first response to a new follower (usually through a direct message, or @ message) hands off (see: canned) and make the first conversation be from a bot & not “you”.  Can you tell that I am not a fan?…hence why I am not giving you any links to them….bad news sister…read on.

Who uses the auto DM (direct message) and should we expect it?
My husband recently received an auto DM from a former collegue of mine that has his own conuslting gig now.   As soon as he got it, he said “yea, as funny as “X” is, that is just wrong”…and he immediatly stopped following “X”.  Is the auto DM’r a busy guy?  Sure, but so are the likes of @jowyang & @guykawasaki and a LOT of other people out there who I feel respect their audience and would much rather connect with them on a 1:1 basis.  If you get what reads like a canned message, know that you just got put on a mailing list, and no 1:1 conversation will take place.  You are just another notch on the Twitter-belt of love.

How do I respond to new followers that follow me back?
Check them out or course!  
See what they have been saying the last 10 or so Tweets (if those are in the past 10 minutes, I usually pass: no TwitterWhore following here!). 
I read their blog, see if we have some common interest (business, sports, coffee, mothering, more coffee)
What is their Following to Follwer ratio?  Are they going to care if I say something that could be relevant to them?  Or am I following them to get their info that is relevant to me? 
Great thing about Twitter?  It is what you make of it.  

Why NOT have an Auto DM?
Breanne Potter  listed it as #2 in her Ten Commandments of Twitter that it shalt not be done (and the other 9 are really funny too).
It is the general consencious (71%) that an auto DM or @ message is just plain spam.  You are not contributing to the conversation right from the start & because you had an auto DM set up, you really don’t care what my contributions are either.  Again, this is my take on those that auto DM…you as an auto DM’r might possibly disagree with me due to your busy and time consuming schedule (which we all hear about….on Twitter….hmmmm).

But I am a Marketer.  I don’t have time to respond to every follower.
Ok then…don’t.  But know who your audience is.  Take 15 minutes every morning & find out who wants to hear you speak.  Find a few every day & thank them – personally!  Find something interesting in them that might actually spark a dialog between two people (or more, if others are listening) and take value in the quality, not the quantity.  Have a personality out there, not a campain slogan.

Now in the case of my former collegue and his auto DM, pretty funny guy & he does contribute to the local Twitter flair that happens here in Boise…but I bet he would have a lot more responses and conversations if his new followers heard from him right from the get-go, not a bot. 

Have I changed your mind?  Are you going to use an auto DM now, or are you going to disable yours right away?
If you are still looking for some do’s and do nots of Twitter read: 


21 Responses to “Be True to Your Twitter – the Auto DM Question”

  1. Sarah Lewis Says:

    I’ll admit that I’ve been tempted by the convenience of auto DM, but have resisted so far for the reasons you give.

    The net result is that I don’t DM as many of my followers as I might, but I believe the results are much better (actual connections vs. one-way “announcing”).

    I do really wish, though, that I had time to reply to everyone individually who interests me—Twitter is a total time-sink for me that way!

  2. jenharris Says:

    I agree on Twitter being a time sink.
    I would love to see some feature of Twitter & some features of TweetDeck & from what I hear, features of Twitterless all wrapped up into a Twitter CRM (Tac says a lot of people are wanting & working on the same thing).
    Thanks for the post!

  3. so now, exactly how do I turn on the auto DM tool? Haha, thanks for taking the time to put your thoughts together on this subject, Jen.

  4. Sarah Lewis Says:

    Coincidentally, I came across a relevant thread over at Get Satisfaction. Wondering what you think about this idea passed on by yourwebchick.

  5. Connie Says:

    I think I signed up for that auto DM message things. Never really thought about it until now. I liked the convenience but after reading your post I’m rethinking this decision. I don’t like automated comment replies, phone calls, why would I like an automated DM? Hmmm……

  6. jenharris Says:

    I always thought it was quite odd that some marketers have no problem doing things that they personally would never do or would never act on, but yet thats what they think the general public wants.
    I think Connie had an “ah haaa” moment! 🙂
    Happy Wednesday!

  7. […] Tweet Later allow users to automatically send a direct message welcoming new followers. Opinion is divided over the effectiveness of these tools: some say it is courtesy to welcome each new follower, but […]

  8. […] .02 on the Auto DM delima is this: Please do not have an Auto DM as a response if I start following you.  It is impersonal, fringes on rude & totally goes against the grain of the organic-ness of […]

  9. So True. I’ve been tempted to use Auto DM and searched for it last week but got distracted with my busy work load. I was at first was concerned that my followers might not be happy that I did not DM them to say thanks for following – as others do. Today I searched again for tools or ‘”how to” and came across your post.

    I’m olverwhelmed by the followers to keep up with DMs. Auto DM seems very convenient with a message fit for everyone. However, as you say one must be personal.. Be genuine in everything. If my followers are really concerned about following me because of my content or who I am then, not saying thanks right away should not cause them to leave.

    When I follow someone I do it because I’m genuinely interested in what they do or have to say. I don’t expect a response. When I myself see an Auto DM — and believe me you can tell. They are almost instant and have a sale pitch at times.

    Now I spend 30 minutes a day going through new followers and a few seconds perusing their twitter page. If I like what I see I follow back and DM a personal note. Other wise I just carry on.

    There is never an obligation to follow anyone. More so, Twitter is a community intended to attract genuine people and I hope it stays that way!

    Best of Success
    Devereaux (Cyphas) -you can follow me if you wish

  10. […] example, some Twitter tools deal with how to mass DM (direct message) your followers.  One is about managing the whole experience named Tweetdeck. While I am still […]

  11. rexharris Says:

    The more I learn about Twitter, the more I realize that the auto DM/auto follow doesn’t really do anyone any favors.

    I don’t know the exact numbers, but I know that most of the people using auto DM are not using it to assist them in building relationships… and he last thing that we need is one more “tool” that encourages spam.

    Based on recent events (i.e. Social Too removes auto DM feature), from what I’m hearing, it won’t be long before auto DM will be a thing of the past.

  12. […] it and still it continues.  And I am not the only one, if you search #unfollow you will find many many tweeps preaching against this horrible […]

  13. […] is coming up on May 16th.  I want to do something BIG.  My most read blog on a daily basis is The Auto DM Question, I thought I would expand on this a […]

  14. Maury Giles Says:

    Couldn’t agree more. It is so transparent I just think it tells you a lot about the person doing the auto response. They miss the whole point of what the technology is enabling. If we all dropped them like spammers… Well, we know they do it, though, because of the numbers game and it works with some people.

    Thx for post. Great stuff.


  15. […] Automatic direct messages are probably one of the top ways to get a quick unfollow and bad rap from the community. It is nice to automatically thank people for following you, but try just doing it yourself? You’ll avoid being tempted to include a link to your site and if they unfollow and follow you back again… they’ll get the same DM and realise pretty quickly how insincere you are. […]

  16. srdha Says:

    i gust want to say some thing “great job”

    Update your Twitter randomly according to your intrest Or, from Rss Feed Or, from your own tweet message list Or, Any combination of the above three

  17. Note: I have NO IDEA what this says – I couldn’t get it to translate on a few sites that I found…so feedback is encouraged!

    Normaal reageer ik niet op blogs, maar deze keer wil ik toch even aangeven dat het een mooie blog is!

  18. gilcarvr Says:

    i always send a personal message back to auto-dm saying get lost… also to those folks who can’t be bothered to personally validate…

    i don’t need to add impersonalities into my twitter life…

  19. Thank you for the great post. I agree with RexHarris. The also realize that the auto DM/auto follow doesn’t really do anyone any favors.

  20. […] not informational. It’s not personal. And most people view it as spam. In fact, a post written back in December 2008 gave good solid (but slightly misspelled) advice on how to use Twitter as a tool. It’s […]

  21. […] Connections: Automatic direct messages are probably one of the top ways to get a quick unfollow and bad rap from the community. It is nice […]

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