Okay, I didn’t really get that tweet from someone, but I might as well have. The auto DM (direct message) has become the ‘cockroach of Twitter’ (says Kane Consulting), and I couldn’t agree more.
When Twitter started, and throughout its phenomenal growth since 2006, active users discovered quickly that’s it’s virtually impossible to keep up with new followers, thus the birth of the autoDM — a message generated by a third-party program (for the record, Twitter doesn’t recommend them and suggests you unfollow people who do it).
The trouble with the ‘Thank you for the follow,’ DM is that people decided to make it a marketing and/or selling opportunity (as in ‘I don’t know you, we’ve never met, but will you like my Facebook page, read all my books, RT my entire timeline, and fold my laundry?’), which sound pretty ridiculous. But the requests people make in DMs have become so aggressive and outrageous, it’s almost the same thing.
Can AutoDMs help or hurt you? According to Optify, in a study they conducted, AutoDM use led to a 245% increase in unfollow rate. Ouch. So, if you have an autoDM set up (usually through sites like JustUnfollow or SocialOomph), go in and delete that mofo.
There are numerous reason to NOT autoDM people, but let’s review the main ones:
- It’s lazy. Listen, I’m a busy girl. I run a lot of streams. As much as it pains me not to be able to thank every single person (and bot and spammer) for the follow, somehow we all get by. As a follower, I prefer you not thank me. Crazy, I know. Rather, do something else, like: retweet me, introduce me to someone you think I’d like, share my books, read my blog, join my newsletter mailing list, etc., all activities which are other-focused.
- It’s impersonal. We don’t know each other, so when you ask me to like, buy, review, etc and we’ve only just not met, it tells me this: you are not only lazy, but you don’t give a shit about me, my interests, or who I am. People are on Twitter for all kinds of reasons — rarely, however, to do stuff for you, the person they’ve never met and aren’t likely to, ever, in real life, especially if you send them a request to do something.
- Shortcut. Companies decided to try to make automated DMs more ‘personal’ by allowing you to customize a message, and even add in the follower’s first and/or last name. This makes the autoDM even funnier and the automation more obvious. For example, my business name is @BadRedheadMedia. So I get DMs that say, ‘Welcome to my stream, Bad,’ which makes me laugh every time…after I unfollow, of course.
If you’re not sure what to say on Twitter, gawk (observe) for awhile. A good guideline is: 1) be yourself and 2) ask yourself this question: would I say in real life what I’m saying here? If the answer is no, then don’t do it!
I’m sure you’re probably a very nice person who thinks that thanking people is more important than not thanking them. And for the most part, I get that. But you need to savvy up: there are many ways to thank people (as I mentioned above) and think about this: wouldn’t you rather someone retweet you or leave a blog comment than send you a message asking you to do stuff for them?
Twitter (and for that matter, all social media), is about relationship-building. It’s not about the hard sell. Those who do nothing but request you do stuff for them are likely not selling many books or creating a dedicated fan base. Have a little self-awareness and recognize that this practice not only hurts you and your credibility, but can create issues as you attempt to grow your account.
(And don’t even get me started on TrueTwit validation — an automated DM that asks me to confirm that I’m not automated. Run away.)
What say you?
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