If you have a small business, chances are you have already have a Twitter account for it. If you’ve looked into how best to use Twitter for your business you will have found plenty of advice. Usually that advice points you in the direction of engagement and good quality content. If you chat and engage with your friends online, lots of good things happen. If you provide quality posts and content, people will follow and engage more. Which leads to more sales or ‘conversions’.
Trouble is, this involves a lot of work, engaging and producing quality content. Some larger businesses outsource this work to Social Media Management companies. Or employ their own social media team. Smaller businesses don’t have the resources for this. Small business owners usually have enough work to do managing their business so any tool they can use to automate their Twitter marketing is an attractive one.
So we come to tools like Crowdfire, ManageFlitter, Socialoomph et al. They help you manage your Twitter account(s). They offer plenty of powerful features which really take the effort out of growing your followers and engaging with them. Brilliant.
Some of these tools offer the ability to send a pre-written message to anyone who follows you on Twitter. As a Direct Message, or @ mention. Brilliant I hear you say! You can engage with them without the need to sit at the keyboard / touchscreen.
But hang on.
Let’s look at this from a customer’s point of view. Or the point of view of people you want to network with online.
So you see an account that you might like to follow. They seem to be tweeting things which interest you and are genuine and chatty. Maybe you’re interested in their products. You hit the follow button. You may be adding a few accounts at once, as part of your own networking or marketing. A short while later, ping! A notification on your phone or device. Someone has sent you a DM! Great! But wait, it’s a spammy and obviously pre written message. How do you feel? Mildly annoyed. It’s pretty unlikely that you’re going to engage with an automatic message right?
Now imagine that you’ve followed several people. Boom! Your Twitter inbox is full of spammy messages.
“Hey! Thanks for following! Please like us on Facebook too! Check out our Website!”
“Hey Droplet! Thanks for the follow! Do you use Twitter for business or pleasure?”
Now that is really annoying because there may be genuine messages in amongst all that spam, but you’re going to miss them unless you take the time to delete each message in turn. Auto DMs have rendered the whole Twitter direct messaging system unusable. Most small businesses ignore their Twitter inbox nowadays, potentially missing leads.
So how effective are auto DMs?
I don’t have any statistics to share, as every campaign is different, but lets think about spam in general. Obviously some people respond to spam, or people wouldn’t do it. Around 1%, but if you send enough spam, 1% is a lot of people.
So by sending out automated Twitter direct messages, you are pissing off around 99% of the people who follow you. Some of whom will unfollow immediately.
Is that worth it? Only you can answer that. If you are using Twitter as it is intended, as a social network where people chat with people, auto DMs are a really bad idea.
If you use auto DMs, please stop it.
What could you do instead? Well follow the best advice – engage personally with people, create quality content. Reply to people, retweet people. Be helpful. Respond when people ask their followers a question. You can do this with just a few minutes a day. Don’t just broadcast your sales pitch over and over.