Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

Five Reasons Why Auto DMs On Twitter Are Bad and What They Tell Me About You

Twitter bird

On Twitter, I tend to follow back just about anyone who follows me. Whether I continue to follow them, though, is up to them.

It only takes one wrong move to completely lose a follower or to find yourself blocked and reported for spam, and that wrong move is frequently an auto DM. An auto DM is a direct message that is instantly sent to your new followers, and, for a variety of reasons, it is a good rule of thumb to avoid using them.

Five Reasons Why Auto DMs On Twitter Are Bad and What They Tell Me About You

  1. Auto DMs are spam. Your auto DM is untargeted and impersonal, which tells me that you would rather drop commercial spam on the down-low than actually converse with me as an individual.
  2. Auto DMs alienate you from your followers. People can smell a robot a mile away on Twitter, and your automatic welcome message or push to buy your product will unplug a follower from your message within seconds. Your lack of interest in personal engagement will translate into your followers' lack of interest in you.
  3. Auto DMs destroy your credibility. Your auto DM will come off as a sales pitch, whether it is one or not. Throwing a sales pitch at a follower before you have built more of a relationship with them makes you look untrustworthy.
  4. Auto DMs increase your risk of being unfollowed. Your auto DM, being as alienating and sales-pitchy as it is, will irritate your followers, because it is pushy, impersonal, and makes them feel devalued. It will inspire them to unfollow you rather than stick around to find out what you have to offer them.
  5. Auto DMs can result in the suspension of your Twitter account. Many people block and report as spam any accounts that auto DM them with useless information, so, along with losing followers, you might lose your Twitter account altogether.

Twitter is social media, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that social media is about social engagement, so imagine, if you will, that your Twitter followers are fellow guests at a dinner party to which you have been invited. When it comes time to introduce yourself to your fellow dinner guests, do you send a robot in to shove a few sales flyers into their breast pockets before you even say hello?

No, of course not. First, that would be ridiculous. Second, it would be rude and offputting. Third, that kind of behaviour might just get you ejected not only from that particular dinner party but also from any future dinner party, as well. And the icing on the cake? No one would be sad to see you go.

The auto DM is usually a dead end communication-wise. Instead, take the time to engage in conversation with your followers on Twitter. Connect with people. Talk with them, not at them. Listen to what they have to say and share. You'll find that a few dedicated followers are worth far more than a large number of followers who no longer want to hear what you have to say.


160/365: Consumption

159/365: Slow Swing