You know those letters you get in the post addressed “to the householder”?
You have no idea what’s inside, but you have a pretty good idea that it’s spam.
Many won’t even open the envelope to see what’s inside, but others will in the hope that there’s something of interest.
Direct messages (or DMs) on Twitter’s private messaging system can be a little like that.
More often than not they are spam, but every once in a while you can receive something that you find useful or interesting.
What are DMs and why should you send them?
DMs allow you to send a 140-character message to another Twitter user as long as that user is already following you, and vice versa.
DMs, when used wisely, can be a perfect way to connect with a customer on a personal level. But you have to remember that you are on a social networking site so building relationships and trust is critical.
The problem with DMs is that they have been somewhat hijacked by spammers.
There are the usual ones that everybody is familiar with. For example, the “thanks for following me” or the “check out my site” messages, which are generally automated. At this stage in the Twitter game, people tend to see these messages as spammy.
Don’t worry, not all DMs are bad!
Yes, there are those who will just try to sell you something outright (have they no shame?). But a smart marketer, like you, will give away something the reader can take away with them for free.
For example, if you’re in the online handcrafted t-shirt, accessories and art retailing area, perhaps you could provide an offer or even something interesting and informative like a video on how your products are made.
Reasons to send a DM
- Attention: A DM may grab the attention of your followers more than a tweet since it may indicate slightly higher importance.
- Privacy: Not all messages are meant for the whole Twittersphere to see. You might also want a private response.
- Relationship: A DM can be a bit more personal than a generic tweet.
Simply put, keep your DMs simple!
You’re speaking privately to a person, not at them. Make them feel good about your company by being friendly and polite. People love the “looking forward to your reply” and “have a great day” touches.
The whole point of the DM is to build relationships with your followers. So if you’re reaching out to your followers by using DMs, that’s great. Just make sure that it doesn’t sound like spam and that you’ve included a call to action.