A Twitter Study in Contrasts

Last week I discovered that someone I knew was on Twitter.  We weren’t close acquaintances, but I knew the person well enough to send a personal note to say Hi and I was glad to see her on Twitter.  A day or so later I got what was obviously an auto-DM with the usual “Thank you for following – check out my website…” content.  No reference to knowing me. No warmth.  But I guess it saved time.

By contrast, this weekend I chose to follow someone who had engaged one of the people I follow in conversation.  I got back a lovely personal note – the sender had taken time to look at my tweets and congratulated me for launching my blog.  I’ve never met this person and will likely never meet her face-to-face – but the impression she left me was indelible.  I wrote her back and thanked her, and she responded by saying that she had just been wondering if going to the trouble of answering people personally was worth it – and thanked me for helping to answer that question.

Let me say up front that I am woefully behind at thanking people for following me.  Having to uproot myself and get used to a new life situation has knocked me off kilter.  But I’d rather fall behind and send out a personal note apologizing for being late and thanking everyone for showing interest in me than blast out messages that don’t represent who I really am.

Twitter has taught me that social media, when used correctly, is SOCIAL – open, transparent and respectful.  I am deeply grateful that I have so many people who’ve chosen to follow me.  I think I need to show them that I really care.  Generating automatic DMs doesn’t do that for me.

I’m interested in hearing what you think.

3 thoughts on “A Twitter Study in Contrasts

  1. Cathy,

    I liked your post. We need more discussion on topics like this. Social Media is wonderfully simple once we get it, but it is a huge mind-shift from what we’ve known.

    Question: I’d love permission to add this post to my blog with proper acknowledgement, of course. OK?

    I believe in you,
    Wilma Woodson of Denver

  2. I agree that the vast majority of automatic DMs to greet new followers are annoying and impersonal. That’s the result of bad copywriting.

    Here’s the thing…

    If you look at an auto-welcome DM as another marketing channel, your auto-DM is gonna suck.

    If you look at an auto-welcome DM as simply an efficient way to do with 50 people per day what you used to do at 5 people per day, then it’s authentic.

    But how about we put the opinions aside and look at actual data? Here’s what my data told me about my auto-DMs:

    1) With my auto-DMs, engagement by new followers increased by 120% vs. no DM. Engagement = an @ msg initiated by them, not me. My auto-DM is designed to invite further conversation. In that regard, it’s an unqualified success.

    2) When I was using my auto-DMs, I received over 20 messages either thanking me for my message or even complimenting me on my auto-DM. It was apparent that most never realized it was an auto-DM, and even those who did still appreciated it. I used it for weeks before I had ONE negative comment from a recipient.

    It’s all well and good to talk about giving everyone the personal touch, but the rules change at some point. That point is going to be different for every individual, but everyone hits it eventually. I can’t treat 50 people per day the way I used to treat five people per day. But I’d like to think that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, because that’s the alternative. An auto-welcome DM is as close as I can come to treating people the way I did at 5 per day.

    So I think when you come from that frame of mind and write the right message, auto-DMs are a great tool for simply increasing your efficiency while still being “authentic”.

  3. Cathy, I agree completely that automatic DMs to greet new followers are annoying and impersonal.

    From our chats you know I am a relatively new tweeter. Here’s the thing – I have been sending DMs to people who follow me saying “thanks for the follow” – which I now see LOOK like they’re automatic. But they’re not. Ahh, learning learning.

    I’ll say more personal things from now on!

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