Stop it. No, really. Stop it.
We don’t want no stinking automatic direct messages on Twitter.
What the hell? Do you seriously think this is networking? I know, I know. I did it, too — but at the very beginning when I first drew life into my account. It was a short-lived experience, because I saw that no matter how much I tried to make it personal, it came across as fake and self-promotion.
But dammit! Even those who should know better are still doing it.
There is nothing wrong with a DM if it is custom-crafted and meant to actually engage, not sell.
These are real messages, but with some of the identifying details redacted.
Don’t do this.
Hello. Thank you for the follow. XXXX is a XXXX based in XXXX. We specialize in XXXX, XXXX and XXXX. Feel free to recommend XXXX (themselves). Get in touch if we can help with any questions about XXXX. Have a wonderful week.
Know what happens to a message like this? The ignore button. And no, we will not like your page on Facebook.
This is like every other phishing message you get on any other network:
Hello how are you doing?
And this one — really?
Thanks for following! Please be so kind to reply my last tweet. Many thanks, XXXX.
These are okay.
Hey Debbie I’m really feeling the love, thanks so much for your RT. I told you my fans are important to me, so I’m sending some love in the DMs with 3 cool options I thought you’d appreciate knowing about… LET’S WORK TOGETHER…
The rest of the message is detailed as to how, where, and when to connect and network with this person. It’s obviously a copy and paste, but at least it is somewhat personalized. It is more engaging.
This one isn’t personalized, but I actually like it better, and I did honor the request.
Yo!!!!! Let’s Instagram this thing too!
Hi Debbie Elicksen, thanks for connecting with me!
Of course, I’m going to respond, even if it is just with an “of course!” It’s a start to getting to know one another.
A specific ask that doesn’t sound robocall-ish:
Hi Debbie, we’ve enjoyed your tweets about XXXX! We’re curious — in your opinion, what are the best XXXX solutions for XXXX? We recently put together this interactive infographic on ways XXXX can leverage XXXX to reduce costs and thought you might be interested. (link) Look forward to hearing from you!
Only cats can get digital love without engagement.
Show me a cute cat picture that hasn’t gotten one like.
Your automatic direct messages are just not that cute to elicit any like or a response.
It comes down to Networking 101. Don’t do unto others what you hate being done onto you. If you’re all about me, me, me, and like this, tweet that, follow this, only the bots will be your friend.
It’s like this. You’re a business developer for XYZ Company and you’ve managed to wangle a meeting with your prospective company’s board of directors. You enter the room with an XYZ Company logo’d t-shirt and before you’re even introduced, you spill into “buy my stuff” before the board even knows who you are, what your company does, or what product it sells. THAT is what an automated direct message looks like.
Humans, not robots.
Networking takes work. There is no quick way to connect and develop a relationship. It takes time and effort and involves being human, flaws and all.
People want to know it’s a real live human at the end of your Twitter account, not a bot or a phisher looking to steal an identity.
We don’t really care how many followers you have. If you are engaging, show that you genuinely care, and provide interesting and meaty posts for someone’s home feed, then you’re in. You have our attention. But as soon as you make it about you and not us, you’re out. Make people feel like they are not just a number and eventually, you’ll feel the love.
Debbie Elicksen is a virtual publicist, social media and marketing strategist. She helps businesses find and empower their voice through digital communications by creating visibility and brand awareness for new and seasoned organizations so that it helps them connect with quality people locally and worldwide to grow their business. She has over 20 years of direct media experience: TV, print, radio, and Internet; is a former sportswriter; and has written and published 14 books. @bookpublish101