February 22, 2012
I’m noticing more and more of this lately, and figure it’ll make a good topic for my first “Do’s and Don’ts” column.
Many folks – even those who have been working with Social Media for a good amount of time – will DM every new follower on Twitter with a message. Usually it’s a “thank you” with a request to follow them on other networks.
I’m very much against this for a few reasons:
1 – Twitter is about public conversation and social sharing. Yes, there are some times you need to DM a person. Usually it’s to give out an email address or phone number or some other information you don’t want the world seeing. Links to your Facebook profile and fan page are *not* private information.
2 – It’s annoying. Most of us get DM’s on our mobile phones or via email in addition to our Twitter clients. That means that I’ve got alerts going off to tell me that you’re looking for me to follow you on Facebook.
3 – It’s useless. The vast majority of people I know will specifically NOT follow you anywhere else, and many will immediately un-follow you on Twitter, for doing this. In other words, you’ve done the exact opposite of what you were trying to do with the DM.
Now, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t say hi to your followers. You absolutely should! But do it with an @Reply instead of a DM. This allows more than just your new followers to find you on other networks, and opens a public conversation, instead of a private message.
You’ll note that if you try to send the same message (e.g. “Thanks, follow me here and here and here, too!”) to dozens of people, Twitter will stop you. They’ll attempt to keep you from posting the identical message to multiple people, and lock you out as a spammer if you keep trying.
So, if it’s not acceptable to send a message to each person in an @Reply, why would you do it in DM’s, where you’re being annoying in addition to getting flagged as a spammer?
Talk to your followers, share that someone followed you with your network, share your other networks with your Twitter followers. Just reserve DM’s for their intended purpose – sending one person information that you don’t want the entire world to hear.