For the past few months I have been using an auto-DM on Twitter despite the popular opinion that they are evil, and that if you use one, you are a self-centered marketing moron.
Three posts that sum up the current feeling about Twitter auto-DMs:
- Be True to Your Twitter – the Auto DM Question from Caffeinated Marketing says , “You are not contributing to the conversation right from the start & because you had an auto DM set up, you really don’t care what my contributions are either.”
- SocialToo Dumps Auto DM Support from ReadWriteWeb says “we’re a bit sick of them too.”
- Chris Brogan writes in Social Media is No Place for Robot Behavior, “You don’t need to use robots to thank me and click on your stupid website.”
I also found a survey on the topic:
How to be useful
So why do I still use one?
Before I answer that, take a look at my auto-DM:
Note: I use SocialOomph to rotate the message to recommend 37 different Twitter friends I know, respect and love./p>
No more “I me mine”
My first contact with with a new follower is about them.
The people I list in my auto-DM are very cool people that I respect. Some have great advice about blogging. Some always tweet good tunes from Blip.FM. And others are downright awesome human beings.
This auto-DM also promotes my friends on Twitter by sending them new followers (if they aren’t already connected).
Laura Fitton conducted an informal survey on auto-DMs and concluded that “people were pretty clear about HATING auto-dms with “links to my stuff” “free eBooks,”or anything self-promotional. Most people agreed that a simple “thanks for following” was okay.”
3Technology isn’t good or evil – people are
I’ve never gotten one complaint about this approach, but in fact, have had people thank me for recommending some very cool people to follow.
Now, I’m sure there are folks who were offended by the fact that I use an auto-DM – regardless of the content. But that’s not my problem – really. They opted-in simply by following me. One click and they can opt-out – without any need to explain.
Technology isn’t careless – people are
Instead of using an auto-DM, I could take the time to research every new follower and make recommendations by hand – like I did when I first started out on Twitter. But as my new follower rate increased, I found that I started missing people – completely. And it bugged me. Eventually, I concluded that a little value to everyone is better than no value to some.
I still check out most of my new followers – and read their blogs – and ask them questions. I get to know them. But my auto-DM is like given them a Werther’s hard candy before saying hi.
I’m certainly not a genius. I just thought long and hard for weeks, “How can I create value for others in everything I do with Twitter?”
Just because my new follower DMs are automated, doesn’t take away the fact that a lot of care, maintenance and good intention goes into managing them.
For those of you who are interested, you can stop receiving auto-DMs from both Tweetlater and SocialToo. Instructions can be found at HHow to STOP Those Freakin Auto Dms