Why I still auto-DM new followers on Twitter

For the past three years 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.

So why do I still use one?

Aside from the fact that popular opinion and wisdom are not always mutually inclusive, take a look at my auto-DM:

Note: I use SocialOomph to rotate the message to recommend 57 different Twitter friends I know, love and respect.

I’ve been using this approach for over three years and on very rare occasions I’ll get a complaint. However, most of the responses I get are some variation of “thanks for the recommendations!”, which is often followed by a more meaningful exchange either via replies or DMs.

No more I me mine

There are three reasons why this auto-DM works:

  1. It’s useful to new followers– My first contact with with a new follower is about them – not my eBook or website.
  2. The recommendations are solid – The people I list in my auto-DM are people that I trust and respect. Some have great advice about blogging. Some tweet good tunes or humor. And others are downright amazing people.
  3. It’s useful to my peers – This auto-DM also promotes my friends on Twitter and send them new followers (if they aren’t already connected).

Technology isn’t good or evil – people are

What really bugs people about auto-DMs is the self-serving, self-promoting approach that we all love to hate. In other words, the issue is with the people that use auto-DMs, and NOT the technology.

Technology isn’t careless – people are

To be clear, I do make time to check out most of my new followers – and read their blogs – and ask them questions. In fact, my auto-DM is one way I use to spark these initial connections (in addition to time-tested people skills).

Tell me how much I suck in the comments below

Tags: ,

Why I still auto-DM new followers on Twitter

9 Responses

  1. Thanks for the recommendation! @ShaunJay/@CrossoverBBall 

    Crossover Basketball May 4, 2012 at 10:45 am #
  2. Hey, John! I’m admittedly one of the people who hate it, but I think this is a nice touch. Beyond self-serving auto-DM’s, I hate auto DM’s that try to appear as sincere connections when they really are not. I received an auto-DM from a high profile social marketer that read something like this:

    “Thanks for the follow, I can’t wait to read your tweets!”

    Thought it was pretty cool at first. But since he follows 100k people, I know it’s more than likely automated BS. Sad thing is that I’ll never know for sure.

    So as long as you don’t try to disguise automation as sincerity and you use it for good rather than evil, I won’t oppose it!

    Jon Loomer May 4, 2012 at 11:21 am #
    • May the 4th be with you!

      John Haydon May 4, 2012 at 11:34 am #
  3. This is thoughtful, John. A giving spirit is always welcome. I must say I haven’t seen any auto-DM that is about recommending others, a truly unexpected gesture. 🙂

    wchingya May 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm #
  4. Thanks for the advice! If you want to see some interesting facts, please follow (and encourage others to) @FearlessFacts:twitter on Twitter! 🙂

    FearlessFacts May 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm #
  5. I like that you’re putting some thought into it, but auto-DMing a list of others to follow without any info about why I might follow them still feels spammy to me. A message that said something like “Thanks for following. Check out these other important voices of nonprofit marketing…” might be better. But even then, I guess I’d ask you what’s your goal. If you want to engage new followers, is a robo-tweet achieving that?

    David Levy May 6, 2012 at 9:09 am #
  6. This is an amazing suggestion and one of the 1st I remember when i had just started becoming active on social media for business. Very impressive idea that encapsulates the spirit of what social media should always be about – network and community. I am putting together a presentation for a speaking engagement – “Unveiling the 7 Mysteries of Twitter” and am using this idea (and mentioning John Haydon) – Thanks

    Erik Karff August 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm #
John Haydon