When was the last time you checked your Direct Message inbox on Twitter, and actually found an important, worthwhile, or interesting message? Sure, Twitter is doing its best to improve how DMs work, by enabling group messaging and allowing anyone to receive DMs from anyone else, regardless of whether the two are following each other… but the day-to-day DM experience remains frustrating for most Twitter users. And these are some of the main culprits:
Annoying DM #1: Welcome!
These DMs welcome you as a new follower of that account. As if you had forgotten that you followed that account in the 30 seconds between pushing “follow” and receiving the DM.
Example: “Wow, thanks for the follow! We really hope you like our Twitter community and can’t wait to read your tweets!”
Annoying DM #2: Download now!
The “Download now” DMs appear, at first glance, to offer up useful content. However, since the DMs are sent to anyone and everyone who follows the account, that content definitely won’t appeal to the majority of followers. Plus, they’re usually trying to sell you something.
Example: Hey! If you’re into [topic of account], why not check out our free [whitepaper/ebook/blog post/podcast/cupcakes-with-cute-flowers-on-them fan site]: [link]?”
Annoying DM #3: Follow us everywhere!
OK so you’ve followed them on Twitter… but now they want you to follow them everywhere they have even the smallest web presence. Ready to spend the next hour filling in forms and signing up for networks you’ve never heard of to support this Twitter account in need?
Example: “We’re so glad you followed us on Twitter… so why not Like us on Facebook, Pin some of our blog posts, join our community on MyOtherSpace, give us a five-star rating on Yelp, and subscribe to our seven-times-daily email list?”
Annoying DM #4: We’re adding value!
These DMs are similar to the Download Now messages, in that they are offering something “free” as a thank you for following. But, just like gated content, consultations and appraisals are rarely free in the long-term (and if they are, they probably won’t be of much value to your business).
Example: “Thanks for the follow! Want a free consultation? Send us an email and we’ll set one up!”
Annoying DM #5: We’re blatantly selling to you!
At least these DMs are honest about what they’re trying to do – take your money. With not even as much as a “thanks for following,” these guys go right into the sales pitch.
Example: “We’re the number one [type of business] in the country! Our product has a gold star rating. Buy our product today! [link]”
The reason these DMs don’t work is simple: they come off as spam. Plus, most are trying (usually with little to no subtlety) to sell you something.
Any user that sees one of these DMs is going to know that they are built off a template, and not targeted to their Twitter profile. Regardless of how casual the language, the content simply cannot be effectively positioned so that it feels “personal” to each user. And so, ultimately, these types of DMs will, at best, be ignored, or used as a reason for a quick unfollow.
Keep your eyes peeled for next week’s post about the right ways to use DMs to improve your brand awareness, marketing efforts and more.