I have a lot of Twitter followers. As a result, I follow a lot of people on Twitter. And that’s just on my own Twitter account. I manage several client Twitter accounts, too. One thing you notice when you follow a lot people is that people love their auto DMs.
Auto DMs are automated direct messages. Twitter users take advantage of software designed to perform certain actions when triggered by other actions. For example, sending out prewritten direct message each time someone new follows you.
Auto DMs seem like a great way to engage when you’re short on time. In reality, they — and I chose this word carefully — suck. And Twitter needs to clamp down on them. Here are 3 reasons why:
Most Twitter users consider auto DMs to be the Twitter version of spam. In fact, Forrester Research conducted a survey a few years ago that showed roughly 3 out 4 people hate auto DMs and only 2 in 100 find value in them.
You can’t customize automated Twitter direct messages. The best you can do is parse out the Twitter name if it’s separated by a space and assume the first value is the person’s first name. With my account though (Hot Pepper Comm.), it just ends up as “Hi Hot, thanks for following me…”
Despite what some people think, auto DMs aren’t engaging. Response rates to them are low. Take this auto DM I received earlier this week on my Twitter account.
The irony in this auto DM is that the sender used an automated message to feign sincerity. Regardless, rather than sending the new follower a public tweet thanking them and perhaps even commenting on one of their tweets or retweeting one, this person took the easy yet unengaging way out.
As auto DMs increase and Twitter continues to ignore the problem, serious Twitter users will simply ignore DMs altogether just to avoid having to take the time to wade through all the DM spam on the off chance one of them might be illegitimate. At some point, the effort it takes outweighs the benefit received.
Take this tweet from Chicago-based Unity Brand Agency, for example:
Nothing personal.. It’s just that 97% of the DMs we get are from auto responding apps…thus we don’t check em ??? pic.twitter.com/YtpZwepckc
— Unity Brand Agency (@UnityLLC) September 12, 2016
So, Twitter, if you’re listening: please do something about auto DMs.