sly : marketing

Automatic Direct Messages Done Right

automatic direct messages yes or no?

Ask yourself this question; should you use automatic direct messages?

Yes or No?

I really enjoy this discussion. I guess we all have strong opinions on this question. Let me first give you some details, and let’s discuss it after you’ve read what I have to say. There are definitively some reasons why you should consider using automatic direct messages, and there are some reasons why you shouldn’t.

I have been thinking a lot about what I should be doing in order to automate parts of my marketing, and automatic direct messages are part of this strategy (at least for now). Don’t get me wrong. I’m not lazy, not at all. The reason I want to automate parts of my marketing is because I can only do so much alone, and I’m focusing on writing a novel. And, I want to be present, and keep building relations online.

I decided to test automatic direct messages on Twitter. I had a very interesting talk with Ameena Falchetto about this. She was sceptical, and I was too. To me, automatic direct messages are almost as annoying as pop-ups (I have stopped using Pop-Up domination). But there’s a difference, and I love testing.

Automatic Direct Messages are less annoying than Pop-ups

It’s important to understand that automatic direct messages, are the direct messages on Twitter that you receive when you follow someone. This is the only time you’ll receive it. For instance, as soon as you follow me on Twitter (click here to follow me), you’ll receive the automatic direct message.

I only send this message once, and only if you follow me on Twitter. And the reason I’m sending it, is because I really want to connect with you. I want to learn from you, and I want to teach you what I know. So it’s not just an in-your-face marketing message on a random site you’ve found via Google.

The Two Rules of an Automatic Direct Message

As soon as I decided that I wanted to test an automatic direct message, I ended up talking with Adrienne Smith and she helped me a lot. By the way, it’s amazing how much help and support I’ve received from her. She told me what I should be doing if I was going to test automatic direct messages. And what she said made a lot of sense.

Close to 99% of the automatic direct messages I receive, are plain ads, and pure spam. That’s my opinion.

I ended up using two rules, based upon what Adrienne told me. The first rule is, connect with the new follower. The message isn’t about me, it’s all about the follower. It’s a thank you for following, and how much I appreciate it. I’m not pushing anything. I really do want to connect. And that’s the reason why I am using Twitter. It’s very easy to start a conversation, and keep a relationship alive.

The second rule of automatic direct messages is about helping the new follower to promote herself. I have created a post called Promote yourself by using a different approach, and this is a post where I want my readers (and followers) to write about themselves and promote who they are and what they’re doing. I link to this post in the message. I truly believe that this is helpful. They’ll get a backlink, but they also get a chance to describe who they are, and what they’re business is all about. And this is their opportunity to connect with me and my readers. I read all the comments, and I reply to all of them, and I try my best to help all the people who are contacting me.

Does automatic direct messages work?

Yes, automatic direct messages works. No doubt about it. I started using it on October 6, and by tracking the clicks, I can see that it has received 182 clicks from October 6 to November 19. And remember, this is all automated, and the same message.

I believe that the reason why automatic direct messages like mine works, is because it stands out from all the other messages, and I’m doing a genuine attempt of being real and connecting with real people. I’m not hiding behind an avatar (it’s me), and I’m using my real name. I’m not selling anything.

So, maybe it’s time you reconsider using automatic direct messages?

Or maybe not…

Let’s discuss, what’s your opinon on automatic direct messages?

34 responses to “Automatic Direct Messages Done Right”

  1. Adrienne says:

    Hey Jens,

    Well, I personally love this message and of course you know I agree with you. I too have had people want to argue this point and I can see why some people can’t stand the automated direct messages from Twitter.

    The majority of them are either spam, they are inviting you to stop by their Facebook page to “get to know them better” or inviting them to check out their blog. That’s all well and good but everyone is making it about them. Remember it’s not about you, it’s about them.

    Let them stop by your place and introduce themselves to your readers. Some will hang around longer to see what you’re all about because it’s a different kind of approach. Some won’t but that’s okay too. The ones that stay will have been worth your time.

    Great post and thanks for the mention. You know it’s always appreciated.

    Hope you are enjoying your day. I’m off to spend the holiday with family so I’ll catch up with you later!


    • Jens says:

      Hey Adrienne,

      You’re my true inspiration when it comes to the automated message. I was a little sceptical at first, but it works great. I might adjust it a little, but so many people have contacted me because of this message and the post is my most “popular” post as well… because so many new people are seeing it and leaving their comments (tell me who they are). It’s awesome.

      I hope you’re having a fantastic holiday.

  2. Carolyn says:

    I’m not surprised Adrienne was helpful, though I am surprised at the outcome of your test. It sounds like something I should try. What sort of posts do you recommend that I link to?

    • Jens says:

      I would write a brand new post, one similar to the one I wrote. The whole purpose of the post should be that you want your readers to promote themselves. You want them to add their affiliate links, the links to their blogs etc.. When they do write about themselves, it’s so much easier to connect with them, and this is an opportunity that most people are just waiting for (it all depends on your readers, but if it’s business owners, and people blogging, this is perfect).

      This blog post is all about opening up. You could do something like 5 things about yourself, and add the topics/headlines you want to know more about, and then you write about them first, and then you tell the readers that “now it’s your turn”).

      Link to this blog post from your automated dm, and tell them that you invite them to promote themselves at your blog (a high traffic blog) for free. This works for me 🙂

  3. lacarpet says:

    Hey Jen,
    As a small firm owner, your headline insights me and I am so eager to learn this new techniques from you. This automatic direct messages of you has the senses of becoming successful, that is why I wanted to add it on my marketing strategies. Thanks.

    • Jens says:

      You should try this, and be sure to track your clicks. If you don’t get enough clicks, you can just adjust your message.

      Thanks a lot for stopping by.

  4. Sounds wonderful Jens!

    I have only heard that DM are all spam and ideally we should not be sending such messages, but after reading your wonderful posts, I sure feel it is something worth trying.

    I like the reply you gave to Carolyn and the idea seems wonderful as well. I think I shall try doing something on the same lines as you graph sure seems to have risen ever since you tried DM.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Jens says:

      Hi Harleena,

      I’m not sure if it’s such a good thing to use an auto DM, but it works that’s for sure. The reason I’m not sure if it’s such a good thing to do, is that some of the most important people might unfollow you right away. And to me, it’s not about the quantity of followers (or clicks), it’s about the quality. So, you might annoy some people by using an auto DM.

      I’m not sure if I’ll continue to use it, but I get a lot of traffic this way and I meet some very interesting people as well 🙂

  5. David Moloney says:

    Hi Jens,

    Most auto messages are becoming wallpaper and can actually discourage further interaction with the person you choose to follow. By being genuine and clearly not going for a sale or lead, you’re more likely to get someone to click and visit.

    • Jens says:

      Hi David,

      Absolutely. I’m still thinking about whether I should stop using the auto DM or not. I know that many people just hate them, and even though I think I’m using an auto DM the right way (if there are such a thing as the right way to use an auto DM), I’m still annoying some people. But, I get extra traffic this way, and I even get to meet some very interesting people by doing it. I’m not sure what I should be doing 🙂

  6. Keith says:

    Well, it doesn’t matter to me how many tests you run, I still don’t like the thought of using a message that is meant to be for private conversations for self promotion of any kind.

    It would be one thing if something was in the message that was completely unique and maybe even funny as hell, something that stood out, but without a link at all…. now that I could deal with, but most of the time if I get an auto DM from anyone, I auto-unfollow….

    • Jens says:

      Hi Keith,

      Your thoughts on this is very interesting, and it means a lot to me. I find it fascinating that an auto DM brings strong opinions, like pop-ups. I have talked to many people who are leaving blogs who are using pop-ups without even reading a single word. The same goes for an auto dm.

      I agree with you, and I’m not sure if I’m going to keep the auto DM. It was just a way to test if it works (and it does work when it comes to traffic and conversations), but on the other hand I might lose interesting people this way (who’ll unfollow me as soon as they receive the dm).

      I’m also thinking about the private part of the dm. What I’m doing is I’m encouraging the person to connect with me (it’s the same I’m doing with AWeber and my autoreponder). I want people to want to connect with me. I’m taking the first action, and it’s the only action I take. I’m not promoting anything really, other than the part where I want to connect and start having a conversation. To me, this is not spam, even though I have automated it… but I find it annoying as well (but not as annoying as pop-ups).

      By the way, I read every single DM I receive 🙂

      • Keith says:

        Well, I won’t be unfollowing you Jens, and as I have said before, there is no “right” way to use Twitter, if it is working for you and driving traffic, increasing sales, and encouraging interaction…. then who am I to say it’s wrong? I just typically get annoyed and automatically think people completely automate everything they do if they auto dm.

        It generally irritates me, but I am not your typical customer either….

        • Jens says:

          You’ve got a very interesting point. You’re not the typical customer, and I’m not either. And the people who are clicking on the links of the auto DM, they’re probably newbies and not that familiar with marketing. I’m not sure if they’re the people I should be targeting, and I’m sure that I don’t want successful marketers to unfollow me. The reason why I started my blog in the first place was to learn and give something back. Not to get people annoyed and stop following me 🙂

  7. Bill Dorman says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I am lazy and if it’s more than one step involved you will probably lose my attention. I joke about that, but it’s really not that far from the truth.

    Personally, I do not like automated direct messages. If I follow someone back and receive a DM, it’s not a deal breaker but I just erase it, regardless of what it says. If I know you, you will probably get more courtesy, but if you are a stranger, it probably won’t hold my attention.

    Does that mean the chances of me engaging with this person are pretty slim because they just slipped in the stream? Probably, and there might have to be 2-3 touches before I’m compelled to pay attention.

    I understand why you are doing it, and like I said it won’t chase me off, but it won’t spur me into action either. That’s just the way I roll though….:)

    PS – Your submit comment bar is another story however. It is blocking the comment screen so I have to scroll the screen to the very top of the page so I can type. Same with the check boxes as well………just sayin’……

    • Jens says:

      Hey Bill,

      I’m also erasing the automated direct messages, but I always read them first. 99% of them are pure spam, and that’s the reason why I keep deleting them. I’m a little torn between if I should continue to use it or not. But I’ll probably end up not using it, since so many awesome people find them annoying 🙂

      I’m not sure if I understand what you just said about the comment screen. I don’t have any problems with it. Are you using Internet Explorer, or what browser are you using? I’m on Mac, and I’ve tested it with Safari, Firefox and Chrome.

      Thanks a lot for letting me know.

      • Bill Dorman says:

        I use Google Chrome so I decided to come back and check it in Explorer. It’s actually a little bit worse in IE. It is really making me have to manuever around it to get my comment in. I didn’t know the browser would impact it. I have a few other sites I visit this happens as well.

        • Jens says:

          Thanks a lot for letting me know about this problem Bill. I need to fix this as soon as possible.

          Could you take a sceenshot and send it to me on email? I’m not sure why I don’t get this problem at all, but maybe it’s because I’m using a Mac? I don’t have a clue really 🙂

  8. Brankica says:

    If I remember well it was Ana H. from Traffic generation cafe that was the first to start using that tactics. Although I don’t think it is bad, it is still a DM. People know it wasn’t you that sent it but that it was automated. In other niches it probably works better, but I can’t get myself to do it for my @liveurlove profile, because in blogging niche everyone knows it isn’t a personal message.
    I am sure it brings clicks but I just don’t see it as a great way to go about it. I’ve seen DMs from other bloggers and it annoys me every time when I get something like “Hey so glad to meet you”, when it is a person I’ve known for months, just somehow forgot to follow her on Twitter.

    • Jens says:

      Hi Brankica,

      I read the post that Ana from Traffic Generation Cafe wrote about this, and then I talked to Adrienne about it. They’re the reason I decided to test it, and I’m glad I did. I discovered that it actually works.

      But, on the other hand, a lot of awesome people (like yourself) finds it annoying and will unfollow me if I use it. And that’s the reason why I’ll probably stop using it very soon.

      Thanks a lot for your thoughts on automated DMs, it means a lot to me.

  9. Katie Woodard says:

    I agree. As long as you are only sending them one message right when they follow you, it is ok. Any more than 1 is just spam.

    BTW, how did you get your stats on that because in WordPress it only shows if someone came from Twitter and not if it was a direct message.

  10. Sergio Felix says:

    Hey Jens,

    I have mixed feelings on this one.

    I did not even know about automated DM’s not too long ago, when I found out, I thought “BRILLIANT!” and started using them right away.

    Besides many marketers were praising this tactic.

    It wasn’t far long, that I started connecting with great bloggers and most of them agreed that it was almost a pain to deal with that strategy.

    Many felt their intelligence was being insulted by receiving an automated welcome message.

    Some even went the extra mile and decided to unfollow right away as soon as they noticed that DM.

    My conclusion was, DM’s are EVIL!

    I stopped my welcome message instantly and decided to not put any attention to any DMs but after all, that’s a PM actually.

    A private message (it shouldn’t even be called a “DM”) and they are actually useful!

    They’re fast, they’re private, can have a link, etc, etc.

    I know don’t have any kind of automation going on, I normally don’t put attention to DMs that I receive.

    And whenever I need to send something quick, I send the DM and quickly tweet something like “Hey I sent you a DM!”

    Just so they know I’m actually trying to communicate.

    I think it’s a matter of personal choice, I’d definitely automate an account that is purely business oriented but definitely not my personal account (which is the one you have)

    Great post, great comments, have a great day Jen!


    PS. I still don’t forget about WPSubscribers my good friend! 😉

    • Jens says:

      Hi Sergio,

      I’m sorry I missed your birthday. I hope you had an awesome time. By the way, where in Mexico do you live? I have a friend from Merida. I visited him about 10 years ago. It was a fantastic trip.

      I am also a little torn when it comes to automated DMs, and that’s mostly because so many brilliant people hates them and will unfollow me if I use them, even though that they work. They brings me extra traffic, and some very interesting conversations… but I like to keep my door open to all people, and I don’t want to be annoying at all. So, that’s why I’ll probably end up deleting my auto DM.

  11. Jens says:

    Thanks a lot for your feedback 🙂

  12. dubturbo says:

    Pop ups are very much annoying and it creates a bad impression about that specific website or blog. Sending direct message can be more effective than this. Thank you very much for sharing this nice post with us.

    • Jens says:

      I agree about pop-ups, but it seems that a lot of people find auto DMs annoying as well. Both pop-ups and auto DMs work, but I’m not so sure if we should be using them… because we’re missing many opportunities to build strong relationships with brilliant people.

  13. Jens says:

    Thanks a lot for the feedback 🙂

  14. Akos Fintor says:

    Hello Jens,

    I don’t send out automated messages or auto DMs on Twitter. Whenever I check my DM folder I only see messages from tweeple trying to sell me acai berry :))
    Very rarely see somebody without links saying an innocent “Hello” to me.

    I wouldn’t DM anybody with a link not even with my Facebook link.

    Anyways that’s my take.

    Thanks for the share!


  15. Andrei says:

    Thanks for writing those Ebook really helps me a lot.Hope to receive more updates from you soon 😀

  16. Jennie says:

    Does anyone recommend an Auto DM service to use, preferably free?

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