There is new functionality on Twitter. Now we can all send tweets via Direct Message. Cue fanfare from businesses around the world? We shall see. Typically when a new feature is released to one of the major social networks, there is a clamour to find a way to use it, and abuse it.
How does it work?
You can send any tweet via DM, except your own, including promoted posts, to your followers, and those who have selected – in Settings – to receive DMs from anyone. The envelope icon in the lower right hand corner of every tweet, opens a DM ready for you to select the recipient (or group) and add your personal message.
According to Twitter HQ, the use of private messaging has increased 60% in the last year. This would seem to be good news for Jack Dorsey and team, as the data shows growth in the use of at least one part of this social media giant. Twitter has responded by developing this new feature.
Who is using DMs?
I’d like to think at least part of this rising trend in Direct Messaging, is due to more businesses using the social network to deliver customer service. We always advise clients to take the conversation into a private forum, while the issue is resolved, and Twitter DM is perfect for this purpose. But, ask me what fills my DM inbox? Auto DMs. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.
On Twitter unlike IG, you cannot share your own tweets via DM. Will this prevent Spam Bots developing auto DMs such as “Check out our latest Tweet” or “See our Pinned tweet”? I fear not.
Powered by third party apps (robots), the moment I follow someone new, a standard message fires into my inbox. “Thanks for the follow! We are on these other social networks – follow us here, there and everywhere!”. This is another example of asking too much, too soon – as I discussed in last week’s article: Instagram! You Pushed Me Too Far.
I often liken Auto DMs to arriving at a networking breakfast, walking up to the first person you see, slapping them in the face with your business card and asking them to commit to you immediately. No thanks. Auto DMs are Spam. Please do not Spam me. This is not the way to start a significant relationship, no matter how rich your content.
How might businesses use DM’d tweets?
Perhaps to sidestep the inability to DM one’s own tweets, an organisation with multiple accounts, or a parent brand, might select a relevant tweet from a sister account to DM. This new functionality could also be used to build authority, such as “Read our 5* review from Time Out” and “Read my latest article via @HuffiingtonPost”. But why do this in a private forum? Surely these are tweets from which a business would enjoy more value when retweeted, publicly.
Why send a DM?
On Instagram – where the functionality to send posts via private message, already exists – I often send interesting, creative, special, topical and/or inspiring IG posts to my friends and colleagues. It says: I thought of you when I saw this – a positive sentiment, high level of personalisation and a notification for the recipient.
There are mixed feelings in the office about this new functionality, ranging from “why not just RT?” to questions about how a brand cannot track tweets being shared via DM. Happily I can report, my first DM’d tweet was from a fellow social media strategist, suggesting I write for Simply Measured. I clicked the link in the tweet and am considering it. Maybe good things will come from this new feature, despite my misgivings.
Instead of thinking how and when a business might send tweets via DM, perhaps we might consider the construction and content of tweets, with a view to them being sent via DM by our followers. Could “Please RT” soon be joined by “Please DM”?
Have you shared / received a tweet via DM? Let me know over in Twitterland @ladyofsocial