“Are u fun” and other Bad Twitter Strategies

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Melinda Stanely twitterbot illustration
Melinda Stanely twitterbot illustration

Great image from illustrator and designer www.melindastanley.com

Everyday I get at least one DM (Direct Message) that asks “Are u fun?”  sometimes it is shortened even further to “r u fun?”

Auto-DM’s  are a tool frequently employed by people using Twitter for business purposes. There is a lot of debate about their effectiveness.  For those not familiar with the concept, an auto-DM is a direct message that goes out automatically. You can set them to go out to a new follower or you can schedule them to go out to all your followers at scheduled times.

Auto-DM’s are meant to be a way to communicate updates to all your followers easily, however they are increasingly a tool for spam and are extremely annoying. Many welcome messages you receive amount to a generic “hello” with links to other websites or an attempt to start the sales funnel.  But I can tell you they don’t really work. Sure, you might get the occasional click but is it worthwhile?

Fastcompany has a great list of traditional auto-DM’s and why they are awful. Maybe I will write up a similar list for the Adult Industry!

A Non-Scientific Test

I did a small test where I sent out 100 welcome messages with links and tracked the links. I had 2 clicks: a 2% click-through rate. This means that 2% decided the link might be worthwhile and 98% ignored it, which put me in the category of a potential spammer.

Now in all fairness to my non-scientific small focus group study, I did not auto-DM porn.  My auto-DM was a link to a website of a related topic to the Twitter account.  Is it possible that porn has a better click-through rate? Absolutely.  If you say “Thanks for following me. Here is an exclusive picture just for my tweeps: pic link” you might get some good clicks, and I would speculate that you could get a lot.  But most people do not have an auto-DM strategy.

Strategy…what strategy?

Most people do not have a Twitter strategy beyond, “I tweet”.  So the idea of having an auto-DM strategy is even more foreign. But if you use Twitter for business; to get people to your website, to promote your brand, to build awareness about you – then you need to have a strategy to ensure that you are accomplishing your goal.

The idea of using Twitter as a distributor for exclusive content is not a strategy widely implemented. Most say, “here is my website link”, and the subtext says “I have no interest in actually interacting with you but I want you to spend money on my site”.   Or my personal favorite, “Are u fun” – with the punctuation intentionally omitted.  Why would you need punctuation when you can’t even spare the letters to spell out “you”?

If someone has tweeted with you, and then they follow you and get an auto-DM with a generic “here is my link” or fun time inquiry, it also makes them feel like you don’t care.  If they suspect it is an auto-DM they can get turned off by being lumped into a massive pool. If they don’t know that it is an auto-DM, they may get confused about why you are messaging them with some generic spam message, instead of continuing the conversation you were having.  Either result ostracizes your new follower.

At best, an auto-DM will get people to click your link or open up some form of business communication; at worst you lose a follower.  It is also likely you will be targeted as a spammer, so even if you do not lose the follower they are probably not paying attention to your tweets anymore. Then you have lost an opportunity to develop a relationship with them, whether that relationship is for branding, sales or business communication. If you use auto-DM’s, create a strategy and a purpose behind them.  Track your successes and failures to determine if they are even worthwhile. Ask yourself: are you really getting the results you want?