Direct Messaging on Twitter


Here’s a great post I wrote for in 2012, but deserves a repost because this is still happening. In a future post, I’ll offer a 101 on Tweetequette for art makers and workers, but for now let’s address something that I feel needs some attention – direct messages on Twitter.

For some time, social media marketers have suggested new followers are a marketing opportunity. They have advised businesses, organizations and individuals to send a DM (direct message) thanking the person for following and suggesting they check out one or more aspects of their business on their website or other social media platforms. Often DMs will read something like this:

     Thank you for following! Please check out our webpage


     Thank you for following. Please also like us on facebook

Furthermore, some people have this set up as an auto-send for new followers. There are a few things that are problematic with this strategy.

Firstly, let’s remember that behind these tools and platforms there are real people. No one likes getting an auto response. An automated greeting is disingenuous and doesn’t create a feeling of connection or trust. Just don’t do it. The alternative is to do these manually. Do them once a day or every couple of days. Your followers will appreciate it.

Secondly, asking a new follower to take further action for you is like paying someone a compliment and then asking for a favour. It negates the compliment and makes you and your company look self-focused.

Instead, take this opportunity to get to know your audience. Check out what they are tweeting and comment in a DM about that. If you manage lists (and you should) ask them what list they might best fit into. Use the opportunity to engage –and make it about them.

Another option could be to offer current information not readily available. If you have a new publication or book launch, an upcoming exhibition or workshop, tell your new follower about that. If you have a new app or something new on your website, that’s also something worth sharing. Share that link specifically, not just your main page.


Here are five examples of well crafted DMs:

 Thanks for following David! We are pleased to now be representing Jack Lumber His solo show opens Jan 27. Join us!

Thanks for following me! My next exhibition opens March 18 @AwesomeGallery! Would you like to be on my mailing list?

Thanks for following us Jennifer! Next issue launch is this Friday @CoolBar Come celebrate! Here’s deets>

Thanks for following! We just relaunched our webiste this week and your feedback is welcome. New event calendars!

Thanks for following us Shannon! We’re currently running a contest for 2 tickets to our upcoming art party! Here’s how to enter >

Whatever you do, do not simply ask a new follower to also like your Facebook page. They don’t know you, you haven’t built up a relationship with them and it’s kind of like asking someone if they’d like to buy a second pair of pants – in grey.

If however, you are offering new and different information on an alternate social media platform… ah, but that’s for another post…

If you are interested in learning more effective & efficient ways to use social media platforms and tools, please check out the fall an winter courses I am teaching through the Continuing Education program at OCADU.