Previously, Twitter required users to follow each other in order to communicate back and forth through their direct messaging system, or by “DM.”
Twitter’s new settings allow users to opt-in to receiving messages from those they do not currently follow.
From our perspective, this opens up communication between consumers or “the little guy” and big brands or commercial accounts. Customer service may be handled differently, and some brands may even change the way these messages are handled.
With an update like this, it’s a good time to think about how we use Twitter direct messages and how we can get better at communicating online.
Here are a few tips on etiquette from The Kapeesh Team:
DON’T completely automate your DMs. Could you have a canned message ready to copy/paste to a few followers you’re particularly fond of? Sure. Add something personal in each message to let your followers know you aren’t sending the same message to the masses. i.e. “Hi @favorite_twitter_user, we really like your collection of grilled cheese pics. Appreciate the follow! Looking fwd to interacting. :)”
DON’T shove a bunch of links down their throats. This one goes along with the automated DMs. Use your tweets to engage followers and give them a reason to subscribe to your blog or follow your other social media accounts. You shouldn’t have to send DMs to your followers asking them to “Please ‘like’ us on Facebook” or “Please buy my book here.” It’s annoying, to be honest.
DO respond to direct messages. If it’s obviously spammy, delete it or report it and move on. If a follower has sent you a sincere message, treat it like any other business communication or lead. With the latest updates, you may be receiving DMs from people you do not choose to follow back. Answer their questions, and make a friend.
DO use @mentions and tweets in lieu of DMs when possible. If it isn’t a private topic and it’s information that may be helpful to your followers, just tweet it! This puts your helpfulness and resourcefulness on display. Twitter is a very open platform for communication – use it to your advantage.
So, if you’re ready to open the gateway between you and your followers, follow these instructions as lined out by Kristin Burnham at InformationWeek.com.
To find this setting, navigate to your Settings page by clicking the gear icon at the top. Scroll to the “Content” subhead on that page — listed under “Account” — and find the “Messages” section. By default, the new option is opt in. It reads, “Generally, you must follow someone before they have the ability to direct message you. If you check this option, any Twitter user that follows you will be able to send you a DM, regardless of whether you decide to follow them back.” Check the box to opt in and click “Save changes” at the bottom.
Will you be opting out of this setting? What are you reasons? Let us know your thoughts below!