Go to your twitter account. Now, go to your DM’s. How many of those are automated “thank you for following” or “check out my blog” DM’s? My guess is a lot. Now, how many have you read through? You’ve probably ignored them.
My point, of course, is that those automated messages, while well-intentioned, have done little, if anything, to build a positive relationship between you and the sender. In fact, if you are anything like me, it may have had the opposite effect.
That’s because the one thing you should never automate, is your first contact.
You know that saying “first impressions are everything” ? What kind of a first impression is automation? When your first contact with someone is automated you are giving them the impression that you are not worth their time or attention. It’s actually an insult.
“The whole situation reminds me of those self-checkout machines that thank you for shopping. Do you ever respond to their “Thank you for shopping at ____” with, “Oh, wow! You’re welcome!”? Probably not… because its not real– it’s automated.”
It turns out I’m not alone in my distaste for Twitter automation. I recently ran a poll to better understand how my twitter followers felt about this exact subject. The results were a landslide.
When you get an Automated "Thank You For Following" DM, what do you do?
— Mandy Bos (@mandythebos) December 8, 2015
The results indicate that a vast majority of twitter users either ignore or delete a direct message, if it’s automated. However, according to many of the responses I received, there are a portion of users who are so turned off by the automated greetings that they go so far as to block or unfollow the sender.
@MandyArthur I delete it and get mad and unfollow the person
— Caleb Maddix (@CalebMaddix) December 8, 2015
So, if you’re interested in building relationships rather than a disinterested, or even irritated, following, try adding a touch of authenticity. Consider, before setting up your automated messages, what message you are really sending. Does “Thank you for following, check out my blog at ______!” sound like something you would reply to?
The best way to build a relationship, and therefore first contact, is to genuinely be interested in who the other party is and how you might be able to serve them.
Try something crazy, like reading their bio– you might just find someone really interesting! Reach out with genuine interest, because, if you’re not willing to put any effort into learning about your followers, you’re going to attract people with the same level of interest in you.