What is the benefit of an auto-DM on Twitter? Practically speaking, I suppose it’s great. Automated responses reduce the time that you have to spend personally acknowledging new followers.
Sure, sending an auto-DM after someone follows you might sound like a good way to begin a Twitter relationship, but the more I receive, the more I feel like unfollowing the person (or company) sending it to me. It feels canned and makes me wonder if a real person actually manages that handle.
Conventional wisdom tells us to follow everyone who follows you on Twitter, and I believe in that principle for quality followers. Increasingly, the followers who auto DM me after I follow tend to be people or companies that appear to simply be trying to secure large numbers of followers, and therefore, just don’t have time to respond to every inquiry personally.
If you have 54,321 followers, that is probably true. And it only begs the question – with that many followers, is it possible to keep up and interact in a meaningful way with all of your followers? Are they even followers who matter? If you’re @MarthaStewart, the answer might be yes, but for most of us who don’t make the news for snapping a photo of our new handbags (see below), it’s just not the case. I should note that Martha actually does handle many of her tweets personally (and dictates many others to an assistant).
Twitter, at its most basic, is a platform that facilitates conversations. It’s one of the only social tools that enables you to become part of a broader conversation among people you know, and people you don’t. But the only way to do this is to be present in that conversation.