Get your Twitter business strategy right: Part 3 of 7

Twitter Direct Messages

For part 3 of this tutorial we will focus on Twitter direct messages (DMs), what they are used for and how you can leverage them to drive traffic to your website. We detail 10 minutes of work you need to undertake just once to increase your Twitter effectiveness.

Quick Disclaimer: I’m no social media guru, what I am is someone who has used social media effectively to win business. I’m sharing with you how I have achieved this, totally free of charge – do away with your expensive social media strategist!




This is a seven part tutorial and it’s important you follow them in the correct order. If you haven’t read parts 1 & 2 then do it now.

  1. Why Use Twitter?
  2. Tweet Your own content several times a day
  3. What is the purpose of Direct Messages?
  4. Auto-tweeting others’ content
  5. Maximise your followers
  6. Avoid the ‘twitter ratio’
  7. Summary

It seems obvious what DMs are, it’s an ability to send or receive messages to others on Twitter. In order to protect against spam, you can only send DMs to people who are following you. This is an important point to remember when crafting your DMs. If you are not following the person you send the DM to, they cannot respond with a DM, so be very careful when it comes to asking questions this way – nothing more annoying than not being able to respond.

I rarely make use of DMs other than in an automated fashion, and then only with one specific purpose, and that is to send a single message to anyone who follows me for the first time. A lot of people on Twitter use this tactic, and quite popular is the “Thanks, please like my Facebook page” type message. These are generally ineffective. Instead, use this ‘one-off’ DM to try to encourage the recipient to click a link and visit your website (or a specific page on your website).

For this to work, you’ll have to think about the message and maybe try a number of varieties to see what appears to work best. If you can measure the effectiveness of each message type and continually refine it then great, but I have not discovered an easy way to track this yet.

The easiest way I have found to automate these single DMs is with a piece of software called This software is similar to the likes of Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, with one exception – it allows us to setup the sort of DMs we are talking about here. So sign-up, link your Twitter account, and follow their help for setting up auto DMs (you’ll find it under the tools section). There are many other things you could use MarketMeSuite for, on face value it appears to offer most of the functionality of Hootsuite et al, but I only make use of it for this sole purpose.

And that is it! Once you have set this up, anyone that follows you will receive a single DM with your message, carefully crafted to inspire the individual to visit your website.

Caveat: I believe that auto-DMs are a breach of Twitter’s terms & conditions of use, so pursue this strategy at your own risk. I have been doing this for a while now and have encountered no issues. It also explains why the more well known social media management packages do not support this functionality, but for now, use it while you can.

Are you enjoying this series? Leave a comment below.

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