InsightsPOSTED October 15, 2013

Twitter’s new DM option and what it means for brands

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Twitter’s new DM option and what it means for brands

I admit when I saw this tweet in my feed this morning, I was horrified.

Why would anyone turn on the option to receive direct messages from any follower (even if you don’t follow them back)? I get enough annoying auto-DMs from people I follow (“Thanks for the follow! Please like my Facebook page!”).

While I’ve yet to find a reason to activate this feature for my personal Twitter account, I can think of a few reasons why it would be a huge boon for brands.

  • Customers can send discreet DMs and may be more inclined to start a conversation with your brand
  • You could message a user and ask for permission to use their photo or tweet in one of your campaigns (provided they’ve opted in, of course)

Some downsides to consider:

  • Spam. So much spam.
  • Community managers will have more customer service messages to contend with, and will need to plan for this accordingly so that each interaction gets a prompt reply, ideally within 24 hours (though obvious troll messages can be ignored as per usual)
  • An irate customer may feel free to be extra colourful in a private message

In essence this feature would turn Twitter into a sort of email/text message platform and potentially make brands as accessible as your drinking buddies, which could be either good or bad.

What do you use the DM feature for right now? Are you going to opt in to receive DMs from people you aren’t following?

Amanda Factor is a Social Media Consult at APEX Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter.

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