TURNED OFF: Have you noticed a decrease in Twitter direct messages?

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

I’m not a fan of most auto DMs on Twitter, but as you can see in the 2015 post below, there’s a reason marketing teams would do them! Either way, most of those messages are terrible. Annoying. A waste of time. So, now Twitter is putting an end to this, according to SocialOomph, an automation tool for Twitter.

Here’s the message that SocialOomph posted:

So SocialOomph is turning the DM feature off after being notified by Twitter that it’s violating rules. Also, I used to use Crowdfire for direct messages and Crowdfire also appears to have stopped sending DMs.

Given that most auto DMs are terrible, this is a good step for consumers.

The below originally was published on April 23, 2015:

Auto direct messages on Twitter are not always bad

You might care about this article if you are:

  • a social media marketer
  • a marketing technologist who focuses on automation
  • a digital marketing leader


For the most part, automatic messages on Twitter usually seem irrelevant and annoying to me. People – usually after I just followed them – send messages like this:

Thanks for following. Please also connect on Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn and like my YouTube video here.

(Or something along those lines.)

Others would ask questions:

What’s the current marketing problem you are trying to solve?

At one point, the problem with questions was that if the sender didn’t follow you back, you couldn’t actually reply. Only people who follow somebody else could receive a direct message from that somebody else. Twitter has since changed this and you can now reply to people even if they don’t follow you.

I’ve found the direct messages that invite to another network annoying for a while. I’m already connected with you on Twitter and don’t really know you yet. Why do I need to connect on LinkedIn right now?

But, as the saying goes (and you may quote me on this): Annoying marketing techniques will continue until they stop working.

I was wondering: Maybe this technique does work. Then I wondered: How do we count “working?” If somebody sends me a question, and I can’t respond, there’s no way to measure anything. You can’t even measure how many people tried to reply, but couldn’t, since you weren’t following them.

Including a link might work since I can measure impact on the site. I decided to add an automatic direct message that says:

Thanks for connecting. I hope you’ll check out my blog at AuthenticStorytelling.net.

Sending automated direct messages on TwitterI signed up for Crowd Fire and turned on their automatic direct messaging feature to do this.

I simply clicked on Automate and added a new Auto DM Marketing message. Easy enough.

I let it run for a while (and it’s still running as of the time of this writing). It has helped with traffic to my blog and I haven’t seen any huge increase in unfollowers on Twitter. (I now have over 10,000 followers on Twitter.)

I’ve also seen an increase in eNewsletter subscriptions on my blog. Some I could track back to this tactic.

Interestingly, I also received a lot of positive feedback in the form of reply direct messages. Notes like this one have been common. A number of people commented on how much they enjoyed the stories.

Auto Twitter Direct Message that works

Others told me they signed up for my eNewsletter – which means they’ll receive every new post in their email. They definitely don’t want to miss a thing – another loyal reader.

This was an interesting experiment, I thought. I will continue sending this automated message. In theory, it seems to be an annoying tactic – and I’m certain it is to some, but it also has converted social media followers to blog readers and I’ve seen enough positive responses to see that a fair amount of people find my authentic storytelling blog worth reading.

Automation can work great when the information presented is relevant to the person receiving it.

Update: Fellow content marketer Martin Lieberman pointed out that since the time I initially wrote this that Twitter now allows messages to users that don’t follow you. Thanks, Martin.