You’ve seen them. You’ve deleted them. You’ve rebuffed them. They are the abominable automated direct messages in your Twitter inbox. I don’t know about you, but whenever I see automated messages, I have no hesitation in clicking the trashcan icon; Why bother opening up something that is impersonal anyway?
Still, the automated message is as pervasive as ever. I see my clients’ inboxes replete with these obnoxious messages, further perplexing me because it seems as though this trend isn’t ceasing any time soon. Quite frankly, automated messages are a bit insulting—do people actually think that they’re fooling me?
Those of you who are using automated messages might be arguing that you don’t have time to manually send out a message to every person who follows you, and that the automated message is simply just a gesture of appreciation. Yes, but you do know that most people can perceive whether direct messages are automated or not, right? And, most people dismiss obviously automated thank you notes anyway.
You might argue that having automated thank you messages can’t hurt. Possibly, but I’ll tell you from personal experience that they can be obnoxious. Just because you can automate certain tasks doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. My advice? Take some time and go through your follower list every once in a while to see who’s new and whom you’d like to further connect with. If you sincerely felt thankful for every follower you get, then start adopting more professional ways to show your gratitude! Send your follower a personalized direct message, directly tweet him or her, or do #FollowFridays. These tasks consume a bit more time, but they result in greater impact for your reputation and presence on Twitter.
If you’re on social media, be social. Respect your followers– sacrifice some time and effort to establish genuine connections. Don’t cop out and use automated messages.