The Right (and Wrong!) Way to Use Twitter DMs for Marketing

Twitter DMs, love them or hate them, can influence your social marketing and customer service. They can give you a lot more power as far as contacting people goes, and vice versa, but with great power comes great…how does that go, again? (We’ll think of it eventually.)

What does DM mean on Twitter, and how you can use this tool to your advantage? Let’s take a look, shall we?

What are DMs on Twitter?

DMs are Twitter’s private messages. You can send private Twitter messages to people you follow and those you don’t if they have their Twitter DM settings public.

How do you DM in Twitter?

It’s super simple to DM someone on Twitter. Go to their profile, and click on the little envelope in the top right, next to the follow button. This will open your private chat with this person or business.

You can send a message right away.

how to dm people on twitter

Are twitter DMs private?

Yes. Nobody else on Twitter can see your conversations with someone in DMs on Twitter.

You can message anybody who has their DMs open, even if you don’t follow them. If you set your DMs to open, anyone on Twitter can message you too.

How can people DM you on Twitter?

You need to go to your Messages inbox and click on the wheel at the top. Here it will give you options to choose from. You can opt in to receive DMs from anyone on Twitter, whether you follow them or not – and other users can do the same.

You just check the blue boxes like this:

how do you dm on twitter

The default setting is “off”, so unless you go in and change it yourself, you still won’t be able to receive DMs from anyone you don’t follow.

While this may make sense for a personal account, you ought to go ahead and switch it on when it comes to your business – all it does is make it easier for your fans and customers to reach you, and that’s rarely a bad thing.

I automate my social media – should I automate my DMs, too?

Sending too many Twitter automated DMs is a classic blunder and a surefire way to alienate your fans. There are programs and apps, for example, that allow you to auto-DM Twitter users – but that doesn’t mean you should do it.

Twitter DMs Unfollow Statistic

Convinced it’s a bad idea? You should be.

Sending automated DMs to anyone – follower or not – is spammy and insincere. DMs are for genuine, one-on-one communication, not robo-messaging, so don’t abuse your ability to message way more people than you were once able to.


That means no skeezy sales stuff, either

Email marketing’s value to both businesses and consumers is pretty well-documented. Generally, consumers are accustomed to receiving lots of marketing emails, and those emails can pack serious ROI for the people who send them.

The same cannot be said for private messages on social media.

DMs are generally reserved for private, personal conversation. They aren’t the preferred method for marketers to send their promotions, and such being the case; they aren’t the preferred method for consumers to receive them, either.

DMs are poorly suited for marketing your brand. Like cold-calling someone on their home phone, an aggressive, one-on-one tactic like this demonstrates that you’re more interested in seizing opportunities than in respecting someone’s boundaries.

So what ARE Twitter DMs for?

So we’ve told you how you shouldn’t be using DMs on Twitter; here are some Twitter DM suggestions so you can get the most from this handy tool.

1. Social customer service – they allow you to engage with someone discreetly, making the conversation more private and organic than a series of updates tagged with each other’s name.

Among other things, though, providing customer service means engaging in a way that suits the customer, and that means deferring to their terms.

While you can invite someone to DM you, leave the decision to do it up to them.

For example, if you need details that a customer might not feel comfortable sharing out in the open on Twitter, you can suggest that they send you a DM. (Remember, too, that your customers might not be as well-versed in social as you are. They may not have realized that DMs were an option.)

Twitter DM Invitation
DMs are perfect when you want to protect someone else’s privacy.

Not only does this leave the ball in their court and give them the freedom to choose how best to contact you – they may decide to email sensitive info, instead, for example – but it also shows other users that the situation is being handled.

Because Twitter exchanges are visible to anyone, a back-and-forth between you and a customer that suddenly ends without explanation may seem as though you left them hanging. If it ends with you inviting that customer to DM you, it demonstrates that the issue was resolved privately to any observers.

If a customer service inquiry doesn’t require the sharing of private information, though, and the customer chooses not to seek support via DM, that’s their prerogative. It’s the same reason you should opt into the feature in the first place – allow your customer to reach you on their own terms, rather than trying to force them off the path they chose.

Auto DMs can come in handy in this situation too. You can have an automatic message that is sent to a customer when they reach out to you. Like this:

auto dms twitter

2. Sparking genuine conversation
Seen someone Tweeting about a topic you are knowledgeable about? Want to have a conversation with another thought leader? Why not send them a DM to take the conversation further.

It is called social media, after all. You want to have conversations, not shy away from them. You can’t DM on Twitter to shamelessly promote yourself, but you CAN start conversations that add value.

3. Collaboration
Creating connections and collaborating with other people in your industry is a great way to get your brand name out there. Whether it’s a collaboration with influencers or other brands, use your Twitter DMs to make connections with relevant people.

Twitter even helps with this by giving Twitter dm suggested users for you to reach out to.

Just make sure your messages are personalized and relevant, NOT spammy.

How do you use Twitter DMs?

Twitter DMs capabilities undoubtedly impact the way businesses use social media – in ways both good and bad.

As with any tool or feature, the important thing is to take advantage of it without taking advantage of it, because the temptation to overstep your bounds will always be there.

Now you know how to how to send a DM on Twitter, will you do it? Have you been using DMs for years? Let us know about your experiences with Twitter DMs in the comments.

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