There are a number of tools available which will automatically send a direct message to anyone who follows you on Twitter. This might be a simple ‘welcome’ message, perhaps a link to your portfolio, or maybe a pointer towards some other piece of content that you’d like all new followers to see.

Should you send these kind of automated messages to new followers? There’s a quick and straightforward answer…

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Just no! I really can’t emphasise this enough. Twitter is about engagement and conversation and above all it’s personal. Just about everyone will realise that an automated welcome DM is exactly that – AUTOMATED – and this just doesn’t sit well with the majority of Twitter users.

For every person who reacts positively to your automated DM and perhaps clicks through to what you’re hoping they’ll see, there will be at least 20 who will think ‘really?’. Even when you make it sound personal with something along the lines of ‘Hey my friend how are you today, thanks for the follow, check out this resource…’, the majority of people will see straight through this.

A simple automated ‘welcome’ is just naff and pointless – it doesn’t provide any value and is essentially a spam message of sorts. You haven’t provided any engagement at all and you haven’t knowingly acknowledged your new follower – you’ve just given them one more notification to clear.

An automated request for a new follower to visit your webpage, download your resource or access your service is, to be honest, even worse and can damage a relationship before it has even begun. You’ve gone in for the hard sell immediately, before you’ve even developed a connection of any kind. Twitter is an informal and conversational platform – and you have to earn the right to talk about yourself and push your wares so directly by engaging with people first and foremost.

Whilst almost always used with the best intentions, automated welcome messages invariably get you off on the wrong foot. Your new follower has already shown they have an interest in you by following you in the first place. Let them learn more about you in their own time via a link in your bio and a top-notch daily Twitter output.  Don’t just shove your brand down their throat straight away!