One of the questions we're often asked is how to set up a Twitter account to send an automated Direct Message (DM) to a new follower.
We have a nice short reply for this. Don't.
We're not the only ones to think this either - Twitter recommend you don't too (see later in this article).
Whilst we're sure there are a small number of accounts that might have reason to do (though you really have to dig deep to justify it) the simple fact is that auto-replies to new followers have one common result - they annoy people.
If you've just been followed by someone new, great. Well done. Follow them back if they're of interest to you as that's the best compliment you can pay them. Or, send them a message via a Mention.
But don't auto-reply in a DM.
Think about it this way - it's just about the most impersonal thing you could possibly do.
Firstly, the fact it's a direct message means they're probably going to have to click once or twice to read it (they could be using an App that means they don't need to, we accept that). Secondly, people don't like generic rubbish that can often be interpreted as rather blatant sales propaganda.
We've all had them. Visit my website, contact me and I'll help change your life, email me and I'll show you how to amass untold riches. We've even had one that said we'd change the world together. Maybe we will, but it's still cheesey, it's very impersonal and it smacks of a lack of thought.
As mentioned above, Twitter themselves advise against this form of auto-reply.
See, it's an often missed point that the Twitter Help Center can guide you through all manner of useful pointers. Their section on the use of any form of Auto-Reply facility is rather good too.
You can access the section specific to Auto-Replies by clicking the image below (but carry on reading first!):
If you were to scroll down to the bottom of the above page, you'll find they can't be more explicit in saying that they advise against auto replies to new followers. They say this:
The likely result of ignoring Twitter's advice is well proven too - you just about treble your chance of someone deciding they'd rather not follow you after all.
Twitter success stories are generally born out of engagement, feedback, personalisation and a degree of common sense. Not spamming someone with a pointless message falls into the last category in our opinion.