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stop the twitter automation

Oh the automation, please make it stop.
If it doesn’t stop soon my head just might pop.

My twitter DM box is constantly full
of marketing messages, automated and oh so dull.

All the request to visit your site or your facebook page
or the “free gifts” that you offer send me into a rage.

I feel like a number, like a peace of meat,
you don’t care about me, you just think you’re neat.

If it’s an impression that you want to make,
I’d rather you hit me over the head with a rake.

Instead you could take some time to get to know –
who I am, and what I need for my business to grow.

By then I might like you and know who you are
and be willing to download your offers whatever they are.

Most Twitter Automation Isn’t A Good Idea

Really, most automated communication in Twitter isn’t a good idea. In my opinion it makes you seem impersonal, and a lot like a spammer. One of the quickest ways to get me to unfollow you is to click on your Twitter feed and see the same “welcome” message over and over and over and over again. That just tells me that you are lazy and you want the benefits of engaging with your audience without doing any work. Here are 3 types of automation that you should stay away from on Twitter.

#1 – Auto DMs welcoming new followers

The already mentioned auto DMs are awful. I have gotten thousands of auto DMs over the last 6 weeks (one of the downfalls of fast Twitter growth) and I have responded to exactly one of them. It was cleverly written – admitting that it was an automated message, apologizing, and saying that the reason for it was that she would like to get to know me. No offers, no asking me to do anything, no asking me to connect anywhere else – just a first step in getting to know me. I took the bait and responded and it turned into a several DM long conversation. However, all of the others did not accomplish anything other that getting me to roll my eyes, groan, and think less of the person that sent it. So, if that is what you are going for, by all means keep sending auto DMs…

Melissa Culbertson (@melaculbertson) actually breaks the auto DMs into the 4 categories. I thought they were hilarious so I’m listing them below (see her whole post here).

  1. The innocent welcome: “Thanks for following me! We look forward to reading your tweets.”
    This clutters up direct message boxes everywhere so people can’t see their true one-on-one direct messages. Could you imagine if EVERYONE did this?
  2. The following-me-on-twitter-isn’t-enough message: “Thanks for following! Have you seen our Facebook page?
    [link] What about my blog? [another link] I just followed you on Twitter. Can I just get to know you here first? No need to be pushy. Sheesh.
  3. The if-it’s-free-how-can-you-resist message: “Free videos show you how you can profit with Social Media & Video Marketing. [link]”
    I know you THINK you’re trying to be helpful but I know you’re just trying to sell me something.
  4. The disingenuous it-looks-personal-but-it’s-not message: “Wow- I like you already! Find awesome stuff here [link]”
    I actually unfollowed and re-followed someone who wrote this just to see if they meant it. No, it goes to everyone. For the love of God, don’t tell me you like me if you’ve never even looked at one of my tweets.

The moral of the story – yes, we know that you want to be helpful and engage, but it doesn’t come off that way. Please stop with the auto DMs!

#2 – Auto tweets welcoming new followers

Sure, everyone likes to be mentioned, and a tweet mentioning a new follower is totally fine. However, if it’s obviously an automated tweet that you send to all of your new followers, you’ve just lost all of the goodwill that you were trying to build. So, how do people know that it’s an autotweet? Well, it’s pretty obvious when they visit your feed and see that there are 20 or so of the same exact tweet in a row. I have actually unfollowed people because their whole feed was taken up with the same automated tweet welcoming each new follower. If I’m going to follow you, I want content. I want quotes. I want links. I want something that I find valuable – not auto tweet after auto tweet after auto tweet.

Want to do it right? Welcome new followers sparingly and personally. Don’t fill your feed with identical tweets. You can schedule them out with an app like buffer so that they get sent out in between other tweets if you insist on sending lots of them. But the best tip that I can give is to be personal. I’ve had several good conversations on Twitter because someone took the time to look at my bio and asked me a question about it in their welcome Tweet. It was a very nice touch and my opinion of that person skyrocketed. I was very happy to engage with them.

The moral of the story – With valuable followers, thank them with a personal tweet. Let all of the others pass without mention.

#3 – Auto following back

Really? You want your brand (and even if it is a personal account, it is your brand) to be associated with anyone that will follow you? Sure, your Twitter followers will grow very, very quickly once people realize that you will automatically follow them back. But you will notice that it isn’t going to be the audience that you want that is following you in droves. It’s the spammers, the automated accounts, the nsfw accounts… Not really what you want if you really want to build an engaged audience on Twitter that can be profitable (in whatever way you want to profit) long-term (you can see my post here on how I grew my Twitter audience quickly but manually).

The moral of the story – Don’t take the shortcut to more followers. Take the time to get the right followers and Twitter will be a much better place for you.


I am in no way against automation – I just think that there is a time and a place for everything. If you can use automation and make your users feel better about you, and more like you care about them, then it is an excellent tool. If you come off looking like a lazy person who does not care about his/her followers (like in the examples above) – well then that kind of automation probably is not the best idea. What other kinds of automation do you absolutely hate, and why? Leave them in the comments below – I’d love to hear about them.