To DM, or Not to DM….a social experiment

14 Nov

Of the many controversies in the Twitterdom, perhaps the most polarizing is the idea of Direct Messages (DM) upon Following. It is common practice for people to send you an automatic DM immediately upon being followed. They are usually something along the lines of:
“Hey! Thanks for following! For even better engagement, follow me on FB”

Many Social Media experts take offense to being asked to engage further when they’ve just started following, while other SM experts have told me that Auto DMs are the way of life. Being the people-pleaser that I am, I found a way to make both camps happy, while engaging on a deeper level with my new followers almost immediately.

How, you ask?

(lean in, and I’ll whisper it to you……)

I simply have the following as my auto DM:

“Knock, knock!”

It solicits an enthusiastic response from approximately half of the people who get the auto DM. The range of responses are from the typical “Who’s There” to “Welcome! Please sit a spell and enjoy a spot of tea!” It has been a very successful way to wage engagement, and I’ve got my knock knock joke down. It’s fast and easy and a fun way to start-up a conversation with a new Tweep.

How about you? Do you have a favorite Auto DM? Or do you still hate them?


40 Responses to “To DM, or Not to DM….a social experiment”

  1. Joe Hackman (@hackmanj) November 15, 2011 at 12:23 am #

    Your Auto-DM is clever. I like it, and I remember getting it. I didn’t think it was auto but it works either way.

    I think it’s all about how annoying it is, humor is appropriate, a pitch isn’t. When in doubt go without.

    • thyroidinfo November 15, 2011 at 12:27 am #

      Thanks Joe! And your smiling face reminded me of an email I need to follow up on…….:P DID try last week, btw….

  2. Ash Mashhadi (@inspirationguy) November 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    I’m one of the 50% who liked it. It’s a charming way to make a new friendship, which of course is what Twitter is all about.

    If more people enchanted us with their DMs, they wouldn’t be regarded as a problem. For one, I applaud what you’re doing here and I think I may just have to ‘borrow’ the idea!

    • thyroidinfo November 16, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

      YaY! Thanks, Ash!! Please feel free to use the idea with my compliments!!

  3. Rosemary O'Neill (@rhogroupee) November 17, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    Yes, what they said! I don’t care if it was an auto-DM or not, it’s creative and funny. Consider me fully engaged 🙂

    • thyroidinfo December 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

      Late response, but thank you for following!!

  4. Ava Roxanne (@MySkinConcierge) November 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    I have to admit that I think in the very beginning I had one of those auto DM set up and I am not even sure if it is still set! I am sure someone can let me know!

    I get so many DM’s that I warn people to please don’t think I will se it! Just give me a shout out in a Tweet and if we need more one can always find my emails at

    BTW I am so Pinterest Pinning your door handle pic above. My mom used to collect them as a child! Also take a look here and you will see proof of why I love your blog! Chat soon! Ava Roxanne @MySkinConcierge

    • thyroidinfo December 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

      I believe we are kindred spirits….love that about Social Media

  5. The Animated Woman November 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    It worked on me =]

    • thyroidinfo December 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

      Thanks! And Thanks for following!!

  6. Fashion Dad November 22, 2011 at 4:14 am #

    I was apparently just fell victim to your DM shenanigans!! 😀

    • thyroidinfo December 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

      another one bites the dust!! Woot!

  7. Jason Sullivan @suldog123 November 24, 2011 at 5:02 am #

    I think auto-DM is dumb overall…but there are a few people (like yourself), who turn it into a “real” message. Its silly and entertaining…I automatically delete any emails that have the typical auto-DM verbiage, your auto-DM was the first I have responded to. Great idea!

    • @filipecardeira December 1, 2011 at 9:55 am #

      it was a smart way to send me a DM without annoying me. I have written a post in my blog about how much I hate auto DMs, but yours worked so well that I may revise it and link to this post. I even wrote a comment in your blog… well done.

      • thyroidinfo December 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

        Wow Filipe….I’m humbled by your praise….Thank YOU!!

    • thyroidinfo December 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

      THanks, Jason 😛

  8. Symatt November 27, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    well it got me asking Who’s there? So its a good thing. but when i got no reply to my reply it made me wonder if you just knocked then ran away .

    • thyroidinfo December 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

      oh nooooo! You must of fallen victim to my Thanksgiving shenanigans……10000 pardons! Off to check my dms….

  9. December 1, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    …and there was me thinking I was special! I don’t mind DMs that engage conversation and your DM got through my personal spam filter….Nice blog as well. Hope to catch up soon.

  10. Peter Dickinson December 2, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    Brilliant approach and got me to your blog. You should do more experiments, the world will be a better place.

    • thyroidinfo December 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      So kind!! Thank you!!

  11. Lara December 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    I certainly enjoyed the engagement. It was amusing and unexpected, and I definitely like your blog.

    • thyroidinfo December 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

      Thank you so much, Lara!!

  12. Jay January 8, 2012 at 4:50 am #

    Yours is great.I am a bit disappointed I gave such a mundane reply.I’ll do better next time.

    • thyroidinfo January 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      Jay….believe me, yours was NOT the most mundane!!

  13. Derek January 10, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    On the one hand, your auto-DM did get a reply out of me and ultimately got me to visit your blog (and comment, even. Jackpot for you!).

    That said, I don’t like auto-DM’s in general. I get a disheartening number of spam tweets, to the point that I’ve stopped expecting @mentions to be real communications from real people. So if I get a DM from someone I don’t know and didn’t recently @mention specifically, I usually just delete it without a second look.

    I very nearly deleted your DM. I guess I didn’t because I wasn’t particularly busy and I had a moment to click on your profile and confirm that you were apparently an actual person. The fact that the DM only said “Knock knock” with an emoticon actually looked kind of spammy to me.

    So I guess I’m saying “bad idea, even though it totally worked on me.” Pretty convincing, huh?

    • thyroidinfo January 11, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

      I”m still counting you as a win!! 😛 And, I may start taking you up on your idea to just ignore all DMs…. All but mine, of course…..

  14. Tom Pinit January 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    Hi Beth, now this explains it 🙂 I liked it. Since I’m still building a following, I am making a point to thank new followers personally but I imagine that gets a bit unwieldy once you reach a certain number.

  15. Lisa Oden January 12, 2012 at 3:12 am #

    Ok. I really, really, really hate auto DMs on follow… EXCEPT yours. 🙂 I figured it was an auto DM. But, it wasn’t the icky kind of let me stick my tongue down your throat, buy my service, me, me, me auto DM. Also, when I looked, your tweet stream was filled with engagement.
    So, I still don’t like everyone else’s auto DMs! Thanks for following me. I look forward to connecting!

    • thyroidinfo January 12, 2012 at 5:51 am #

      OMG, Lisa! You ROCK! Thanks for giving me the warm fuzzies!!

  16. Mike Branigan February 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    Yep, I just fell for this one as well, but I must admit is is a good way of judging engagement. However ‘Knock, Knock: P’ can have a hidden meaning in England, particularly when combined with the word ‘Off’. Live and learn.

    • thyroidinfo February 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

      Oh my! I had NO idea….no wonder the Brits seem to have a different reaction when I “Knock Knock” them sometimes….they must think I’m a hooker? LOL!!

  17. Jenniferlaustin February 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    Omg. I was baboozled. Hahahahahah! But I am here now!

    And no way was that automated. Really?

    • thyroidinfo February 7, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

      The “Knock Knock!” is an auto DM….the rest of it is on me…..but… it’s almost on automatic pilot these days. Somethimes I change up the joke for the seasons….I had a Christmas Knock Knock that I threw in , for example….and I have to watch my timeline so I don’t get confused abotu where I am in the joke 😛

  18. Rahul Cliffard Saluja February 13, 2012 at 4:12 am #

    Brilliant idea … Based on my recent experience interacting with you 🙂 With your permission I’d like to shamelessly copy it … And reading through people’s reaction to it I think it’s a smashing hit.

    Like some, I too, am new to the creative side of using DMs. Your’s just blew my mind … And this post has got me thinking.

    It’s great to have learnt something already from you … 😉 Thanks for a great twitterverse experince.

    • thyroidinfo February 13, 2012 at 6:19 am #

      Rahul…. you humble me with your praise! But I agree…the Twitterverse is a magical thing…. 🙂

  19. Erik L. Arneson (@pymander) November 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    I didn’t realize the “Knock Knock” DM was automated! I’ve been afraid that I met you somewhere around town and I was supposed to remember you. I’ve got to do something about my terrible memory for faces and names. Dang, now I feel better.

  20. thyroidinfo June 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    Ian… thanks so much for including me in your blog post about the 12 Social Media & Marketing techniques to avoid!! You have a new fan!!

  21. Ian Anderson Gray (@iagdotme) June 5, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    No problem, Beth- I think your idea for this way of direct messaging is really interesting. I think it genuinely works- well, it worked with me! We all like engaging with real people, and although your idea starts with an automatic way, it then kicks in with real people engagement- that’s what I call Social media! Thanks!


  1. 12 Social Media & Marketing Techniques to Avoid | Ian Anderson Gray - June 4, 2012

    […] not say­ing auto­matic DMs are always bad, they can work some­times. Beth McShane has an inter­est­ing method in which she set up an auto­matic DM con­tain­ing the words “Knock Knock”. It’s hard to […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: