Social Media: Personal vs Personalised

Backstage: Debut Marketing Blog

Social Media: Personal vs Personalised

Just because a marketing piece is personalised does not mean it is personal. Through the evolution of web-based marketing applications such as email, we have embraced the ability to ‘personalise’ communications to our customers.

As technology has advanced, we have seen the rise of Social Media. Suddenly, businesses have the ability to connect with millions of people all around the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This new channel is still evolving; however its place in the world of marketing is becoming more evident each day.

As businesses start to embrace Social Media, they are testing out ways to communicate with their customers and prospects, and they are applying existing tactics in new applications.

A hot topic for Twitter users at the moment is ‘Automatic Direct Messages’ (ADMs) – to use them, or not to? There have been polls showing that users ‘hate’ ADM’s. I myself have been questioning the value of ADMs, and thought I would share my thoughts with you.

Firstly, I do not ADM.  Here is why.

Studies have shown that users primarily use Twitter as a tool to keep up with news. Therefore, twitter is primarily a tool to broadcast information and updates. It is a mass media tool with the ultimate aim of getting your message re-tweeted. In the olden days, we would have referred to this as ‘creating word of mouth’.

Studies have also shown that tweets are often ‘conversational’. Meaning that whilst, the primary purpose of Twitter is a broadcasting tool, people also want to, and expect to, engage in a conversation through Twitter. This means your business is expected to personally communicate with your followers.

Now let’s look at ADM’s. For those who have not yet discovered the power of Twitter, an ADM is a message that is scheduled to be sent to a person once they have followed you. Most people use ADMs try to promote their business to their new follower. A more fitting term to describe this practice is SPAM.

Twitter is all about building connections with other people. Its primary function is broadcasting. Its secondary function is networking, communicating and engaging with people. Twitter is great for:

  • Sharing info with others
  • Telling people about great promotions you are running
  • Informing people about relevant topics
  • Connecting with people

My two cents:

We’re all familiar with ‘personalised messages’. These are often used in email marketing. We ‘personalise’ an email by using a person’s name and/or other generic information. This is an acceptable practice in email marketing. People know that an e-newsletter has been sent out to a database to inform them of new products, services, and information.

A Direct Message is designed to engage with a follower. It’s a form of personal two-way communication. Generally an ADM is an impersonal piece of communication designed to self-promote. In order to engage in two-way communication, you need to make your DM personal. Whilst it is possible to personalise a DM (to a degree), it is unlikely that the DM will be personal. Therefore, a response is unlikely. As soon as you send a new follower an ADM, you are pretty much telling them that you only care about promoting yourself, and not engaging with them. If you try to ‘personalise’ an ADM, chances are your message is not going to be relevant or appreciated by the recipient.

If you are considering setting up an ADM, seriously consider what your objective is. What do you want to achieve by Automatically Direct Messaging a new follower? How will your follower benefit from the ADM?

My advice:

Twitter has two communication tools, for two types messages.

Tweet your impersonal messages.

Direct Message your personal messages.

What are your thoughts on Automatic Direct Messages?

  1. OH you’ve hit on one of my biggest Pet Peeves! I cannon stand Auto Reply DMs on twitter.

    As you mention any business that ADM me after I use key words are just asking me to click the ‘Unfollow’ button.

    Social Media is just that Social – If companies forget that I’m on Twitter/Facebook/Linked In to socialise with individuals not recieve SPAM then they clearly don’t get social media.

  2. Hi Glenn

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

    Glad to hear we are on the same wavelength.



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