New Twitter followers and automated responses
The fabulous guys at Cool Earth asked me about when you have a new Twitter follower is it right to set up auto responses to acknowledge them? They felt they really want to reply to everyone who takes the time to follow them on Twitter (
@coolearth) but running a business where they’re so busy doing great work to save our precious rainforests, it takes a lot of time.
This is something that lots of businesses, big and small, find a hard balance to achieve. They really want build a good relationship with their online community but have so much to do in the day to day running of a business that it makes it hard to achieve that balance.
How and what to respond to new Twitter followers?
There is no hard and fast rule about replying to every new follower. It’ll depend on your business (your personality/brand/resources), who your followers are and the reason why they’re following you. This should give you the balance of how and what you reply to acknowledge your new followers.
Reply by direct message (DM)? mention (@twitterhandle)? or just not reply at all?
Lots of people reply to their new followers by direct message (DM), some by mentioning them (by including their @username in a tweet) and some don’t do anything at all. It’s great if you are responding to every new follower by direct message (this is the ideal way) as it starts the conversation and therefore the customer relationship.
By mentioning them in public tweet (especially if it’s as a group of new followers that week) it can seem a bit self promotional in your new followers eyes: akin to ‘ hey look at the new followers weee’ve got, aren’t we great’. Imagine talking with someone at a networking event and instead of having a jovial conversation between the two of you, he ignores what you’ve just said and turns to the room to shout out loudly ‘hey guess who I’m talking to, it’s [insert your name here]‘. Whilst a bit of you might be flattered for a split-second it’ll soon be over taken by you cringing into your cappuccino as the looks of ‘um, who cares?’ surround you, when all you really wanted was to have a quiet conversation with the chap. It’s the same online.
If you really want to auto respond on Twitter
It’s definitely a balance of the time that it takes to do all this (time is a precious resource as a business owner) compared to the return on that time and energy. If you’re still determined to use automatic response for your new Twitter followers then there are third party solutions out there ie socialoomph, tweetlater etc.
A word of caution on automatic responses
Just be cautious about automatic responses on Twitter. People are used to ‘marketers’ sending out generic automatic responses and are really put off by it (and it doesn’t take much in the fickle social media world), so it can sometimes damage the potential relationship before it’s even started! The ideal is to respond to everyone individually and as person to person, but this sometimes isn’t realistic. So whether you’re going to go down the automatic route or not, here’s a couple of things to bear in mind:
4 things to do in your replies to new followers:
- Make it friendly and conversational – it’s not a sales opportunity, that’s just incredibly off-putting.
- ‘Fish where the fish are’ – don’t immediately point your new follower to your website etc – they found you on Twitter, develop the relationship on Twitter. (Once you’ve developed the relationship and they want to know more, then help them easily find out more about you.)
- Ask a relevant question in your response to keep the conversation going with them.
- If your response consists only of ‘Thanks for the follow.’ or similar – so are 50 other people’s responses in your new followers inbox that day – you’ll probably just be glossed over and miss that opportunity to be heard above the noise. Stand out and show personality. Think of something creative and personal to write that’ll help you be noticed.
Twitter is all about conversations – how do you start (and encourage) conversations with your followers?
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