3 months ago Twitter has announced that the last walls on direct messages are coming down: you can now opt to send and receive messages from any Twitter user, regardless of your following status. Latest updates to Twitter DMs also allow users to reply to any message they receive, even if the sender doesn’t follow them. New direct-messaging capabilities, along with a new button indicating whether or not you can DM the user on Twitter’s mobile app, will be rolled out to all users.

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These changes complement another modification to Twitter DMs earlier this year: launch of Group DMs, which give Twitter users the ability to privately converse with several other users simultaneously. According to Twitter’s official blog, there are many more updates in the works—all motivated by the goal of making “the private side of Twitter is just as fulfilling as the public side.”

1. Add value

The DMs you send have to provide users with a benefit or something they think is useful to them. We do not recommend using “Direct Messages” to welcome new followers as this is seen as annoying to many Twitter users. Instead make sure your messages have a purpose and that the people you are sending them to will want to receive that content. For example your current customers may be interested in promotions and past event attendees may want to attend your upcoming event.

2. Design the message around spam filters
Although DMs in Twitter are not filtered according to certain words, the emails users receive in Hotmail, Gmail, etc., from Twitter are. Therefore DM’s containing certain words, such as “free,” “act now,” “limited time,” or “click now.” will not be sent to users’ email inboxes. However, they will still receive the DM in Twitter.
For guidelines on how to make sure your messages are not perceived as spam please see Mailchimp’s article on “Avoiding the spam filters”.

3. Customize the links you use in DMs
Links can be seen as being untrustworthy as people perceive them as spam or containing viruses. We recommend that you create a custom URL to be used in your campaigns. For example my new Blog is www.GlennRichardMurphy.com. This is viewed as much less threatening then http://www.skjdclsdlskdj+?//skjdhksjh. Which would you rather click on?

Alternative to Twitter DM’S??

So how do you communicate with your followers without auto-responses? In a social media etiquette post a few weeks ago, I mentioned a Twitter DM survey one tech columnist performed with his own followers, where most people responded by saying they found automatic messaging to be spammy. Feedback from most surveyed users said that, if you want to connect, an @mention feels a lot more sincere. After all, Twitter DMs are designed to facilitate private discussions; so if you want to celebrate your new followers, why not do it on a public feed?

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I hope this has shed some light on the “sensitive” area of Twitter DM’s. Some choose not to do it at all, however most use it as a popular marketing form of lead generation or for a giveaway. Either way, it can be done effectively, using the right strategies that are safe and yet effective while honouring Twitter’s codes