Changes to Twitter direct messaging

Changes to Twitter direct messaging – marketing gold?

In case you haven’t heard, there are some pretty big changes being made to the Twitter direct message (DM) functionality. The one we feel that’s caused the most excitement in the marketing world is that users can now opt to receive DMs from anyone, regardless of whether they’ve followed them or not. But does the change live up to the hype?

The opportunity
People have been talking about Twitter’s potential as a customer service tool for a long time now, and this new feature makes the platform an even handier way for customers to get in touch with you.

For example – I needed to change an Easyjet flight, and after a lengthy and unsuccessful interaction with their phone system, I tweeted them – and got a response back almost immediately:

Easyjet DM invite

The update meant that we could have a private conversation via Twitter, which resolved my issue far faster than calling them would have (the flight was moved with no problem, you’ll be glad to hear). One could just as easily have a similar conversation about technical configurations for a technology solution, or to book an engineer in to visit a customer site.

The risk
Some marketers might be tempted to try and use this new feature as an alternative to email marketing – after all, if anyone can reach you, then you can also reach them, right?

Not so fast. Firstly, there’s no data on how many users have opted in to this new feature – so there’s no guarantee that such a campaign would be successful. Secondly, remember that people have opted in to your email list – but they haven’t opted to receive DMs from you. If you start flooding people’s inboxes with sales messages, you’ll soon find yourself losing favour with your audience. Best to keep that sort of content for your email campaign, and focus on Twitter’s new features as a way to enhance your customer service.

What do you think? Do you see value in the new Twitter DM features? Let us know on Twitter or LinkedIn – or leave us a comment on the blog.

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