As soon as you log into Twitter, you see a continuous stream of content.
People sharing their wins and failures, how they did this or that, their journeys… There’s plenty to keep you reading for a long time.
The truth is that what you are seeing on Twitter is only the surface. If you think of Twitter as an iceberg, the visible portion is just the tip.
The platform’s true power lies beneath that surface. And the DMs (direct messages) are where it all starts.
In today’s post, we’ll cover what DMs are, why they matter, and how to master them for your own benefit.
This is our guide on how to DM on Twitter.
What are Twitter DMs? Why do they matter?
A Twitter DM (or direct message) is a private message sent to another user. Despite its perception as a simple means of keeping up with friends, it’s actually a powerful tool. It can be used for:
Building a “tribe”. Finding peers who share your vision and will join you on the journey
More reach for your content: Twitter DMs are a great (and underused) distribution channel.
More traffic to your projects. DMs are a very powerful feature that can drive real traffic to your various projects if used properly
Unexpected opportunities: You never know how one connection can change the course of your life. Many serendipitous connections happen on the Twitter DMs.
Making friends: If you assume that you will follow people who share your interests, it’s fair to assume that you are more likely to make friends on Twitter than anywhere else
How to send a Twitter DM?
It is fairly easy to send a DM. There are two ways to do so:
On Twitter’s home screen, you can simply tap the envelope icon on the left-hand bar. Then type out the username (the @) of the person you want to DM and that’s it.
You can go directly to that person’s profile by clicking on the envelope icon at the top right corner of their profile.
Note: some people don’t allow others to send them DMs unless they follow each other. That’s why on some people’s profiles you won’t see the envelope icon.
Twitter DMs DO’s
The following are a few rules you should follow if you want your DMs to be read:
“Warm” them up first
You’re more likely to get your DMs opened if you’ve already interacted with someone before. Engage with their content before DMing.
Do some research
It is not necessary to know everything about them, but some key points like what they do and what they write will be helpful. Add that to your opening message.
Asking a general “can I pick your brain” question tells me you don’t know what you want.
Making a concrete ask or observation does.
Twitter DMs Dont’s
The following are some practices you should avoid if you don’t want your DMs to be ignored by most people and tagged as spam.
Don’t share links first
Twitter tends to hide it and you will appear salesy right out of your first message. Don’t be “that guy”.
Don’t make a big ask
You can ask questions in your direct messages, as long as they aren’t requests for help. Curious goes further than needy.
Don’t make it a numbers game
Sending 3 highly targeted and meaningful DMs is better than 100 copy-paste DMs. People notice this.
These are simply good practices on how to DM on Twitter. Like most rules, they can be broken, so feel free to experiment with your approach to DMs.
Who should you target with your DMs?
Now that we’ve covered how to DM on Twitter, let’s talk about who to DM to make the most of this feature.
DM your followers
There are a few reasons you should DM those who follow you already:
By doing so, you build a stronger relationship with them. You make them fans instead of followers. They become people instead of numbers.
It gives you insight directly from the source. Ask them directly what type of content they would like, for example. Those insights will really help you as you move forward.
Some people automate DMs to every new follower, but that might feel a bit, well, automated. Our advice is that you only do it to the new followers that seem interesting to you.
DM people who are a few steps ahead of you
What does “a few steps ahead of you” mean? Imagine you are an upcoming SaaS founder building an MVP. You could connect with other founders whose company is below 10kMRR by searching and DMing them.
Unlike DMing a billion-dollar founder Musk, the insights that they will give you will be much more useful to you, at least at your current stage.
Additionally, you might want to DM those people with content that you think might interest them.
Worst case scenario, they’ll ignore you. At best, they will engage with the content, expanding its reach.
DM your peers
One of the main advantages of Twitter is that you can build out a network of “friends” over time. People who are on a similar journey and stage to you.
Try to stay in touch with them on a regular basis. They will be your “support network”.
Cold DM prospects
Last but not least, you should target prospective clients or users. Try to DM them, but keep in mind what we discussed above. Try not to lead with an ask. Create a real relationship first.
Pro tip: Tweet Hunter’s autoDM feature
One of Tweet Hunter’s many features is the auto DM. This allows users to set a rule so that a DM is sent automatically when people perform a certain action on their tweet. Some people request RTs, others likes, and others ask for a specific word in the reply.
We’ve seen many people use (and profit) from this feature. Here are a two examples:
Joe and Maciej both benefited from either growing their email list or getting more users for their products.
All they had to do was tweet via Tweet Hunter and set up the auto-DM feature.
Now it’s your turn. Optimize your profile
On Twitter, DMs are where things happen. You must master it in order to get the most out of the platform. It is important that you optimize your profile before sending them.
Why? Put yourself in the receiver’s position.
Would you open a DM from an account without a profile picture and a strange bio?
On the other side, if you receive a DM from someone with a well-crafted profile, the chances that you read it increase.