Project Open Kimono 11: Do Twitter Auto DMs work?

One of the experiments we’ve run as part of Project Open Kimono was to set up an automated Direct Message to everyone who follows me on Twitter.  We did this in Social Oomph but there are lots of similar services out there. The message says, “Welcome aboard! You might like to read our B2B Marketing Manifesto” — plus a shortened URL that links to the B2B Marketing Manifesto landing page.

The URL, when fully unfurled, reveals the Google Analytics tracking code:

I generated this with the Google URL builder, a simple tool that makes tracking links really easy (especially if you have a guy like Neil Stoneman to set up the Analytics).

For you closet geeks: you can decode the URL by looking at the stuff after these words:

?utm_source = social

?utm_medium = twitterautodm

?uth_campaign = manifesto

(Neil says I did it wrong — apparently the medium should have been ‘social’ and the source ‘twitterautodm’, but, hey, at least I tagged it.)

So anyway, this is the DM tweet that people get when they follow me:

I was worried it might be cheesy or crass (what do you think? comments welcome below), but thought it was worth a test. If no one came for the Manifesto, then we’d stop.  Of course, a chunk of new followers came to me from reading the Manifesto, so this offer wouldn’t be attractive to them, but anyway…

The idea of automating communication felt false to me at first. And I don’t always like the auto-DMs I get when I follow people: they often have that reek of false sincerity (“Hey! Thanks for the follow! I hope I can help you achieve the full potential of your personal brand!”).

But then the ‘pro’ rationale won out:

— it’s only polite to welcome new friends
— if you’re following me you really might like the Manifesto
— no one is twisting your arm, it’s easy to ignore the DM

Well, I’m still not convinced that this isn’t a diluted species of spam (SPAM lite! Less gristle!), but the results are in and…

It works.

After about eight weeks, Google Analytics (well, Neil) tells me that 20 people came to the website from this link. Okay, small numbers, but that’s from about 75 new followers, so it’s not a bad click through rate (26%).

More importantly, the goal conversion rate for these people – the ones who actually filled out the form and downloaded the Manifesto – is two-and-a-half times the site average. Here’s the Analytics snippet:

Conversion Rate in B2B web analytics

See? 15% of the visitors from this source converted versus 4.18% of traffic from all other sources. Okay, the numbers are tiny (Amazon we ain’t) but the principles hold up:

The Principles

— Test stuff!

— Tag your URLS! (so you can…)

— Track everything!

And one final conclusion: if your offer is relevant and your message not too crass or simpering and doesn’t mention the words ‘personal brand’, then go ahead and set up a Twitter Auto DM.  It works.

Hungry for more Project Open Kimono? Knock yourself out:

Project Open Kimono Part 1 – the one where we commit ourselves in public (Planning)

Project Open Kimono Part 2 – the one where it all kicks off (Thinking)

Project Open Kimono Part 3 – the one where confidence starts to rise (First results)

Project Open Kimono Part 4 – the one where the trick shots start (Cross-promotion)

Project Open Kimono Part 5 – the one where we share the first month’s results (Reviewing)

Project Open Kimono Part 6 – the one where we toughen up (Soul Searching)

Project Open Kimono Part 7 – the one where we find the world’s best marketers (Segmenting)

Project Open Kimono Part 8 – the one where we show that design isn’t everything (Style v Substance)

Project Open Kimono Part 9 – the one where lead nurturing proves its worth (Marketo)

Project Open Kimono Part 10 – the one where the form fights back (Form v No Form)

Project Open Kimono Part 11 – the one about autoDMs in Twitter

Project Open Kimono Part 12 – the one about re-purposing and atomising your content

Project Open Kimono Part 13 – the one with an early peek at the outcomes

Project Open Kimono Part 14 – the one where it ends (before it starts again)


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