direct messages

Growing up in the 70s, our back door was always unlocked. As so it was with most of our neighbors too. While it might have been a more trusting time, it was simply an unspoken invitation to poke your head in and be invited for a cup of tea or coffee.

Something else I remember from that time is block parties. Each end of our street was closed off from incoming cars. The street was filled with picnic tables. Each household contributed food and drinks. Kids played and adults talked about all kinds of life happenings.

So what do unlocked back doors and block parties have to do with social media?

Those unlocked back doors were about building relationships and the block parties were all about strengthening a sense of community.

I am often surprised at how many companies and individuals miss the mark on these two very important foundations when it comes to their social media efforts. You know who I’m talking about, right? No? Not sure?

How Many Times Has The Following Happened to You?

You follow someone on Instagram and/ or Twitter and almost immediately you receive a direct message with a link to their product or service.

You follow a local business on Facebook only to discover that every post showing up in your feed is a sales pitch.

You make a new connection on LinkedIn and again, receive a quick message telling you how you need their service with a link attached.

A Couple of Thoughts About Following And Sales on Social Media

  1. Think about why you follow people. Is it because you want a sales pitch right away? Chances are, no. Most people who follow you feel the same way.
  2. How likely are you to buy a product or service you know nothing about? In the same thought, how likely are you to buy from someone or some company you know nothing about?
  3. So what do you do with new followers? Deliver value, build the relationship and establish trust. Isn’t that what you would be looking for?
  4. Truth – people will buy from other people and companies they feel they can trust.

Receiving Direct Messages

Now, there is nothing wrong with selling on social media. It’s a great medium to do so.

The problem lies in all these DM spammers (sounds like a rock band, though they are not as cool as a rock band) feeds filled with sales pitches and nothing else. It’s just annoying.

So what’s the solution? Ignore all direct messages? Not necessarily.

Navigating DMs takes some time, but it is important to read each one, especially the initial ones. If it’s a straight up line telling you why you need their product or service, decide what to do. Is this the type of message you want to be receiving right away? If not, ignore it, maybe even unfollow them as it is a sure tell tale sign of what more is to come.

But what if that first direct message isn’t a sales pitch? It’s all good then, right? Not necessarily. It could be you receive a DM that is an automatic message sent to new followers. Meaning, the person who sent it didn’t actually look you up.

Usually automatic messages are impersonal, however, I suggest replying to each and every direct message that is not trying to shove a product down your throat and siphon cash from your wallet. You may just end up building a great business relationship.

Unlock Your Back Doors And Have a Block Party

Today’s online consumers are pretty savvy. There is a good chance that before they follow you on your social media platforms, they know a little something about you or your product or service. Either from your feed, your profile or some Google research.

So what are they looking for by following you? Value.

Consumers want to feel valued by a developing relationship and sense of community. Like everything in social media, this takes time and commitment. Your followers want that virtual cup of coffee with you, while engaging in a digital conversation. So unlock your back door and invite them in to get to know you better.