Auto DMs Part II: Why do people still use them?


So we went on a mission, as promised in Part I, to find out the reasons behind why people still continue to use Auto DMs  and the findings were very interesting. Let’s put our science hat on and go over the details lab experiment style, well loosely lab experiment style.


Going into this experiment, our theory about Auto DMs was that Auto DMs were a waste of time. It didn’t make sense to us why people were using them given their current reputation for being spammy, annoying, or necessary. We’re human *shrug*and we realized that we may have been a little… ok a lot biased with our opinions about Auto DMs and not really considering the other side.

We hypothesized (with our science hat *wink*) that we must have been missing something and therefore, in order to remain a semi-neutral party, embarked on a mission to discover what it was that we just weren’t getting. Sometimes you need to play devil’s advocate with yourself to make sure that you’re not being myopic.


We responded to each of the 22+ Auto DMs we received last week along with some others we had never previously responded to with the same simple message:

We’re conducting a study on automatic direct messages and why people use them. Care to share your thoughts?

We obviously didn’t expect everyone to respond or for all of our messages to get through, but to be honest, we did end up having some great conversations with those who were able to respond.


Total messages sent: 34

Total responses received: 8

Total messages unable to be sent: 17

Total messages sent successfully, but unanswered: 9Auto DM Results

So basically, we were unable to respond to half of the people who sent us Auto DMs  because we they weren’t following us. If you consider this at a larger scale, think about half of the relationships you’re attempting to form being shot down. I suppose it’s worth the effort if the other half are being closed upon, but if you look at our results, we received less than 25% success in responses. 24% of the people we were reaching out to actually responded and the remaining 26% didn’t. This could mean a number of things ranging from lack of interest to people just not checking to see if anyone responded to their DMs.

If you’re trying to close a deal or generate a response with your Auto DM, the rate of people who are actually interested could be even smaller than that.

Decision of Results:

The 8 responses we did receive were very interesting. There were some people that had no clue that DMs were even going out from their account. How? We have no clue. Some people answered our initial question and were unresponsive when we probed more. Others admitted that it was just a trial run and they were no longer using it going forward, and there were some (very few) that were using  it proudly and claimed that it was working for them. From that pool here are a few of the best conversations we had so you can see the conversations for yourselves (we’re in blue):

Convo 1convo 1

Convo 2convo 2


Convo 3convo 3

From these conversations we venture to say that Auto DMs are given a bad rap. They’re not entirely all as bad as they are thought to be, because it does provide an opportunity to connect with someone on a private personal level; however, given the bad rap we’re not sure that it’s worth the effort. Given that social media platforms are a public entity to interact with a vast amount of varying people from varying backgrounds, it only makes sense to keep in line with that and have public conversations that others can join in on. It gives an opportunity to meet new people. Direct messages seem to go against that.

However, if you are going to use Direct Messages as a form of marketing here something to think about. Instead of using automatic direct messages, type them by hand and be a little more personal, an instant response seems robotic. Nobody will fault you for not saying thank you for following immediately. It shows you’re human when you take a little more time to respond and make it worth it. The 8 people who responded to us were actual genuine people who cared about connecting with us, but unfortunately, there are several people who don’t even respond to their Auto DMs simply because on the preconceived notion that Auto DMs are crap. Our suggestion is to start off with an @reply to say thank you initially; from there you can move over to the direct messages to carry on the conversation.

That being said, we don’t have AS MUCH resentment towards Auto DMs as we previously did, but we probably still won’t ever use them. We will, however, at least make an effort to check them and continue with this experiment to see why people still use them and whether or not they are using them effectively.

As always, let us know your thoughts. If you have anything to add or any personal experience with Auto DMs, (positive or not) tell us about it in a tweet or email! We love chatting!



Auto DMs Part I: The Annoyances


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I know we’ve mentioned Auto DMs in several of our posts, but I think it’s time that this nuisance gets its own spotlight. If you follow our blog, you know firsthand how passionate we are about Auto DMs. For some reason we have yet to uncover, people seem to love using them. We’ve received 22 Auto DMs from people we’ve followed just within the last week. The sad part is that we actually like some of these people and don’t want to unfollow them (not yet, at least) but the Auto DMs are just so freaking annoying.

We’re going to assume that the offenders do not realize that Auto DMs are turning people off and creating spam explain it to you in more detail this time.

If your main goal in creating automatic direct messages is to reach out to new followers and thank them for following you and to show that you care, you’re actually sabotaging yourself. Automatic direct messages have established a reputation similar to that of a pop-ups and spam email; they’re really quite annoying; twitter is a platform that has a reputation of speed. Users go on quickly check notifications, scroll through the timeline, and tweet. The way the Direct Message box is set up ruins the whole flow of that fluidity. It’s out of the way off to the side in a separate area of the Twitter layout and kind of takes users away from the conversation.

Picture it like this: you’re at a party having a great conversation with some friends and associates with similar interests when out of nowhere a random person saunters over and pulls you to the side for a really important private conversation. You go with this person off to the side to have this conversation and the person says something like “I just wrote a book about [_________], let me tell you about it.”


Wouldn’t you just be completely bewildered and befuddled as to why they had to pull you aside to say that, especially since you were in the middle of a really great conversation? Wouldn’t it be just a little rude that they not only interrupted you, but also had the audacity to promote themselves after you only just met them and it’s completely unrelated to anything you were previously discussing? It’s rude, impersonal, and unprofessional.

With @ replies it’s a much more friendly and personable approach. Rather than send automatic messages to people who may or may not be able to respond, you actually create an open forum for communication rather than just pretend to.  If you’re really low on time, you can even set up and customize automatic @ replies to specific groups if you’d like with several different Twitter tools. It’s not something we’ve ventured to do just yet, so we don’t have too many details, but if and when we do, we’ll fill you in.

That being said, we’re going to go on a mission to find out the reasons behind why people choose to use Auto Dm’s. We’re going to reply to all of the automatic responses from people we’ve followed within the last week and come back here with our results. Stay tuned! And hey, if you personally use Auto Dm’s, tell us why. There’s two sides to every story. We’d love to see the other side! Either @ us on twitter, email us, or respond in the comments below!

Pinterest: What the Hell is it?

www.PurelySocialMedia.comPretty much everyone has heard the saying: a picture is worth 1000 words, but have you ever stopped to think about why? 1000 words is a lot when you really think about it. Consider writing a thousand word essay and reading it aloud to an audience. It would obviously take you more than a second to read it, and the audience more than a second to absorb the information. Think about that and consider this fact: it only takes your brain 13 milliseconds to interpret images that the eye sees. (This is a really cool article about how the brain processes images.)

Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas and discover new things. It is mainly composed of images and could be described as a virtual vision board. 70% of Pinterest users go on Pinterest to find inspiration for a future purchase. That being said, Pinterest is an amazing social media platform for business owners to post original images relevant to their business. Only 20% of content on Pinterest is original, so business owners who create content to go on Pinterest are entering a very small pool and have a high likelihood of being discovered.T O  C R E A T E  A  S O C I A L  M E D

Now that we’ve gotten all of that out the way, let’s discuss what Pinterest means to you and give you some tips on getting started:

  1. Assess whether or not Pinterest is for your business. Every platform is not for every business, so don’t feel pressure to get on a social network just because it’s there. You’re better off being present on a few platforms strongly than all of them weakly. On the other hand, don’t automatically disqualify your business from Pinterest just because you’re unsure. Here’s a great article to help figure out whether or not Pinterest is right for your business.
  2. Share! If and when you do get started on Pinterest, the sharing rule is kind of the same as we previously discussed about Twitter. Diversify your content by repinning things other users post, as well as posting your own original content.
  3. Create multiple boards. Pinterest allows you the unique ability to segment your content via boards. You should take full advantage of this. If you’re a pastry chef, for example, include multiple boards that embody your business i.e, cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, pastries… Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be strictly business. You can also choose to include a few boards that represent things your team likes. We’re actually in the process of creating personal boards on our Pinterest, as well.
  4. Include descriptive key words. Although Pinterest is mainly visual, it does have a place to put descriptions and such. In the description, it is important to use keywords to help pinners find your content and include a link, so people know where to find you.
  5. Always link posts back to your site.  Although bitly links are not currently working for creating pins, you can still use them in the description section to track visitors. This can also help test to see if people are even reading the description.

How NOT to FAIL at Social Media Campaigns

epic fail

Photo Credit: Associated Press

You may or may not have heard about the NYPD Twitter Outreach FAIL. For some odd reason, somebody in NYPD PR thought that it would be a marvelous idea to ask people to post photos of themselves with officers using the hashtag #myNYPD. This resulted in an influx of photos of police brutality from not only NY, but nationwide. Yikes!

This goes back to our post about Social Media Etiquette. Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to, or, in other words, don’t ask questions you aren’t prepared to answer. Rule number one of marketing is brand knowledge. You can’t market a brand you aren’t fully knowledgeable about….well you can, but you will most likely fall on your face.

Here are some tips to help prevent you from making the same mistake that NYPD made:

  1. Learn your brand. Not just what you perceive your brand to be, but what your target market perceives it to be, as well. NYPD attempted to highlight the positive of NYPD, but failed to realize that the NYPD brand had already created quite a notorious name for itself in terms of police brutality. From a marketing standpoint, NYPD stands for “Courtesy, Professionalism, and Respect,” but unfortunately its public strongly disagrees. If NYPD’s PR department had realized this or cared about this, they would have known that they needed to repair the brand’s image prior to promoting it.
  1. Be Proactive. Google Alerts allows you to enter a search query you’d like to monitor and receive constant email updates when that search query appears in the latest Google results. This is an awesome opportunity to stalk yourself. You can monitor your name, the name of your business, and your industry to stay on top of everything that arises. This way, if there is any negativity surrounding your business, you will know about it and be able to strategize a way to handle it before it blows out of proportion. Issues are like a mysterious rash appearing on your body; it could be a simple allergic reaction curable with Benadryl or it could be something serious and life-altering. The only way to find out is to investigate. With today’s internet reliant technology, your customers are for sure doing their due diligence and researching you. It is in your best interest to research yourself, as well and stay on top of it!
  1. Face issues head on. Don’t cower and hide or ignore the fact that issues exist. This will only allow them to fester. Sh*t happens! Regardless of what you do or how kickass your brand is, there will most likely be someone somewhere at some point who has something negative to say… and this is outside the trolls who are just busting your chops and being Debbie Downers. It’s frightening, but it’s the truth! Unfortunately, for NYPD, they have a whole angry mob of people who have negative things to say… and show, (Eek!) but they were not prepared to handle it. This is why need to constantly be aware of your brand.

Social media marketing is scary. You have to step down from your brand pedestal and interact with your uncontrolled public, and trust, they will not hesitate to tell you exactly how they feel about your brand. That’s not the part that matters, though, and a lot of brands miss that point and resort to deleting negative comments or staying behind the glass window. What matters is how your brand reacts to the negativity and whether or not you display that you care. If you brush it off and act like it doesn’t matter, you prove your public right, but if you grow a pair and face the issues head on, your public will respect you and your brand will improve. Remember, your brand is nothing without the people.

What displays of total social media epic failure have you seen from brands. Please share in the comments below or on Twitter and include links if you can find them. We love interacting with you guys!

Our Top 3 Visual Content Creation Tools

3 Great ToolsWe all know that a picture is worth a 1000 words, which can be helpful on twitter where your limited to 140 characters. We also know that in the context of social media, and marketing as a whole, content is king. But many business owners that we talk to just don’t have the time or know how to create great visual content. Since we’re not ones for reinventing the wheel here, check out the Social Media Examiner’s recent article on How to Create Visual Social Media Content.

Our goal here at Purely Social is to do our best to provide business owners with the most useful information in regards to their business’ impact on social media. As many of you know, it takes a lot of work to create a significant following on any platform, and getting those followers to convert to paying customers can be an even bigger challenge! Your hope in creating posts is that your followers will engage with it and ultimately share it with their friends and family. But with the amount of content that the average person is bombarded with on a daily basis, creating great content that is not only informative but also moves people to share it, is not an easy task.

We recognize this challenge, heck we struggle with it from time to time ourselves. That’s why we’re always on the hunt for the best tools out there that business owners can use to really stand out from the crowd! So here are our top 3 tools for creating professional looking content that won’t break the bank:

1. Canva: We LOVE Canva! This simple and free to use website offers a variety of content design layouts to create ads, banners, infographics and more. The only limits truly are your imagination! Our fave feature is that from one screen you can create a number of different versions of the same content. This really allows you to play with color and text the determine which is best suited for your message. Not sure which version to go with, simply send a link for your project to a friend or your team member to view, they can even make edits if you give them permission. A majority of the graphics available for use are free, however, Canva offers a large image library that you can also pull from to complete your project. These images cost $1.00 each, but you only pay once you decide to download your finished project. If you have your own images or logo that you would like to use just simply upload them to the site and the possibilities are endless!

2. PowToon: When we stumbled onto this website off the suggestion of another marketer, we just knew we found a cool new tool. I600x240powtoon1370344200325t’s free at a basic level and it’s awesome! But it will take you some time to figure out how to use it, don’t worry they provide you with tons of tips and help. PowToon is a website which allows its users to create short, yet professional, animated videos and presentations! Whether you’re pitching your company to consumers, businesses, or investors, adding a PowToon to your website or social platform will get the conversation rolling! High impact content is what it takes to converts followers into customers. We really love this tool because with just a computer you can make a professional and informative video for your business with music, dialog and fun animation that eye catching. If your looking for even more options, their premium packages  start at $228 per year and offers hundreds of royalty free images, dozens of royalty free music tunes, and a higher export quality. Definitely worth checking out!

screen568x5683.Directr: We just think this is the most convenient cell phone app for any business owner… Currently only offered on the App Store for the iPhone or iPod Touch, the company asks  Android users that are interested in trying it out, to contact them directly. The reason why we just had to share  this app with you, is that it takes the complexity out of diy film-making. Directr provides you with ideas and assistance you in creating great product and service based videos. For each idea you’re provided with a storyboard that details the shots you’ll need to shoot as well as detailed instructions on how to get it done. Once the pieces of your video have been recorded the app provides you with everything you’ll need from music, titles, effects and voice over capabilities to complete the project. It will take some practice and the app allows you to see multiple takes before selecting the one that works best for each shot, which we feel is one of many neat features. What you’re left with in the end is a complete video you can share directly to social platforms. There is a free limited version and additional packages start at just $25 per month to create one video a month. Check out this informative video to learn more!

We hope that these tools will prove useful to you as well. What’s truly great about all of these tools is that they allow you to save on projects that would typically be timely and costly. These tools empower business owners to be creative and create outstanding content that gets noticed. And hey isn’t that what it’s all about?


Awesome Engaging Brand of the Week — @helper

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So, we want to start a little something new here. We talk a lot about what business owners and brands should do on social media, (engagement being number one) so we thought it’d only be fitting for us to show you real life brands exemplifying these good habits.

This week, we pulled a screen shot of Hamburger Helper’s Twitter account. This is from a while back when we were doing our research, but if you go to their page now, you’ll still see engagement. Their page is a riot! They have created a personality and a voice for their little oven mitt character and are using it to the utmost effectivity. It’s pretty cool. How many times do you reach out to a brand and actually get a response?!

How can this apply to you? Well, it’s simple. Create a voice that speaks to your target audience: one that they can relate to, one that’s human and engaging, and use it! Reach out to your target audience and engage! Ask questions, share info, comment on their posts!

While you’re at it, comment on ours, too! We’d love to hear from you. What are some brands that you admire? Also, call out some brands that you think aren’t as engaging and tell us why! You can reach us on Twitter or in the comment boxes down below! =D


Awesome Engaging Brand of the Week