Skip to content

Twitter Autofollow and Auto DM Etiquette

Mumma duck and kids Ah, to follow or not to follow – that is the question. But to AUTO follow or not to auto follow – that is a whole other question! And to AUTO DM?! Eek.

I received this DM recently from a Twitter bud:

“Please post me a link to something that answers the etiquette of the autofollow? Plus the rationale. I do without  knowing why.”

First, regards following, my policy from day one is to follow everyone back. Here are my two primary reasons why:

  1. Following those peeps back on Twitter who follow you says “hey, thanks for caring about what I have to say… I also care about what you have to say.”
  2. When both parties follow each other, you now have the ability to Direct Message (DM) – which is a private exchange between you and the other person and does not go out in the public Twitter stream.

I always like to say, “You never know when your next $100k client wants to DM you.” Granted there are other ways of reaching you – but Twitter is just SO darn efficient. And why create barriers for contact? I’ve made a LOT of lucrative deals as a direct result of having my DM feature decidedly ON! 😉


Regards automatically following those folks back who follow you: I first got started on Twitter in summer of 2007 and I was merrily building my following to about 7,000 a year later. I always manually followed back and didn’t auto DM. Then my velocity cranked up and I simply couldn’t keep up with following back.

So, I now automatically follow back using @jesse‘s platform I enjoy the extra features Jesse has, including the anti-spam setting – where the system unfollows anyone who unfollows you within x days. (One hallmark of a spammer is to follow 2000 people then when you follow them back, they unfollow you so they can go follow more peeps!)

Auto DM?

At first, I also chose to auto-DM all peeps I followed. I experimented with a simple invitation to access my 7 Day Facebook Marketing Tips with a link to my blog. Then I nixed that as I grew weary of receiving links myself.

Next, I used a message that encouraged my followers to let me know if they had any questions about Facebook and Twitter – oops, opened the floodgates on that one and couldn’t keep up.

image Then I just included a friendly message that merges in the first name field, e.g. “Greetings Roberta! It’s great to meet you in Twitterland.” But even that was starting to feel mechanical and inauthentic as I, again, received similar auto messages myself.

Not only that, it’s hard to strip out the bona fide DMs from all the auto-junk. I have my DM’s coming into my email and one of my VA’s filters them to identify important/urgent messages.

I’ve now opted out of of incoming and outgoing AUTO DMs via and [However, I gotta share – check out‘s suite of features on their paid version, including ability to send DMs to all followers.]

I’m not here to tell you what to do – it’s all a personal choice. I’m just sharing my experience!

What do you think? Do you autofollow everyone? If not, why not? Do you include an auto DM? I’d love to know what results you’ve achieved with the auto DMs – I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise on this one! lol.

Mari Smith

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is widely known as the Premier Facebook Marketing Expert and a top Social Media Thought Leader. Forbes describes Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” IBM named Mari as one of seven women that are shaping digital marketing. Mari is an in-demand keynote speaker, corporate social media strategist, dynamic live webcast host, and popular brand ambassador. She is coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day, and author of The New Relationship Marketing.

More Posts - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn


  1. Sam Jackson on February 13, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I can also confirm that TwitterDMer is not working… I will try TweetManager. It also appears that True Twit gives the option to automate messages to new followers, I’ll check that.

  2. naga20 on January 24, 2015 at 6:01 am

    aweosme ilustration mari , i love duck and i like to eat duck too
    anyway your articel was so awesome , thanks for sharing
    jasa seo | jasa seo murah | jasa seo profesional | apa itu seo | mengapa website butuh seo | tas laptop | tas ransel pria | dress wanita | sepatu pria | jaket pria | kemeja pria | ikat pinggang pria | jam tangan pria | kaos pria | fashion pria | agen tiket pesawat | bisnis tiket pesawat | usaha tiket pesawat

  3. ???? ?????? on June 22, 2014 at 3:25 am

  4. Putra Eka on September 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I was using socialtoo to auto-follow my twitter followers. But since I heard that twitter will be ban the auto-follow account I stopped. Now I’m using to tweepi to manage my followers

  5. Dave Fisher on April 14, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Mari, great topic. I am new to Twitter and still trying to get a grip on it.

    Bill, In response to your question
    My advice, is try it the free version , you will have to report each auto Tweets daily , that will take a bit of time. Once you got a handle on it in a few days then sign up for the Free Trial of the Professional edition. If you like it and it works for you then it is 30$ a month or just revert back to free version and post messages daily again.
    If you cannot make 30$ a month on Twitter then you might try something else.?

    I use auto Reply to new followers only. Just a Hi and thx but NO link to anything.

    I have not tried the AUTO DM yet but it is very interesting that you can send a mail to your followers just like you would a mail from your list.
    Does anyone know how this works ? Does it get read?


  6. Jimmy Vee on April 9, 2009 at 5:14 am

    As a marketer, I think that you should use every opportunity to get a message in front of qualified prospect and build a more complete relationship. With that being said, there are a few important elements that need to be observed based on what I just said.

    Take notice, I said qualified prospect. If you’re going to use an auto DM with something more than a generic hello, make sure that the people you follow are going to be interested in what you’re offering in your auto DM.

    I think using a boring, irrelevant auto DM is worse than using an auto DM that makes an offer or allows the recipient to get to know you better. Auto DMs that push affiliate offers or MLM type of offers are annoying, unoriginal and as worthless as tits on a bull.

    I personally use an auto DM that shows my personality and reveals my personal style. The auto DM encourages new followers to watch a video so we can get to know each other better.

    The video is created specifically for new twitter and facebook friends and gives people a real taste of who I am and why they would want to follow me and actually read what I have to say. I push the benefits for them of paying attention to my tweets and updates.

    In the video I ask my new friends to take a few additional steps to connect with me on a deeper level. Driving people to my facebook/twitter pages, groups and email newsletter. I have found this works really well. For those who don’t like the video, me or the auto DM… I say screw’em.

    You have to be willing to turn off some to get others to fully embrace you. Try to please everyone and you’ll be invisible to all.

    Jimmy Vee

  7. Regina on March 27, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Mari,

    Super great post. I concur with what you said as well as Denise and Ash. I love twitter and even when someone wants to dm me with a promotion, so be it. I don’t mind. We’re business people with the same agenda… to do business. I say take the one’s that appeal to you and disregard the others. Hiring a VA to handle that for you is also a great option.

    Reginas last blog post..Weekly Press Release Planning

  8. Marian Sparks on March 12, 2009 at 2:51 am

    Hi Mari,

    Excellent question! So here’s my practice today (hey the world is ever evolving….)

    AUTO-FOLLOW – I don’t autofollow. Mainly because I want to know who I’m following. I have found people (non-spammers but definitely marketers) who follow me and then unfollow me if I don’t follow them back in the X amount of days. I understand why they do it. But personally I view it as attention getting. If you truly want to connect and I’m slow in getting back with you (perhaps because I’m working on my business), then @ me on Twitter. When we engage, I prioritize following you over the other new followers because I’ve had a chance to get to know you!

    AUTO-DMs – Yes, there’s abuse and yes, it’s odd when you get a DM that is off & even self-serving. My practice of use/non-use has morphed over time as I’ve grown comfortable with my “twitter skin”.
    Initially, I auto-DM how honored I was that we’ve connected. And I truly am, because you never know where that connection will lead! Then I decided that I wanted to engage people more. So I appended the DM to ask the follower a question. Tried a couple of different ones and ended up with “What’s your favorite business topic for conversation?” I received interesting and funny responses that allowed me to connect and engage with fabulous people. So if you’re some aerospace mag and you receive my DMs which seems odd to you, then you’d know that I’m focused on biz.
    Now I no longer use it after speaking directly with twitterers who have 2K plus followers. They speak to how draining and irritating the Auto-DMs are simply because they receive so many of them. But who knows, I may pick it back up again…

    Bottomline, I think the Auto-DMs are appropriate if you’re sending the RIGHT message AND your target audience is the one follow you. Your use or non-use will vary based on Twitter growth both in followers and in building YOUR community on Twitter.


    Marian Sparkss last blog post..11 Dynamic Teleseminarians & Entrepreneurs Who Can Help You Grow Your Business If You Let Them

  9. Clarissa McIntosh on March 9, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I do not auto follow because I do want to see who I am following and actually look at their websites. I do send an auto message to thank people for following me. Then I ask a question that starts conversation. (Mine asks what brings my new follower joy.) I usually get responses to my question, which is cool, and it generates relationship building for me. Just my two cents!! 🙂

Scroll To Top