Twitter continues to be one of the main outlets for marketing and branding both your personal and professional brand, making it easier and more convenient to connect with current and future customers. Followers tend to ask questions regarding your brand or posts by replying to or re-tweeting your tweet, but there are many that may want to have a more private conversation and choose to direct message (DM) their questions or requests. Should you use your DM to build relationships with followers? In short, yes, but many wonder if you should DM and need help determining how to DM on Twitter, as well as how using DM can build your brand and influence your relationships with your followers.

What Is the Purpose of DM on Twitter?

Gone are the days that private messages are just for personal conversations. DMs are being used more and more to build business relationships, as well. DMing has a few different purposes on Twitter, which make it a function of Twitter you’ll want to use for branding and influencing followers. To understand the purpose of and how to DM on Twitter, however, you must first understand what it even is.


What Is a Twitter DM?

A direct message on Twitter is a private message sent to a specific Twitter user. DMs can be sent to someone following you, but you can send and receive DM’s from anyone not following you if you have turned on the option to receive DMs from anyone. They can only be 280 characters long. DMs have their own personal area on Twitter and will not be available for public viewing unless you or the person you’re messaging with shares them.

We know a DM is a private message on Twitter, but what is the purpose of it? DMs are typically used to communicate with followers for both personal and professional purposes, including networking and building professional relationships. Why would someone even care about how to DM on Twitter, and why send a DM rather than using another form of communication, like email?

  • Many followers use DMs because they do not have an email or another method of contact for a particular Twitter user
  • Some people would rather not look for contact information and choose to DM because it’s convenient and easily accessible
  • There may be something on Twitter that a follower would like to send to a user, and sending via DM is a quick way to provide them with the details
  • Several followers use Twitter to welcome new followers and invite them to learn more about them

Is There a Need for DM to Influence Followers?

Building relationships with followers on Twitter is more than just posting content they may need or want, or even responding to their mentions (when someone "tags" your username in a post). Using DMs to communicate with followers is becoming more popular because of its convenience, especially for individuals representing a business or brand. It’s important to note that it is reasonable to understand that not all DMs will get responded, including yours to your followers, because:

  • The message may not be relevant to your business or brand or may not appeal to the needs of the follower you are messaging
  • The message may be inappropriate
  • A response may not be necessary

There may be DMs that would be better answered by visiting your website, and in that case, you should still respond to the message and explain why they should refer to the website.

Many times, brands, businesses and individuals just simply do not respond to DMs or only respond to specific ones. So, when you provide a response to a follower’s message, they tend to feel more connected to you or your brand. Followers of brands and businesses want to feel like they are more than just another customer and acknowledging their DM is a great way to build that rapport. Also, ignoring DM’s may suggest to a follower you don’t value them, and you risk losing them as a follower or building a reputation for poor customer service.

Why You Should Learn How to DM on Twitter?

Now that you understand why DMing is important to influence the relationship with followers, it’s also important to understand why it’s necessary to learn how to DM on Twitter. What benefit does it provide for you and your followers?

  • You are provided the opportunity to learn more about your followers in a more casual environment
  • Your followers can receive more details on your products or services with a personal touch
  • You can build relationships with followers organically
  • You can use DMs for giveaways, opt-ins and special sales for particular followers

How to Network and Influence Followers Using Twitter DM

Using DMs on Twitter is not difficult, but it is necessary to learn to communicate with followers. In order to make sure you use it correctly and efficiently, you should learn how to DM on Twitter to build relationships with followers.


How to DM on Twitter

As we’ve discussed previously, anyone can start a conversation on Twitter, but the person the message is being sent to must opt in via settings to receive a message from users that are not followers. You can also use DMs on Twitter to engage in group conversations, and everyone in the group can see the messages, whether they follow each other or not.

You can follow these steps to send a Twitter DM:

  • 1
    Choose the “messages” or DM icon on the navigation bar
  • 2
    When the message expands, choose "new message" from the upper right corner
  • 3
    From the “send message” box, type the usernames with the “@” symbol in front for the user you are sending a message to
  • 4
    Add your text, video, photo, emoji or GIF in the message area
  • 5
    Choose the "send" button, and your message is headed to the user or users of your choice

Here are the steps to replying to a DM:

  • 1
    Choose the person’s username that you received the message from, and a reply box will populate
  • 2
    Add your response to the reply box and choose send

When using Twitter’s DMs, especially as a brand or business, you should have a plan of action to ensure you are taking the necessary steps to appropriately interact with followers. Not all followers are going to convert to customers or clients, and some may not even agree or use your product or service, so you want to make sure you are connecting via DM with the followers that want or need what you’re offering.

1. Be Specific

As you prepare to connect with followers via Twitter’s DMs, remember your message should be strategic and to the point. Your followers may be just as busy as you are, and you don’t want them to ignore your message, so make sure to be direct while being professional.

2. Personalize Your DMs

When you send a DM to followers and it’s directly related to them, it makes a big difference in their interaction with you. Sending a message with a person’s name and general text that reads like one that has been sent to 30 other followers is not enough, sometimes, to make a follower feel like you took the time to personalize the message specifically for them. Take a look at their profile to understand who they are, what their needs could possibly be, and how you or your business can support them before reaching out. Tailor the message to engage them by showing them how you can meet their specific needs and why they can benefit for your product or service.

3. If Using Automated Messages and Be Strategic

When visitors become followers, many Twitter users have an automatic welcome message that is sent to them. Many times, these messages are not specific or strategic to anyone or anything, other than thanking people for becoming followers. Make your automated message stand out from those of other users. Your first message to a follower's DM should be one that has purpose, adds value, gets straight to the point, is gracious, and can be grammatically correct.

4. Respond to DMs in a Timely Fashion

When you receive DMs from followers or responses from DMs you have sent, it’s important to respond as quickly as possible. People lose interest quickly, and if you wait too long to respond, people may have moved on to the next opportunity or may think you are simply not interested in what they have to say.

​5. Don’t Forget Your Call to Action (CTA)

A call to action is an action item to complete as a next step. Whether or not you initiated contact, if there is a chance for building a relationship or converting the follower to a client, a CTA may keep them engaged. Be specific with your CTA, suggesting a meeting time or giving them a specific task that will require follow up from you.


Learning how to DM on Twitter can help increase your visibility, build stronger relationships with followers, and even convert followers to customers. The key is to be strategic, direct and professional, as well as personalize messages while being relatable with well-crafted messages. If you use Twitter’s DM option correctly, you can receive actual responses from followers and expand your brand in the process.