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Beginner's Guide To Direct Messages On Twitter

Rachel May Quin
Aug 28, 2014 1:54:37 PM

Direct messages are a private message sent directly to a specific user on Twitter, that nobody else is able to see unless they have access to that account. There are three key things that you need to know about direct messages:

  • You can only send a direct message to someone that you follow and follows you in return.
  • Direct messages are still subject to Twitter’s 280-character limit.
  • You can only send up to 250 direct messages a day - this shouldn’t be a problem, unless you’re a particularly chatty tweep.

So how can you use direct messages on Twitter? Not only are they a great way to privately connect with friends, but they can also help generate leads and drive traffic to your website by engaging with potential customers in a more discreet manner, rather than clogging up your Twitter feed with Tweets.

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How to send a direct message

Sending a direct message is a super simple process. As mentioned earlier, make sure before you attempt to do this that you are following the user you’d like to send a direct message to, and that they are following you back. If they do not follow you, try sending a polite Tweet @ them asking if they could follow you so you can send a message. Then follow these steps:

  • Click the envelope icon, which should be visible in the top-right of your navigation bar.
  • A pop-up window will appear, showing you the history of all your direct messages, select New Message to start composing a message.
  • In the Address box, type the name or the username of the person you’d like to send a direct message to.
  • If you’d like to attach a photo to your message, click Add Photo. Remember, since direct messages are only visible to you and the message recipient, photos that you send through direct messages are also private.
  • Type your message (don’t forget about the character limit!) and click Send.

Though Twitter doesn’t inform you of when your direct message has been read, you can use bit.ly (or any other trackable link tool) to track click-through rate from your direct messages to monitor how often they are being opened - this is particularly useful for marketers hoping to branch out in to Twitter campaigns.


How to delete a direct message

Do you want to clean up your direct message history and reach inbox zero? No problem. You can delete direct messages, although be aware that deleting the conversation will only delete things on your end - the direct messages will still be visible on the recipient’s Twitter account.

  • Click the envelope icon to see your conversation history.
  • Find the direct message you want to delete and hover over it with your mouse, a trash can will appear for you to click.
  • Confirm that you want to delete the message - all done!



How to run a direct message campaign

Nov 2017 - UPDATE: Direct Message campaigns are no longer available. The new way to send automated direct messages is through Twitter Chatbot.

Twitter marketing campaigns go far beyond just Tweets. Direct messages can be used for so much more than just sending a private joke to your friend, they can also be used as part of a comprehensive marketing campaign to make sure you’re targeting the right people. SocialBro can help you with that. Our Twitter campaign tool allows you to target specific followers within your community to create personalized direct messages. This level of personalization, combined with our filtering options, allow you to create direct message campaigns for specific segments that deliver real results. Personalizing your campaigns not only increases engagement, however it eliminates the spammy nature that can sometimes be associated with direct messages on Twitter.


Hopefully we’ve covered everything you need to know about direct messages in this comprehensive beginner’s guide. Got any more questions? Let us know in the comments!


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