How many times have you had this in your Twitter direct message inbox?

“Hi, thanks for following. We sell x, y, z.  Check out our website here:”

And, how many times do you click on the link or take an interest in what they have to sell? 0.0001% of the time I’m guessing!  This is the online alternative of walking into a networking meeting and saying “Hi I’m Sam, I can engage with your customers online to drive your business, check out my website at” before asking anything about the other person.  Immediately you’ll have put off the person you are harrassing and the chances of you doing business with them are zero to none!

Don’t fall into this trap!  Twitter is not about selling to your customers.  It is about creating a relationship with them, listening to their needs, taking an interest in their lives, gaining their commitment and interest to you through trust.  It is not about hounding your Twitter followers with sales pitches, offers, products, services, etc, etc.  Yes, there are times when you can include these, but make sure they are few and far between.

So, don’t fall into the automated DM trap.  Don’t alienate your followers before you even have chance to engage with them!