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1 unread message – Twitter’s policy update: A Direct Message to marketers

By Phoebe Scott on 13th May 2015

Twitter announced this month that it was changing its ‘Direct Message’ policy to allow anyone to privately message any other user on the platform. Traditionally, users could only contact other users through Direct Message if both were mutually following each other.

Déjà vu? Exactly. This is actually the second time Twitter has tried this, with a trial running back in 2013 to certain users.

But what does this mean for marketing? Well, it’s an interesting move. If all runs smoothly, the feature will allow brands to directly engage with consumers and buyers from both a marketing and a customer service angle on another channel. However, the feature is ‘opt-in’ rather than ‘opt-out’ so that immediately fills the air with the need for trust. Like a primary school classroom, it does mean that if one user breaks the rules, everyone must suffer the consequence and have the barriers shut down.

The Gen Y consumers in particular are open to signing up to receive updates from brands, with a relaxed attitude in general towards sharing data, but as consumers, we only bother to open the communications we find relevant. As with email marketing, companies sending blanket messages to all contacts are throwing money into the abyss from their marketing budget.

We live in a world full of technology with data enveloping each person, and this allows marketers to better target their audiences. Social media is a valuable tool for this. It is an online diary stuffed to the brim with likes and dislikes, and there’s almost never a lock to break. Through social channels, marketers are able to see, in real-time, the click-through-rate on their shareable content, to measure what is and isn’t working.

Whether brands are sharing discounts, or driving consumers to content on their websites, it is important that everything sent to users may be of interest to them and bring added value to keep the trust, and keep the barriers of Direct Message open.

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