@Pawprints4ever* recently began following my Twitter account.
While deciding whether or not to follow back, I took the time to read the bio for @Pawprints4ever and learned they had a pet-related page on Facebook. Great! Decided not only to follow back, but also immediately “liked” their Facebook page. I then sent a friendly Direct Message (DM) to them stating I had joined and invited them to become a fan of my dog’s Facebook page (yes, my dog has a Facebook page AND a Twitter account). Perhaps we could help each other.
Several hours later, a Direct Message arrives….
Thank you for following us. Please be our fan on Facebook at Pawprints4ever http://www.facebook.com/pages/PawsPrints4ever
Excuse me. Did I not already “like” their page? Aha! It became painfully clear to me that followers of @pawprints4ever are not worthy of a personal message. I felt violated; was I just another tweep, being “acquired” so that I could get blasted with marketing that perhaps I didn’t want?
So here we are, 24 hours later. Giving @pawprints4ever the benefit of the doubt, I sent yet another DM (in two tweets):
Yesterday, I became a fan of your FB site; several hours later you sent a invite to join your FB site...what's up with that?....
....and, sent an invite to you to join my dog's fan page on FB. You did not. Are your messages automated? mine are not. thanks, Gerry.
Firm, yes. To the point, yes. That was the intention. Was I surprised when no response came? Nope. But I admit to being surprised just a couple of days later when @Pawprints4ever unfollowed me.
@Pawprints4ever never took the time to learn I’m an avid pet lover. Not to give myself a shameless plug, but since it’s relevant here, I DO write about pet-friendly places for examiner.com. One would think this would “qualify” me to be a part of their target audience, given the fact that their reason for being is to bring dog owners, pet friendly businesses and pet-friendly destinations together for socializing, sharing information and promoting responsible pet ownership and interactions.
Lesson learned: Putting your business on automatic pilot just isn’t a good idea. In the example above, timing IS everything. So is the message. It has to make sense. Automation is never going to let that happen 100%. Automated direct message = Fail. Think about it. This is as cold and unfriendly as those robotic voices you get when calling most corporations nowadays.
* Fictitious name. Why am I protecting this twit? Heck, I don’t know!
P.S. If you are a pet owner or lover, my dog, Mighty Joe Young is @mitejoe on Twitter and his page is "Poodle of the Pacific" on Facebook.