Twitter is Evolving to Keep Up. Here’s How to Adjust With It.

By: Jamilah Corbitt

Ever since the emergence of Twitter, marketers have been crafting witting direct messages to get the attention of their audience. We’ve seen it all, from the “Thank you for following” message to “Buy my book on Amazon.”

Some people take the DM system too far and bombard new followers with spam. Others, however, have taken a personalized approach — greeting new fans with a custom message and a thank you.

The DM landscape is changing, as news of the new character limit was announced by Twitter’s direct messaging product manager, Sachin Agarwal. According to Agarwal’s statement in The Guardian, he says the platform has “done a lot to improve direct messages over the past year and have much more exciting work on the horizon.”

In April, Twitter allowed anyone to send a message without following the sender. Previously, you could only receive DMs from people who follow you. Now, users have the option to open their tweets to the entire Twitterverse by going to the settings menu and electing to receive messages from anyone.

So what do all these changes mean for brands? For one, it’s further erasing the line of disconnection between brands and customers. Believe it or not, this might be good news for your company. I can give you three huge reasons why this new feature can be beneficial:

  1. Brands can give customers the opportunity to contact them directly via Twitter. It levels the playing field with Facebook. Some people prefer Twitter over Facebook, and now they have the opportunity to communicate with brands privately on their preferred social medium.
  2. Angry customers have the option of direct messaging brands directly, instead of mentioning the brand. Mentions appear on the social feed, while DMs are private. Of course, nothing is stopping that angry customer from also mentioning your brand — so still tread carefully.
  3. On the upside, interested customers can continue communication over DMs, as opposed to a limited 140 character tweet or taking the conversation to another application like email — which increases the likelihood of a missed connection. Brands are now able to continue nurturing the relationship on the same platform in which it was created.

According to Kathleen Chaykowski from Forbes, Twitter is in a fight for market share and advertising dollars with emerging mobile apps while its growth is slowing. Chaykowski states:

User growth in the first quarter slowed to 18% down from 20% in Q4 of 2014 and from 23% in Q3 of that year. After ending Q1 with a total of 302 million monthly active users, the company warned that user growth wasn’t looking good for the current quarter, but didn’t offer estimates. While the company is still adding new users, a series of product changes aimed at making the platform more user-friendly, such as the logged-out homepage, haven’t given Twitter the users it needs.

Twitter is rapidly evolving to keep up with the competition. Mobile messaging is one of those features that was previously not on Twitter’s radar.

Consider integrating Twitter’s new features into your existing marketing strategy. As you’re developing your master plan, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Avoid Spamming — Just because Twitter is extending the character limit, doesn’t give you permission to obnoxiously slide into people’s DMs promoting your product or service. Also avoid auto DMing people who follow you. It might be tempting, but don’t use the new character limit as an excuse to beg individuals for attention.
  • Get Personal — Humanize your brand by adding personality. If you’re responding to someone in a DM, identifying yourself is the first step to building trust. Let the person know they’re talking to a human by putting your name or initials at the end of the message.
  • Add value — The new character limit will provide you with the unique opportunity to add additional value to your audience by providing extended content to your audiences.

Sure Twitter is late to the party, but this will be good news for all users. It gives us the opportunity to connect with our audience beyond 140 characters. Take advantage before your competition does.

Originally published at on June 17, 2015. Head over for more tips on being authentic and awesome in your business.

JaiWiz helps executives leverage their expertise to drive revenue and growth for their brand. Our focus is assisting clients in creating high-quality content that educates prospects and generates qualified leads.