A Guide to Using Direct Messages for Lead Generation

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The Pros and Cons of Direct Messages


1. Mutual following

You both have already agreed to follow each other. Thus, there’s a mutual feeling of both being ready to carry on a conversation. By following you, the lead has essentially ‘subscribed’ and indicated that they are okay with hearing from you.

2. Is not a public reply

Public @ replies are a fantastic vehicle for getting in touch with folks who are not following you, but they break down when trying to communicate at scale. Doing a lot of public replies will clutter your public feed and will increase your risk of being marked as spam. Save your account from being suspended and heighten your chance of a response by using a DM with folks who follow you.

3. Hits you everywhere

When you’re DMed there isn’t a place you’re not notified. You phone, email and Twitter account all let you know there’s a message waiting for you to read.


1. The stigma

As we addressed above, there are negative feelings still felt by many towards direct messages. We’re not making the case that all DMs are free of spam, but with the right wording you can break through that barrier and start to establish a real relationship with your leads.

2.  The technical issues

Twitter has been updating its DM system lately and its causing some problems. We even dedicated an entire blog post to creating a viable workaround to Twitter’s URL DM issues.  However, other problems have luckily dissipated.

Now that the pros and cons of direct messages have been laid out… The next question to ask yourself is why you would want to use direct messaging as a lead generation tactic. As a company engaging with potential customers through direct messages, what’s the end goal? That question can be answered two ways.

1. To get users to a landing page where they would fill out their contact information (in order to get an eBook, trial download, webinar, or other offer). You would take that information and put it into your database or follow-up with them via email or a phone call.

2.  Start a conversation to warm the relationship and uncover their needs before a sales call.

Keeping in mind these two end goals:

What Makes a Good Direct Message?

1. Using their name – Congratulations! By doing this you are now 80% more personal than the other DM’s they’re receiving. This stands out and people are much more likely to read messages where their name is used.

2. Using specifics – Instead of just saying ‘thanks for following,’ we recommend trying to be more personal about the topics your new follower has been posting about.

Example: Hi Stanley, saw your Tweets about content marketing. You may enjoy our free guide to help increase traffic to your landing pages – [Link].

Example: Hi Ashley, its great to meet a fellow startup founder! How long have you been in business?

Adding this level of personal specifics will help to get attention and for the lead to take you seriously. That said, you can use the same template over and over with the same target group of people since you are sending it privately.

3. Asking questions – When your end goal is starting a conversation (like we mentioned above), you want to include a very simple question in your direct message. The response should be an easy to answer objective question. Your first question could be a qualifying question. This would enable you to assess whether this is a viable lead.

Essentially, do they have a problem you can solve, and can you use that as a way to get their email address or get him or her on the phone. For example, if you’re targeting founders, you may start out by asking how long he or she has been in business. This helps qualify the lead and is easy to answer. Asking how their business is doing is a much harder question to answer and should come later.

Just remember, when he or she responds, that doesn’t mean mission accomplished. You need to keep the conversation going. Ask more qualifying questions to get the conversation down a path towards turning this lead into a customer.

Also consider adding them on LinkedIn once they respond to you. This enables you to send longer messages. Most of all don’t come off as trying to blatantly sell something. The goal is to get them interested enough in you so they will send their contact information over for a sales call.

In Socedo when you set up a direct message template think about your criteria section and what topics people are posting about. Then how you can insert that topic into your direct message upfront.

If you’re using a URL, make sure you test it first and if you run into any problems, here’s an easy workaround.

A Few Examples of Good Direct Message Templates

Hi {Name}, I’ve really enjoyed your Tweets about marketing! What channel is performing best for your team?

Hi {Name}, nice artwork! You might like our new free guide on selling art online – [Link]

Hi {Name}, love your Tweets on stock investing. What is your best performing position?

Hi {Name}, it’s great to meet a fellow snowboarder! Here is a coupon for 20% off lift tickets – [Link]


At Socedo, we see a lot of our customers using direct messages to reach out to potential leads. On average we see 30-50% of direct messages being responded to or clicked on. Because of this, we know direct messages work on Twitter.

In reality, it’s about structuring these DM’s so they are personal and specific to your receiving audience, which allows this feature to be successful.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.