twitter direct messages

While it's easy to answer basic customer support questions publicly (and that in and of itself is a wise thing to do), in many cases, customer support issues need to be handled privately. If your customers are tweeting you for support, moving those questions over to Direct Message poses many benefits, including being able to resolve issues quickly and efficiently. The Twitter Direct Message feature has undergone many changes designed to allow businesses to engage with their audience and offer an overall richer experience for users. For example, no longer do you have to ask customers to follow you in order to start a private conversation with them, which can cause tempers to flare when you already have an upset customer. In this blog, we will be discussing how your business can begin using Twitter Direct Messages as a tool to improve the customer service experience your company offers:

Update Your Direct Messages Settings

To begin, log into your Twitter account, click on your logo in the upper right hand corner, then Settings and privacy, then Privacy and safety, and scroll down to the bottom until you get to the Direct Messages section and see this:

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Check off the "Receive Direct Messages from anyone" box to activate this feature and we highly recommend you also check off the "Send/Receive read receipts" box so you know when people in your conversation have read a message you have sent and vice versa. And now the fun starts!

Indicate Your Business Provides Support

In September of 2016, Twitter released changes enabling businesses to "tell users they provide help on Twitter, indicate when they’re most active, and ensure people know they have the option to send them a Direct Message."

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On the above T-Mobile Twitter profile, take note of the "Responsive 24/7", indicating their support hours, the big Message button, enabling Twitter users to send Direct Messages with ease, and within searches, T-Mobile is specifically listed as providing support. You can activate these features by going to the Twitter Dashboard and accessing the Customer support setting page. Please note before doing this, you must first have updated your Direct Messages settings as outlined above.

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Create Your Custom Direct Message URL

To make it easy for customers to send you direct messages, you will need a custom direct message URL that you can then embed into tweets to send to them. To create that URL, you are going to need your numeric user ID, which you can access by clicking on this link: https://twitter.com/settings/your_twitter_data. You will need to enter your password once the link opens up, and your user ID will be located as shown in the below example from Social Media Examiner:

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To create your custom direct message URL, simply add your user ID to the end of this URL: https://twitter.com/messages/compose?recipient_id={your account’s numeric user ID}

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Embed Your Direct Message URL Into Tweets

Now that you have your custom direct message URL, it's time to start sharing it with your customers. Imagine this scenario: one of your customers tweets you asking for support, and you respond asking that customer to send you a direct message, and they respond asking what a direct message is? That is a very likely scenario many businesses experience, especially for Twitter novices who simply use the platform for tweets and nothing else.

In instances where the customer may already be agitated, trying to explain to them what a direct message is may only make the situation that much worse. And that's where the custom direct message URL comes into play. You can respond to that customer, paste in your custom direct message URL into your tweet, and Twitter takes that URL and automatically turns it into "Send a private message", as shown in the example to the right. Once the customer clicks on the link, they will immediately be able to open up a direct message conversation with you.

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Add A Twitter Message Button To Your Message

Do you think your customers are going to embrace Twitter direct messages as a form of customer service? Maybe more so than sending in questions via your website, Facebook, or other social media networks? If so, you may want to add a Twitter Message Button directly to your website, which would give your customers the ability to launch a direct message conversation with you directly from your website. Here's how you do that:

Go to the Twitter Publish page - https://publish.twitter.com/# - scroll down, and click on Twitter Buttons, then Message Button.

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After doing so, you'll see this screen:

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Enter your profile URL or username, then that same numeric user ID you needed to set up your custom direct message URL earlier in this blog, then click Preview to see what the button is going to look like. Once the button is generated, go ahead and embed it onto your website in a location where it will be visible to customers so they can easily find it (possibly your contact page), and you're set! You may also want to put a tweet button next to it, this way your customers can publicly contact you, in addition to privately contacting you via direct message, should they choose to.