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Grey Cross Studios
1920 4th St, New Orleans , LA 70113
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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Artists on Twitter - Designing Direct Message Introductions (#Twitter Science 101)

One of the things on Twitter that irritates a great many of us is the constant stream of "HI I AM" messages and "LIKE MY FACEBOOK" messages that we get in an abundance via private messages most of them trying to sell us something or some concept.

I have to be honest, most I don't even bother to open. I can see at a glance to the Direct Message box that its not worth my time in the very first few words. But every once in awhile there will be one that catches my attention because of its sincerity or its attempt to be honest and open about why they are saying hello.
Some send the same message out remotely through an app over and over again, but I have to ask if this is at all effective? I know I've read the experts out there in Internet Land who say that yes it is effective. But what I find these experts lack is anything in the way of instruction of the best way to do so. 

So thats what this article is about, how you design and good direct message intro on Twitter and some of the things you do not want to do. 

Lets start by looking at my own intro:
Thank you for following! Welcome to Grey Cross Studios. This Twitter feed attempts to provide artists with information, training and resources to become successful as well as being a forum for my own work and the work of other artists. None of the Tweets on this feed are run by any automated system. I choose each and every piece of information and respond personally to Tweets back to me. We are stronger when we support each other. You will find more helpful information at
You will note first of all that this message is not limited to 140 characters. Many do not even realize yet that Twitter removed the cap on Direct Messages. This is a great benefit because it allows a more detailed message. This does not mean though that your message should be the length of a small book. Keep it as simple as possible while still allowing for the details you need to impart to someone.

When designing your intro, do not just tell people "I'M AN ARTIST". If you've designed your profile right they already know this. In the case of my own intro I've made it a point to stress that my feed and my website both involving imparting information that is helpful to other artists. 

Why not an emphasis on my art? Because that's already implied in my profile. People aren't stupid. They know if I make art that I probably want them to look at it. 

Instead I am implying in my intro that I want you to come back and look at my feed often. I want you to explore my website because you might find helpful information in it. 

The most effective social network streams whether on Twitter or another platform are the ones where people come naturally to see what you recently posted. If you have to pressure people to come look then your not providing them any content they are interested in. 

That does not mean that you can't also show your own art on that feed. 

But if all you are doing is trolling for people to see your work you will quickly lose your audience. I don't mean this to be offensive, but the people that do this the most just seem lazy to me. Its easier to pre-program a message into an automated app than it is to take a moment each day to scan your new followers.

This results in messages being sent to people that cannot really benefit from them. For example, if I want to talk about the fact that I provide a feed dedicated to other artists, then why would I want to waste someones time whose profile lists them as a house maker from Kansas City? I wouldn't. The above message would only be sent out to those whose profiles list them as being in some area of the arts. 

Well doesn't that eliminate the housewife who might want art for her walls? Yes, in the short term it does, but not the long term. She is not a target for your intro message. But she could be if you kept several pre-written intros targeted at different types of people. 

So say the new follower is a businessman who specializes in the medical profession? So you keep a "businessmans" intro that you can easily cut and paste to that person. It might say something like:

Thank you for following! Welcome to Grey Cross Studios. None of the Tweets on this feed are run by any automated system. I choose each and every piece of information and respond personally to Tweets back to me. We are stronger when we support each other as social networkers! You will find great art from my studio and other artists at

You'll note its basically the same message as before with a few parts removed and substituting a sentance about supporting their social networking needs. But the intro is now subtly changed to take the emphasis off supporting other artists and placing it on the power of networking. The plug for my own work is the very last thing. Never the first. 

At this point you may be saying "this is too much work" and you know your right. Its work to create an audience and be personal to as many people as you can. But it pays off.
I keep my various intros in an easily retrievable file and just cut and paste it as it a direct message. But I don't stop there. I may add to that message to personalize it. If its another artist I may ask to see their portfolio (if not listed in their profile) or I may ask about their techniques. If its a business person I may suggest that Twitter users get 10% off my work. I may ask about the kind of work they do. I may ask about the city they reside in. If you get them talking, you can often get them to stay and build some great working relationships and friendships. 

The last thing you should consider using in your intro is a graphic. Simply a photo of a piece of your art with its title is sometimes enough. The graphic at the top of this page is an example of a simple graphic message that works great for new followers. It shows them they are appreciated as a new follower. Again you've made it more personal. Your also an artist. You speak through images. It makes sense that you would use a graphic with your intro.

The experts are correct when they say you should send an intro message to new followers. Those followers can be your best asset. But not by just tossing generic messages out there without any thought to what your sending. 

Put a little thought into it and into the content of your feed and you'll be a much more successful artist.


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