Masterclass five – A guide to integrating and communicating with Twitter DM

Welcome to lesson five of our omnichannel masterclass. With Twitter a favourite tool for savvy customers to use to publicly voice grievances, Twitter DM has become an essential tool for any business, or they risk alienating their consumer base and earning a poor reputation for customer service.

Who can you message with Twitter DM?

In order to message a user on Twitter DM, the user must fulfil one of the following:

The user is following your account

The user has messaged you previously

The user has their settings set to accept direct messages from all

It should be noted, however, that messaging users who do not follow you and who are not already in conversation with you will always go into a ‘Requests’ folder in the user’s inbox that they are unlikely to see.

Why should I be using Twitter DM?

The most common use case for Twitter DM occurs when a user tweets the company’s Twitter handle. Customer service agents then publicly respond (so that other users can see the message is being dealt with), and ask the user to privately message them. Twitter has even developed a way for businesses to create a button in the body of their tweets which takes users straight to the inbox.

Once the user has messaged you privately, the company is able to message the user back. Because only one of the three criteria needs to be met in order to message a user, companies typically use this method in order to blanket fulfil the conditions for all cases. The reasons for not resolving the matter on the public timeline are multitude, but mostly because a private resolution both protects the brand, and the customer. Users still feel heard by being able to chat with an agent privately, but the complaint severity has been downgraded by taking it out of the public eye. At the same time, the customer’s data, which is most likely required in order to resolve the matter, is kept secure in the privacy of the direct message conversation. By swiftly responding in this way, you will make consumers view you as a proactive, modern company and your agents will also be empowered with the opportunity to switch a customer’s view a full 180 degrees, by taking a complaint, and ending the conversation with a huge thank you from the other side.

You may also want to use Twitter as a means to enroll customers in a re-engagement programme following their comment or complaint, and offer them a discount, or ask them to participate in a survey. One thing to be aware of, however, is that Twitter’s APIs automatically limit the number of messages an account can initially send in a day which will depend on the size of your following. You will need to apply to increase this if you find yourselves hitting the limit, but your messaging provider should be able to offer guidance and support on how to do this.


In order to access Twitter DM as a channel through either software or APIs, you will need to submit your company profile to a developer account where you outline to Twitter the typical use cases for your messaging, so it’s a good idea to start thinking about how you would use this channel. Once you have done this, you will be able to access your access tokens that allow your CPaaS vendor to connect your new channel. This is another case of sounding complex, but you should always be offered guidance and support from your provider, so that you can start sending and receiving quickly, on a valuable rich channel.

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