We’re constantly bombarded with updates to social channels, but Twitter’s new DM policy is particularly important because it’s a major change for Twitter. And it presents a major opportunity for marketers.

Previously, users could only DM an account if that account followed them. Now, users can DM any account they’re following (if that account has opted in to the new feature).

Before this update, publicity was the cornerstone of Twitter’s features -; trending topics, hashtags, lists, etc. all encouraged public communication. The new DM policy adds an element of privacy rarely seen on the channel.

Quickly incorporating this change into your social strategy will give you an edge over the competition. Failure to optimize the new feature will make you fall behind.

What Should You Do as a Marketer?

1. Enable the Feature

Enable the feature so customers can DM you directly. It will save valuable resolution time previously wasted coordinating follow-backs. Private communication gives followers a more personal and secure customer service experience, while simultaneously reducing negative discourse about your brand. 

2. Think Before You Cold-DM

The new feature also means that brands may eventually be able to DM personal accounts that don’t follow them. Before you jump at this opportunity, think of the potential consequences. Imagine that community managers from your customer service, PR, marketing accounts all cold DMed a customer. No one likes spam emails or telemarketers, and this will be the Twitter equivalent. If you don’t have an infrastructure in place to monitor and manage outgoing messages across all departments and channels, spam DMs can become a social (and business) nightmare.

3. Look at the Big Picture

The new policy will do wonders for customer service on Twitter, but there are other possibilities beyond CS. Think creatively about how the new feature can contribute to your larger channel strategy.

For example, a department store could launch a holiday campaign for Twitter that helps users select gifts for their loved ones. The store would opt in to the new feature and invite their followers to DM them for gift suggestions for Mom, Dad, or whomever. Going one step further, the store could analyze the customer’s social profile -; incorporating interaction history from Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. -; in order to see what has previously been discussed with him or her. By having this insight into the customer, the store can make more personal (and relevant) recommendations.

As a result, the store would gain new new followers, strengthen their online community, increase brand love… and put an an end to those holiday gifting woes. Happy shopping, indeed.

The update is currently only available to a limited number of accounts, but if you take steps to incorporate the new policy into your channel strategy now, you’ll be ahead of the curve when the feature becomes available to all.

This article was originally published on Sprinklr.com and has been reprinted with the author's permission.