Do you find yourself saying thanks a lot on social media? Ever thought WHY you do that?
In this article I am going to tell you to stop thanking people. Have I gone mad? I’ll tell you why…
I’ve been blogging for over two years now and it’s encouraging to see a lot of people sharing my articles. Some of these people share straight from my blog using one of the social networking share buttons, or from my RSS news feed in Feedly or perhaps on the blogging network, Triberr. I am extremely grateful to these people and I do try and respond to as many of the people who share my articles to say thank you.
Why do I say thank you on Twitter? A strange question, you ask?
Well, kind of…
The thing is, sometimes a “thank you” can lose its value in the noise and sheer volume of posts.
Do you find yourself replying, sending a direct message or commenting with the following?
- “Thanks for following me. Looking forward to reading your tweets!”
- “Thanks for sharing :-)”
- “Thanks for the awesome RTs”
All of the above examples are very polite and encouraging, but what do they actually mean? Have you thought about the meaning of your “thank you” messages or are you just doing what every one else is doing?
Don’t get me wrong, I am doing exactly the same- but recently I was made to think about whether all this thanking was doing any good. I have marketing consultant, Mark Schaefer to thank for that. Thanks, Mark… (oops…!)
It was one of Mark’s blog posts entitled “Why I Stopped Thanking People on the Social web” that made me stop and think. Do read it- it will give you an idea of what I am referring to.
In the article, Mark says that the tipping point came when someone tweeted him:
You are too damn polite… Stop thanking people, will you!
Mark then went on to say…
I knew he had a point. I had reached the thank you tipping point. So I stopped.
This saddened me. I hate it that the more popular you become on the social web, the less engaging you can be. Isn’t that ironic? The very characteristic people appreciate is doomed over time. Authentic social media engagement is not scalable.
I think Mark makes an interesting point. Social media is about creating meaningful content or building meaningful relationships- and that includes replies.
It’s also about knowing who is in your core community and knowing why people are sharing your content in the first place.
So, coming back to the above example “thank you” messages, let’s do a bit of translating. Could it be that the above messages could mean the following?….
- “Thanks for for following me. Looking forward to reading your tweets!”
TRANSLATION: This is an automated message because I am too busy to send you a hand-crafted one. I might be interested in reading what you say although to be honest I probably don’t have that much time to read any of them. I was hoping to reach 10,000 followers, and I’m almost there. Basically I have no idea why I am tweeting you to say thank you for following me, but it seems like the polite thing to do….
- “Thanks for sharing :-)”
TRANSLATION: I am genuinely thankful that you shared my article, however I don’t have the time to properly engage with you, but I wanted to say thanks because that’s the right thing to do- my mummy/mommy & daddy taught me to be polite.
- “Thanks for the awesome RTs”
TRANSLATION: Thanks for retweeting some of my tweets to your followers. I haven’t thought about it, but come to think about it, some of your followers may have seen my tweets in their timelines. That’s quite good really and it gives me a bit of exposure. Please do keep on doing it! I don’t really talk to you much on Twitter, but I do like the fact that you’re doing my marketing for me.
OK, please note that I had my tongue firmly in my cheek with the above, but I hope you got my point!
Taking up the Opportunity
Part of the issue that Mark Schaefer was referring to, was the lack of value of a “thanks for sharing” type of reply. It’s not quite meaningless, but once you start sending out dozens of these a day, they are going to lose their value.
How about doing something a little different?
Instead of just thanking them, why not introduce them to someone else they might find interesting? How about reading one of their articles and giving some feedback? You won’t necessarily be able to do that with all your replies, but you could create an opportunity and build upon the relationship.
We’ve missed something though and it is a biggy…
Most of us like to be encouraged. If we don’t get any feedback it can be a bit depressing. Words of Affirmation is one of the 5 Love Languages (read the book if you haven’t already). Each of us accept and give love and attention in different ways, but one that works well on the social web is Words of Affirmation– encouragement.
I love it when someone leaves a comment on my articles, but the truth is that most readers of blogs don’t.
Talk to most bloggers out there, and they’ll tell you the same- they wish they had more comments. The same goes for Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. It’s great when someone replies, mentions us or leaves a comment.
However which would you prefer- 20 “thank you for your article” one line comments or 5 longer comments where they share their thoughts? We need to be encouraging but also add value to the conversation. That’s how it is in real life, so why should it be any different online?
“Thanks” Replacement Ideas List
So what should we do instead? I’m not saying we should never just say thank you, but in most cases you should always be looking to make your engagement more meaningful.
So here is my “thank you” Replacement List.
- Ask them what they think
Ask them what they thought of one aspect of the article. If your article was a list of tools or services, ask them what their favourite was. They may not have read the article, but your tweet may quickly remedy that!
- Let then know what you think
If they have a website or blog, have a visit and read an article. Reply to let them know you’ve visited with some thoughts.
- Introduce them to someone new
If you’ve not engaged with them before, check their profile. If relevant, you could introduce them to someone else in your core community they may find interesting. Being in touch with your community is important.
- Share a relevant article
If relevant, share a similar article that you have written
- Ask them to subscribe
Recommend they subscribe to your blog or email newsletter. Use Twitter Lead Generation Cards
- Be funny
Tell a joke or share something funny- make their day!
- Encourage them
Encourage them by sharing with them something you like or admire about them or a quality you see in them.
Using Commun.it to help you
“That’s all very well”, you say, “but I don’t have enough time!”.
I understand- I have the same issue. However that’s why spending time thanking everyone without a strategy isn’t going to help you!
Firstly, make your own “thank you” replacement list and save it somewhere where you can easily access it. In order to make things easier, we are going to use a tool called Commun.it* which is a Twitter Relationship Management Tool. You can quickly respond to people who have shared your content. Commun.it segments people into influencers, supporters and engaged members. For more information see my Complete Guide on Using Commun.it.
With your “thank you replacement” list to hand, you can quickly go through your pending replies and mentions and actually engage much more meaningfully with the core people in your community. You may discover people who you haven’t engaged with before- people who you didn’t realise were in your community. This is the power of Commun.it.
I’d recommend using the prioritized feed as well as consider to reply and high value members. As well as that, make sure you monitor tweets containing links to your blog posts- if you do this you can quickly go through the monitoring feed too.
Here are the feeds in Commun.it:
- PRIORITIZED FEED (the most important pending mentions and people for you to action)
- FOLLOWERS (consider to reply, re-engage, to follow, unfollow, new followers & new unfollowers)
- RELATIONSHIPS (high value members, influencers, Supporters & engaged members)
- MONITORING (people tweeting posts containing your keywords or links)
- LEADS (potential people to follow relating to certain keywords)
Use Twitter Lead Generation Cards
You may have noticed that I included “Twitter Lead Generation Cards” above. If you haven’t heard of them, don’t worry. Twitter Lead Generation Cards allow you to give someone the option for signing up for a newsletter, an event, a product launch or more. It’s really awesome, and I’ve written about it in my article – Boost your Mailing List with Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards. In the article I explain how I’m using them to let people sign up to my email newsletter using MailChimp as well as adding them to my CRM (Customer Relationship Management tool) Nimble.
What do you think?
So, have I got you thinking? Do you agree or disagree? Do you have a plan or strategy in how you engage with people using social media? I’d love to know. As always, please leave your comment below (even if it is a “thank you for your article!” comment!)