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Stop Saying Thank You on Social Media & Say Something Meaningful!

THANKS

Do you find yourself saying thanks a lot on social media?

It's time to stop thanking people.

Have I gone mad? I'll tell you why...


It's encouraging to see many people sharing my articles. Some people share straight from my blog using one of the social networking share buttons or share from one of my social media posts. I am incredibly grateful to these people, and I do try to respond to as many of the people who share my articles to say thank you.

But why?

Why do we say thank you on social media? A strange question, you ask?

No Thanks!

Saying Thank You on Social Media (Twitter / X) Being encouraging is part of my nature, and I highly value politeness. I always say please and thank you in real life, so it's the same on social media.

Well, kind of...

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?

  1. "Thanks for following me. Looking forward to reading your tweets!"
  2. "Thanks for sharing :-)"
  3. "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 everyone else is doing?

Don't get me wrong, I am doing exactly the same- but 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...! 😉

Over 10 years ago, Mark wrote an article on Why I Stopped Thanking People on Social that made me stop and think.  Do read it- it will give you an idea of what I am referring to. It's still very relevant.

In the article, Mark says that the tipping point came when someone tweeted him:

You are too damn polite... Stop thanking people, will you!

Ouch.

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, including replies.

It's also about knowing who is in your core community and knowing why people are sharing your content in the first place.


Translating Thanks

Translating Thank You on Social Media with the Thank You Replacement ListSo, returning to the above example of "thank you" messages, let's do a bit of translating. Could it be that the above messages could mean the following?....

  1. "Thanks 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, but 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. 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...
  2. "Thanks for sharing :-)"
    TRANSLATION: I am genuinely thankful that you shared my article. However, I don't have the time to engage with you properly, but I wanted to say thanks because that's the right thing to do- my mummy/mommy & daddy taught me to be polite.
  3. "Thanks for the awesome RTs."
    TRANSLATION: Thanks for resharing some of my posts to your followers. I haven't thought about it, but come to think about it, some of your followers may have seen my posts in their timelines. That's quite good, and it gives me some exposure. Please keep on doing it! I don't talk to you much on X/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

Social Media OpportunitiesPart of the issue that Mark Schaefer referred to was the lack of value of a "thanks for sharing" type of reply. It's not entirely meaningless, but once you send out dozens of these daily, they will lose their value.

How about doing something a little different?

Instead of just thanking them, why not introduce them to someone 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.

 


Be Encouraging! The Five Love Languages of Social Media

Encouragement - 5 Love Langauges of Social Media

We've missed something, though, and it is a biggy... Encouragement.

Most of us like to be encouraged.

It can be a bit depressing if we don't get any feedback. And most of us don't get much in the way of encouragement.

If you've read the book The 5 Love Languages, we each accept and give love and attention in different ways. There are Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Quality Time, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. I think these work really well on social media.

1. Words of Affirmation
We all need 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, and they'll tell you the same- they wish they had more comments. The same goes for X, 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 five 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?

2. Quality Time
Everyone is concerned that attention spans are plummeting, and we need to embrace short-form TikTok-style content. However, there's a gap in the market. More and more people want long-form, deep content. And content where they can engage in real-time. Consider using live streaming. You can host live sessions to spend quality time with your audience. It allows for real-time interaction and engagement. Read up more on how to create the perfect Live Stream.

Or you could do Q&A Sessions. This is where you allocate specific time for answering questions and conversing with your followers. And don't forget polls and surveys. Polls involve your audience in decision-making, showing that you value their opinions.

3. Gifts
Using the physical world can mean so much to people in this digital world. Offer contests and giveaways. Or send out a gift as a random act of kindness. You can use these as a way to give back to your followers. Send out a mug, a book, a plant, a pizza or a handwritten card. Or it could be some exclusive digital content, such as e-books, templates, or discounts. Always try to make it personalised. Personalized recommendations or resources to individual followers based on their interests or needs can make a massive difference and be unexpected and welcome.

4. Acts of Service
We are living in a lonely world. Offering assistance and solutions when followers have questions or encounter issues related to your expertise or niche can be a massive deal. Sharing valuable tips regularly, tutorials, or guides that help your audience solve problems or improve their skills. But if you can do this in a more personal, non-scalable way, it will make more of an impact. And how about collaborating with your followers or peers by promoting their content or businesses and demonstrating your support? 

5. Physical Touch
This is the most challenging love language to replicate over social media. But virtual Hugs, high-fives, emojis and expressions that convey warmth and friendliness can be powerful. Just don't forget the real physical world. Go out of your way to meet your best real-life connections and give them actual hugs (or, if you prefer, a firm handshake!) Create personal Connections and share personal stories. Those experiences can create a sense of emotional closeness with your audience. Be empathetic and understanding when responding to followers' challenges or struggles, offering virtual support.


The "Thank You" Replacement Ideas List

The Social Media Thank You Replacement List

Creative ideas to replace "Thanks" on Social Media.

So what should we do instead? How can we be more meaningful than just saying "thank you" on social media?

This is where my Thank You Replacement List comes in. Instead of just saying thanks, do one of the following:

  1. Post a thoughtful question.
    Instead of a simple question, engage them with a question related to their post. If they were sharing your article, 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! And this can spark a meaningful conversation.
  2. Express Genuine Interest: Show your curiosity about their content by expressing genuine interest. For instance, say, "I'm intrigued by your recent post on [topic]. Can you share more insights?"
  3. Actually look at their website and/or blog posts.
    If they have a website or blog, have a visit and read an article. Properly read it and have a deep dive. Most people never do that. Reply to let them know you've visited with some thoughts.
  4. Acknowledge Common Interests: If you find common interests with the person, mention them. It can be like, "Looks like we both have a passion for [shared interest]!". Don't delay - get stuck into a conversation about it.
  5. 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 essential.
  6. Express Gratitude with Context: To express gratitude, do it with context. Instead of a generic "Thanks for sharing" or a repost, say something like, "I appreciate you sharing that; it helped me better understand [topic]."
  7. Share a relevant article.
    If relevant, share a similar article that you have written
  8. Ask them to subscribe
    Recommend that they subscribe to your blog or email newsletter.
  9. Be funny
    Tell a joke or share something funny- make their day!
  10. Encourage them
    Encourage them by sharing something you like or admire about them or a quality you see in them.

Use a Tool 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, spending time thanking everyone without a strategy doesn't help you!

Firstly, make your own "thank you" replacement list and save it somewhere you can easily access it. This could be in a Google Doc or a notes app like Notion or Evernote.

Secondly, a social inbox tool can REALLY help you reply and engage more efficiently.

Agorapulse

Agorapulse website screenshot 2023

I'm a massive fan of the social media management tool Agorapulse. It has an incredibly easy-to-use and powerful social media inbox. And if you're worried that this will be expensive, don't be.

Agorapulse has a generous free plan. You can manage up to 3 social channels and get a basic social inbox. You can use the Agorapulse mobile app on the move, too.

Hootsuite and Sprout Social are alternatives, but they don't offer free plans and are significantly more expensive than Agorapulse.

With the Agorapulse social inbox, you can quickly respond to people who have shared your content.

With your "thank you replacement" list, you can quickly review your pending replies and mentions and engage more meaningfully with your community's core people. You may discover people you haven't engaged with before- people you didn't realise were in your community.

Click here to find out more and to sign up for Agorapulse.

Lately

Lately Website 2023

Another tool to check out is Lately, which describes itself as an AI-powered social selling platform that delivers actionable content in your voice. It's a social media management tool but has a handy AI generator that can help you create your social media thank-you replacement list. The AI can also create images, generate hashtags, intro/outro videos and more.

Click here to check out Lately.

 


Know your Social Media Limits

It's also essential to understand the rules and limits of each social network. Understanding best practices, rules, and limits prevents you from making big mistakes. I've written an article on the social media limits in X (formally known as Twitter).


Keep your Social Media Accounts Secure

With more and more accounts being hacked daily, ensure you take steps to increase security. I've written an article on how to make your Facebook Account Private and Secure if you'd like to do that.


What do you think?

So, have I got you thinking? Do you agree or disagree? Do you have a plan or strategy for engaging 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!)

 

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About Ian

Ian Anderson Gray Ian is the founder of the Confident Live® Marketing Academy and helps entrepreneurs to level up their impact, authority and profits by using live video confidently. Seriously Social is a blog focussed on live video and social media tools. He’s an international speaker, trainer, teacher and consultant.

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