Social media is all about building relationships. From chatting with existing customers, to meeting new customers and connecting with influencers it’s what social media is good at.
Twitter is the perfect network to build relationships, yet when I look through Twitter streams I find that many businesses are not interacting. Without conversation they could very well be wasting their time.
One of the most overlooked yet easiest best practice to engage with new people on social media is to say thank you. If someone shares your content or ReTweets something you said simply saying thank you can help you build new contacts and relationships.
Why say thanks?
When someone follows you, shares one of your blog posts, ReTweets or shares your content they are showing an interest in what you do. It’s like a customer walking in the door of the shop. They may not buy this time but it’s your opportunity to get to know them better and let them know you appreciate their interest.
By engaging with them in conversation they’ll remember who you are in the future and come back for more.
When to say thanks?
There are lots of opportunities to say thank you on Twitter. Depending on your current level of engagement you can choose which tweets you will react to.
I’d love to thank everyone who interacts with me and my tweets. As the number of ReTweet’s and follows has grown I have had to limit my thank you posts just to those who share my articles and blog posts.
You need to decide how much ‘thank you time’ will work for your business. Here are a few examples of great opportunities:
For a follow
If you are building your Twitter following it is a nice touch to thank each new follower. It’s a good way to break the ice and might just lead to a longer conversation.
There is one disadvantage to thanking all new followers. Not every follower you get is valuable, in fact some new followers will be spammers or robots. Separate the good from the spam and this tactic will be more effective.
For a ReTweet
When someone ReTweets you it’s a great opportunity to connect. Thanking someone encourages them to share again.
For a share from your blog
As with ReTweets, thanking people for sharing your blog posts or links to your website can encourage more sharing in the future. This works well if you write guest posts. The tweeter may not be aware that you are the author, a simple thank you can alert them to your own website or blog.
How to say thank you
Now that you’ve decided when to say thanks you need to think about how to do it. There are an array of tools that can help you, we’ll look at some shortly. If you want to ensure the recipient feels valued you need to tread carefully.
It’s always nice to get a thank you but when they are lumped into an automated tweet with other users they loose their impact.
A personalised thank you will always stand out, automation just looks lazy.
Look at this stream of thank yous. Not only do they look automated but they also don’t define what ‘most engaged’ means. (Commun.it is a good tool when used correctly, I’ll show you later in this post).
George Huss has nailed it. He thanks each follower individually with a personalised image. I was delighted when I received mine.
Pick something to spark a conversation
Replying with a thank you is a nice gesture but if you really want to build relationships review the users’ Twitter bio and account. Find something to personalise your tweet. Maybe you’ll find they like cats or perhaps they tweet about coffee a lot. Adding something personal to your tweet opens a conversation and will make you more memorable.
Look at this example from Donna Moritz. See how her comment built a conversation.
Follow Friday was devised in 2009 by @micah (according to Mashable). It’s a way to provide good recommendations on who people ought to follow. The idea is to tweet the username or someone you recommend, add a reason others should follow them and use the tag #followfriday. It’s a great way to endorse someone or thank someone.
As with the automated thank you it’s important to practice good etiquette. This humouros cartoon from The Oatmeal shows you why.
4 Tools to help you say Thank You
Topsy is a Twitter search tool. Amongst it’s other functions it will identify people sharing specific links and filter them by ‘influencer’. It’s a good way to monitor guest posts you may write for other sites.
To monitor a specific link choose ‘Links’ from the dashboard and paste in your url.
Topsy will return all search results containing that link. Click the ‘Influential’ tab to view tweets from influencers. You can reply to tweets directly from Topsy.
Although Topsy has identified these people as influential, you’ll want to check them out yourself to decide if they are really influential over your audience.
I showed you an example earlier of users using Commun.it poorly. Used well Commun.it can be a valuable tool. It will help you discover new people to follow and it makes the thank you process easy.
When you log in to the Commun.it dashboard it presents you with a number of ways to say thank you.
- Thank people for a ReTweet
- Thank people for following
- Thank people for being ‘high value members’
- Reply to people who have interacted with you.
It labels people as ‘Influencer’ ‘Engaged’ or ‘Supporter’ depending on how they interact with you and other Twitter users.
Don’t fall into the trap of using the automated tweets that Commun.it offers. Always, always customise these and send to just one user at a time. This way your thank you will stand out and be noticed.
When people share links to your website or to your blog posts they may not always include your @name. You can use Twitter search to find these people. Just type your domain name into the search bar and you will find tweets from anyone who has shared links back to your site.
Make sure you click the ‘All’ tab at the top of the page to see all mentions.
AgoraPulse users can monitor retweets, website mentions and brand mentions on Twitter. It’s easy to reply directly from the app and as a bonus you can add an image.
Which brings me on to my bonus tool..
*Bonus Tool* Canva
If you really want to stand out with your thank you tweets use an image. If you personalise that image you’ll make an impact.
Take the example from George Huss above. I was so impressed when I saw it featured on the Socially Sorted blog I went and followed him straight away so I could get one too.
It’s a simple concept and easy to create with photo editing software but hugely effective. If you want to use images to personalise your thank you Canva is the perfect tool.
From the Canva dashboard click ‘More’ so you can see all template types. Select ‘Twitter post’
Now create a visual thank you for one of your followers. In the example below I’ve added a cow as @WriteOnTrack_L is a dairy farmer.
By clicking the duplicate button on the right hand side I can copy this image, change the Twitter handle, replace ‘cow’ with something else and add a new photo.
By batch creating images like this I can quickly respond to lots of Tweets from various users.
Saying thank you is a positive step towards building strong relationships on Twitter. But if you are going to do it:
1. Don’t automate
2. Be personal
3. Be creative
If you’ve seen good results from saying thanks on Twitter or if you are tired of getting thanks let me know below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.