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When Should You Thank Your Social Media Fans?

By Julie Neidlinger on November 19, 2012 in News.

Thank your fans.

Being thankful is always in season in social media.

What’s the magic word? It isn’t “please”, and it’s actually two words: thank you. Without letting your fans know you’re thankful for their participation and for even being an audience, it’s easy for you to be forgotten without another thought.

You know the rules: Don’t just broadcast, but engage. Focus on a clear call to action, have great content, be consistent, high quality — yep. All important. But after that’s all said and done, did you ever bother to thank anyone for sticking around for all of that?

There’s no shortage of things to look at and be a fan of online. That means there’s no reason you audience is obligated to stick with you. When, then, would be the best time to thank your fans for sticking around and being a fan?

A better question might be…when wouldn’t that be? Thank them when:

  • They help you, or they let you help them.
  • They talk about your brand (even bad can be good) because they are taking the time to actively participate.
  • They connect with your brand at a tradeshow, conference, or event.
  • You’ve reached a milestone that could be attributed to fan support, or you’ve reached any milestone at all.

Basically, there’s no time like the present to thank your fans.

Someone Helped Someone

Whether you received help, or were given the opportunity to help, it calls for a thank-you.

Getting help is an obvious reason to thank someone, but why not thank them for letting you help? They could have turned to anyone else but they asked you for help. Thank them for letting you do that. Thank them for being the one they decided to put their trust in. Thank them, because they gave you a chance to fill their need and get a foot in the door for future action.

Your Turn: Do you have thank-you cards that you send out to clients? Do you send a gift to thank clients when a project is completed? Many brands do. Have a plan in place for thanking your social media fans, too, just for being fans. Brands as diverse as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to AT&T have thanked their fans (and mentioned them by name) in songs and videos posted on YouTube based on a publicized campaign. Whether it’s a video, clever digital image/card or a shout-out on Twitter, be intentional by having a plan.

They’re Fans, And Even Super Fans

You have fans, and then you have Fans. They’re the Super Fans.

Some fans click a like button just to get updates on coupons or something else for free. That’s fine. When you give, and make freebies available, there are some who just want to hop aboard for that reason only. They’re not a brand evangelist by any means. There’s no harm in that. There are, however, super-fans that are always on board for everything you do. Thank them in a meaningful and, if possible, tangible way.

Your Turn: How can you thank someone in a tangible way? Give super fans free access to an ebook or other download  for a limited time. Reward those whose activity hit levels benchmarks with something of actual value. Give them access to exclusive coupon codes and special offers. Walk your talk. Say “thank you” and back it up.

You Are Still Not A Robot

You have all kinds of tools that make handling social media easier, but you’re not an automaton.

Telling your fans thank-you should be automatic, but it shouldn’t be automatic. That is, you should have an automatic reaction of being thankful, but not use automation to carry it out. If you’re going to thank your fans for a retweet, don’t turn into a robot. Take the time to do it personally. Make sure you come up with a way that is a personal thank-you when possible.

Your Turn: Brand monitoring always pays off, and it pays off when you need to say thanks. Watch for brand mentions, and respond directly to the fan. Thank them for their feedback, thank them for their support, even thank them for taking the time for constructive criticism. Use their name and respond conversationally if possible. Let them know you’re not a robot.

The new trend on social media isn’t saying thank you, though the ways brands are going about it are. Never before has a consumer had the opportunity for a big-name brand to mention their name in an online YouTube campaign, but they are becoming used to no longer being a faceless customer and are expecting to be seen as an individual. Genuine thanks directed to specific people rather than a generic audience is not the trend; it’s expected right now.

[Question "How do you thank your social media fans?"]