Social Media Etiquette: Saying Thank You without Saying “Thank You”

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The majority of us were undoubtedly raised to say “Thank You” when someone did anything for us.  We can never seem to say it enough.  The Social Media landscape entails an abundance of giving.  Does proper social media etiquette align with our upbringing?  Do we need to say “Thank You” every time someone mentions or re-tweets something of ours, or are other actions more welcomed?  I wrote a title similar to this one about six months ago, but never published.  Last week Brent Carnduff wrote a piece that asked “Would you Rather be “Thanked” or Re-tweeted?” that motivated bringing this to life.

thank you social media etiquette

photo credit: stevendepolo via photopin cc

While we’ll focus on Twitter for this article, in most cases these methods work for other social networks.  In lieu of responding with “Thank You” each time, here is a list of alternatives that the recipient will appreciate and value.

Retweet – Well, of course.  It’s always kind to reciprocate with a Retweet, and you can generally find a tweet in the users recent history that works for you.  Use Buffer, Hootsuite, or Twitter to schedule the Retweet and your “Thank You” is on its way.

Add to a Twitter List – We all have 20 lists where we can put up to 500 users.  Most users out there neglect the use of lists.  I have two different lists “Thanks for the RT” and “Thanks for Sharing” to thanks users.  Come up with your own list name and start adding users to those lists.  When you add a user to a list they’ll see it their mentions that they were added.  Most users appreciate this greatly.  You will continue to compile this list, and can retweet future tweets of those you think would be a good connection.

Cross Networks – There is no rule where you must show thanks on the same network.  Instead of showing your thanks on Twitter, go to their Facebook Fan page or Google Plus account and +1 and/or share some posts.  This is more of an effort, but mixing it up will show the recipient that you’re on top of your game, and more importantly have interest in them.

Klout and Kred Love – If you have loaded the Chrome Extensions you can see the Klout and Kred numbers if users participate.  If they are active, here’s another opportunity to show your thanks.  Give the user a +K and/or Kred as a token of your appreciation.

Comment on their Blog This is the crème de la crème way of saying thank you.  If you see a link in the profile of the user, click onto it and see if there is a blog.  Find a recent post and comment.  Use the shares buttons, and spread across Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.  If you really want to make an impression, try this a few times this week to different users.

You can never go wrong with a “Thank You” – When you do go with the standard “Thank you” as a reply take a look at the user’s profile and look to add something.  It could be something about their location, occupation, or hobby.  This gives the message a personal feel, and again the user will appreciate the effort. This is being social.


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Steven Hughes
Social Media advocate with 20+ years in Sales and Marketing. Steve writes about Social Media, Blogging, Marketing, and business at GeeklessTech. Steve is a current contributor to and Dashburst. When away from the computer Steve enjoys running and spending time with his two daughters.
Steven Hughes


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Steven Hughes
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  1. annelizhannan says:

    These are all great ideas Steve and so much better than the automated thank you that takes up the valuable real estate in the stream. It cuts down on spam-like content and truly shows that you saw and are engaging with the post. This is especially true on Twitter where I can see an entire stream of thank yous before I see a relevant post. I have been using this system for a while and find it more of an honor in recognition.

    I would add that I use it for the Follow Friday posts also. Instead of simply Retweeting someone's #FF list, I go to the accounts and seek out a post I could Retweet. I agree Retweeting is the highest form of flattery or recognition. I also agree that if the person engages by commenting on your post, the response of a comment or thank you goes a long way in etiquette.

  2. "Thanks" Anneliz :) – Of course saying "Thank You' is always a nice gesture, you just don't want to get in the habit of being robotic. Obviously we can't gift wrap every re-tweet we get, but using variety is highly suggested.

    I like your method with Follow Friday tweets Anneliz. While it does take more effort and time, it can be a valuable process.

    I'm not done with thanking you yet…:)

  3. Thank you, Steve! You definitely have some great ideas for getting over the mundane, twitter-stream eating "thank you". Yes, these take more time but anything worth doing is worth doing well. I'll be using these techniques for my company Twitter!


  4. Great post Steve – thanks for the mention. I like both the ideas of the twitter list and the Klout or Kred love as ways of saying thank you. Putting "start a list" on my "to do" list. Great way to acknowledge those that are regular sharers of your content.

    • Sure thing Brent, you brought it to life. I'm a big fan of lists, it keeps things organized which would otherwise be chaos, and in this case serves as a solid thank you.

  5. I'm glad you gained something from the post Cari. A "thank you" here and there is more than acceptable, but 100-200 of them each day is something the rest of your followers don't want to see. I've been hearing that sentiment all day. Have a good one.

  6. Great food for thought in this post, Steve!

    Loved the tips you shared. I usually thank people once or twice week, but lists look like a fantastic idea as well!

  7. Great question you raise Steve, I think a Thank you can go a long way but I love the alternatives you offer. I suppose anything is better than ignoring what someone did.

  8. James Oliver, Jr. says:

    Short and sweet. Very nice post, Steve.

  9. Great post Steve! I am focusing on building the list and segregating my twitter followers into different lists. I would say cleaning up my Twitter mess.

  10. thanks! retweeted to my small corner of the twitter world.

  11. Right on Steve! Thank you for sharing this with us. I sincerely believe manners with personalization will go a long way. It shows you've taken the TIME to dig a little deeper than usual.

  12. Great post Steve, I totally agree on not thanking everyone as it can be really annoying when people spend so many tweets doing so. I love the list idea I’ll be using that one!

    Has anyone considered thanking by DM (where possible) its quite a personal thanks, although from the outside you may look like a non-thankful tweeter, I think it’s the perfect spam-less thanks!

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