How to say thank you on Twitter

Today I found a really interesting post by Angie Schottmuller on Jay Baer’s site, Convinceandconvert.com. The article is called 7 ways to thank someone for a retweet. Angie makes a lot of really good points and a lot of excellent recommendations, but I see things a bit differently, so I thought I would tack on my perspective. Here’s hoping you join the conversation!

Are you being genuine or are you being a braggart?

It’s very easy to identify things that rub you the wrong way in Twitter world. That’s why you see so many posts like, “Calling BS on this” or “Why I hate people who…xyz”. Once you do that though, it’s sometimes hard to tell if you are actually executing an activity that drives someone else nuts.

For me, showing gratitude on Twitter always feels like walking on thin ice. As Angie points out in her post, if you say “Thank you for the RT!” a million times a day, a few things can happen. First, it can look like you’re just trying to fill your stream with all of the wonderful RTs you’ve gotten. Second, the actual thank you can start to look like it’s playing second fiddle to your self-promotion, which can be icky (that’s a professional term). If you tack on a link to your post every time you say thank you to someone, the waters start to look like they could catch on fire for all of the ick (that’s a Northeast Ohio reference, btw).

Where I diverge from Angie’s perspective

All of the above I agree with Angie on 100%. Where I kind of wade off into a different pond is how I approach saying thank you. Angie notes in her post that there are other ways to say thank you rather than just saying, like a robot, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” True, but do you still need to type out some version of gratitude in a tweet if someone supports you? I feel the answer is yes.

In particular, I strongly disagree with the idea of retweeting a retweet. As I noted in the comments over on Angie’s post, the RTing of Retweets may be my biggest pet peeve in Twitter world. It just gets downright ridiculous sometimes. You’ve probably seen this scenario before, for example:

Someone mentions you and a few other people for follow Friday.

One of the other people mentioned retweets that tweet. OK, fine.

Then the original poster retweets the retweet because they are mentioned with an #ff. Well, that’s kind of silly isn’t it?

To me, retweeting a retweet doesn’t show a lot of humanity. It’s pushing the Retweet button, and it can sometimes make you look silly if you don’t look carefully at what you’re doing.

So how do I say thank you?

I have a few rules that I follow when thanking people.

1. I give priority to people who add a comment or a thought along with a tweet of my post. This tells me that they actually read the post and formed an opinion, which (lord knows) takes a lot of time. I want to make sure I acknowledge those folks by name, individually.

2. If a lot of people retweet my post over a short period of time, I will group them together so that I am not saying thank you 27 times in an hour. Well, I don’t usually get 27 RTs in an hour, but you know what I mean!

3. If someone retweets my post AND leaves a comment, or retweets my post and then starts to follow, I try to thank them for both actions at once.

In essence, for me, expressing gratitude on Twitter is quite simply more about the person you are thanking, less about you. Following the person is good advice. Adding the person to a list is good advice, but you never quite know how people will react to things like that. To me, it’s always a safe bet, a human bet, to just say thank you, and try to personalize it.

Five easy ways to personalize a thank you

To avoid sounding like a thank you robot, I try to personalize my tweets where I’m thanking people so that they know it’s really about them. Here are five ways to go about that.

1. Thanks for the RT! I haven’t talked to you lately. How are you?

2. Thank you for retweeting my post. I’m heading over to your blog later today!

3. Thanks for the RT – I really appreciate it!

4. Thank you for the RT and for the great comment you left. I appreciate both!

5. Thanks. By the way, your post inspired me to write that, so thank you for the inspiration!

You see? You are really talking to the person that way, rather than just saying “Hey thanks.” To me, that avoids the “spammy” problem Angie wants to help you avoid.

So those are some of my thoughts on how to say thank you on Twitter. Where do you come in on the issue? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and don’t forget to visit Angie’s post as well!

Image by sebile akcan. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/sebileakc

12 comments
cduren23
cduren23

Thank you, Margie. I'm new to Twitter and find it difficult to balance knowing and being known in a way that reflects my values. I aim for authentic, two-way communication. At first, I completely discounted Twitter for this reason. Now I see Twitter as an engagement tool that can open the door to achieving my true aim. It can be a noisy door to open, though. Your insight helps me navigate that noise.

YourDentalEdge
YourDentalEdge

Valuable Twitter advice, thank you for sharing, as well as expanding on Angie's article.

I may be off track, but if someone takes the time to tweet or retweet a post of mine, I will often say thank you privately in a DM and publicly by reading one of their posts and then tweeting about it.

No, I don't always practice this, but in my opinion, it seems to foster higher quality interaction and content ... Less of your least favorite social media thing, "fluff."

khaled
khaled

I never thanked anybody on Twitter for anything :$ I don't know why but I don't do it.

Susan (5 Minutes For Mom)
Susan (5 Minutes For Mom)

Great advice... but I'm sure I'm guilty of it all. I just find it hard to keep up with everything... but thanks for the reminder.

Debra Leitl
Debra Leitl

Margie this is a list post with soul.

I tend to bunch my RT @ reply thank you notes because I have the task scheduled as a todo. Once in a while a RT will catch my eye and get an instant reply. My favorite RT follow ups are 1. To ask a question like "What caught your eye?" Another favorite follow up approach is to share a related post and a link.

I have occasionally told a RTer about the #usguys hashtag if they are a newer twitter account.

I am mid draft in a long form blog post titled "79 Twitter Tweet Formats". I'll make sure to cross link back to this great list post.

Regards
\D

Geeky Mummy
Geeky Mummy

Thanks for the advice. I find Twitter etiquette quite confusing with such conflicting advice. On the one hand it's nice to say thanks, but on the other I am very conscious of my followers and what they want to see or rather don't want to see. But I like your advice and feel that it is appropriate for all communities, not just marketers.

Paul Flanigan
Paul Flanigan

This depends on the number of RTs that I get, but generally I say thank you by first reading the bio of the person who did the RT. Then I share that out in the thank you:

"Thank you @margieclayman for the RT. Folks, say hi to Margie. She doles out the marketing morsels!"

This does a couple of things for me:

1. Shares with my own network who this person is rather than my network just seeing me thank someone else.

2. Gives some info on the person in case someone in the network should want to investigate.

Again, if I get over a dozen or so RTs in one day, this could get a little daunting. However, I don't usually get that much, so this seems to work.

Joseph Ruiz
Joseph Ruiz

Margie thanks for this, good food for thought. I am guilty of doing some of these very things. At the time it doesn't feel silly; however, when i read your rationale i must admit a sense of hesitation. I don't mean this in a bad way it's kind of like someone caring enough to tell you a breath mint might be useful or some other useful tip.

I appreciate the fact that each must find their own way to express gratitude, but that said, I will now contemplate a better future. ;-)

Thanks again (is this kind of like RT a RT? ;-)
Joe

Margie Clayman
Margie Clayman

It is confusing, and primarily it's because we all need to find our own ways. That being said, glad this post resonated with you :)

Margie Clayman
Margie Clayman

I think you do a great job with that, Paul. Volume, as is the case in any discussion of Twitter etiquette, can be a game changer, but I think if you have your core methodologies set up, you're good to go.

Margie Clayman
Margie Clayman

I don't recall ever seeing you do that stuff, Joe. But for what it's worth, this is all a "feel" thing, and there's no "wrong" so long as you aren't hurting or offending people. Find your own way and make it work for you and your community :)

Jaclyn Mullen
Jaclyn Mullen

I appreciate that you say there is no "wrong" and this is totally a feel thing! If I thank someone for retweeting or following, my main purpose is not to brag but to sincerely promote their @ handle to my followers in case that user may be someone of interest to them. I addressed this in a post on my blog back in January, To Thank or Not to Thank.

Granted, I don't thank every single new follower or RT, I tend to space it out. I just want to offer that other people within my network do the same thing, they thank merely as a means to promote the promoter (retweeter or new follower) to our network.

Love the examples you provided for other ways to say thank you as well. At the end of the day, I think it all boils down to intention and interpretation. Some people may not intend to brag but it gets interpreted that way.

Really enjoy your blog and #Tweetdiner.

THANKS

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