You have one new follower. Great! Should you thank them?
It seems like a good thing to do – after all, social media is all about building relationships, and politeness should go rewarded! It would make sense that if you thank your followers, they’ll know you’ve acknowledged them and that will make them more likely to respond to your tweets… right?
It’s a nice theory, until you try to cheat the system.
Your followers have brains!
Twitter users can use apps such as Unfollowers.com or Crowdfire, which send a generic, automated ‘thank you’ message to anybody that follows them. However, these are often painfully obvious – with messages ending with a not-so-subtle 'via @crowdfire'.
Remember your followers are human beings. They know this hasn't been sent by a real person, and it’s a tad insulting to receive an automated thank you. What’s worse is when people use a ‘thank you’ DM as a channel for self-promotion.
“Hey, thanks for the follow – look at my website and buy my stuff!”
This overtly ‘salesy’ approach is off-putting. Social media users prefer to follow brands for promotions, news, etc and are likely to unfollow anything that irritates them. Demanding that somebody takes an extra step after you’ve already thanked them once can come across as ungracious.
The point is, anybody who spends much time on Twitter will develop a pretty refined spam filter. They know what’s genuine – and won’t engage with anything that feels robotic.
So what are the alternatives?
There still are ways to thank followers without it being spammy!
- Follow people back. This is so simple but people appreciate it! It can be unrealistic to do this if you have thousands of followers already, but it’s a good way to build relationships if you’re still growing your account.
- Engage with their recent tweets. Retweeting something they’ve said will show that you’re interested in what they say and think of them as a worthwhile follower! Replying to a recent tweet is even better.
- If they have a blog, leave a comment. For example: “Hey, saw you followed me on Twitter so I took a look at your blog …” followed by your thoughts about their post.
- If you do send a thank you message, give them something of value. For example, ‘As a thank you for following, we offer 10% off in store – just show this DM to a member of staff!’