(This post was originally published on November 30, 2013, and has been updated to be even more fantastic!)

How often do you take the time to thank the people you engage with online? The people that support your business and share your posts? These fans are often loyal customers and they help you build your business when they share your information online with their friends and family. A thank you is a great to acknowledge them and appreciate their loyalty and engagement.

So here’s a little reminder to consider thanking your online friends from time to time. Try out one or all of these 3 easy and creative ways to thank your social media followers:

1. Personalize, don’t generalize.

You don’t need to be extravagant in your thank you message to make your followers feel appreciated, but you do need to personalize it to make it feel sincere. You can send direct messages or you can make a public call-out to recognize your fan – but make sure you include their name (or Twitter handle) and be clear about why you’re thanking them or why you think they’re so great.
Posting your thank you note publicly has an added benefit to consider – your other followers will see you as someone who cares about their fans and that’s a great impression to make. Let’s try that out right now, shall we?

“Thanks for following us on Facebook, Bay Moorings Animal Hospital!
We love your new holiday cover photo!”


2. Recognize regularly.

People join social networks to be social – they like to connect and be connected. Recognizing a specific fan each week is a great way to reward these social people and give them an opportunity to connect with other like-minded people.
In any social channel you use, you can try the “fan of the week” approach. Each week you’d pick a fan and post a quick note about why you appreciate them or why you find them so interesting – they post great content that you share, you love their comments, their dog is hilarious, etc.
If you’re on Twitter, you can try the #FF (Friday Follow) approach to identify a favorite follower with a quick note about who they are and why people should follow them. Your fan will appreciate it because their name gets circulated, and in a lot of cases they’ll thank you back, which circulates your name as well. Here’s an example:

“#FF @judygi – she’s an active follower who posts up-to-date
tips for #veterinary practices.”


3. If it’s a big deal, make a big deal of it.

Maybe you have a follower who went out of their way to do something extra special. Why not take the time to write a blog post about that experience? Include their photo (with permission) and a link back to their social profile(s), and then share it across your social channels. An added benefit for you is that your blog also gets more coverage as their followers share it.
Or maybe you could reward their efforts with @tweetacoffee from Starbucks. This Tweet-a-Coffee program lets you buy a $5 gift card for a friend/follower through Twitter – we know, awesome, right?! You’ll need to first sync your Starbucks account to Twitter here and link a credit card to your account. Then tweet “@tweetacoffee to __________” with the Twitter handle of the intended recipient, and that person will receive your gift card. We did this to thank Dr. Brenda Gough for rescuing Shrek who wouldn’t have survived without her help:

These are just a few examples to help inspire you to thank your followers. A little gratitude goes a long way in building relationships and engagement with your online fans.
Thank you for reading, and if you haven’t connected with us on social yet, check us out on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+.
Have other great “thank you” tips to share? Add them in the comments box below!

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