I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.”  ~ William Shakespeare

And so I offer up to you that the most important words in social media are “thank you!”

They may be the most important words in, well, the history of words. But in social media, where we only see avatars and not real expressions on real human faces, they are particularly important.

I recently read Tweet Smarter Not Harder by Rachel Thompson (@RachelintheOC) and I was reminded about how simply saying “thank you” has helped me make amazing connections on the social channels where I interact with people, sometimes and often on a daily basis.

So I will explain my approach to be thankful on social media here in this post.

And whether you use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, Tumblr,  or any of the social tools available, remember that you are connecting with people, not avatars.  And that a little “thank you” goes along way!

What the heck does “Magnanimous” mean?

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  ~ Winston Churchill

I met Bill Lublin (@BillLublin) at a social media conference here in Philadelphia. We were on Triberr together and had the pleasure of reviewing and sharing each other’s blog posts on a regular basis.

After I thanked him for his support and told him how great it was to meet him in real life (aka #irl), he introduced me to his colleague as the most “magnanimous man in social media.”

I didn’t really know what magnanimous meant (it’s OK! Look it up…I had to.) but I guessed from his context that he meant to say that I was a nice guy or something – which is pretty cool, right?

“Hey man, thanks a lot!” I said. And didn’t think much about it for weeks. Then a few months later, I was asked by Bill Strawderman (@marketingbard) to present on personal branding to a group of volunteer bloggers and I found myself using the word. I instructed the audience to be magnanimous.

So afterwards I looked it up. It basically means “generosity but literally means “being of noble mind.” So while it maybe really hard to say (and not so easy to spell), I suggest we should all think about being noble and generous as you approach your social activity.

The Thank You Economy?

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ JFK

Last year, famous social media influencer and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee) wrote The Thank You Economy (not an affiliate link). In the book, Gary talks about how the internet and social has – both consumers and business buyers – given our voices back and transferred the balance of economic power to each of us.

He talks about how it is not the company with the biggest budget who will be successful in the new business climate of social interactivity, but it is the company who cares the most about their customers and makes them feel like they have a personal connection with a brand that will succeed.

I have not read the book (yet – summer reading list), and I’m not endorsing it (yet) but I totally agree with him that “businesses [that] can harness all the changes and challenges inherent in social media [can] turn them into tremendous opportunities for profit and growth.”

Thank Everyone?

From the time I first started on Twitter (on July 9th, 2009) I thanked everyone who ReTweeted me. I follow back every real human being (as far as I can tell). I answer every @ mention and I respond to any direct message that doesn’t look like SPAM or an auto-reply.

Some people might think I am “crowding the twitter stream” with useless “thank you’s”. But for me, it’s the least I can do if you take the time to share something of mine or mention me. I also try to ReTweet and @ mention and comment on blog posts to return the favor. But I always thank my ReTweeters.

My Conclusion: Saying “thank you” and being “of noble mind” is important for personal success. It is especially important for personal social media success and it may be just as important to build gratitude into your business.

Looking To Get Started On Twitter

If you’re not already a Twitter rock star, go back and read Rachel’s post (and the first part of her series) linked above or read my early post on how to get started on Twitter.

Or check out my 10 Tips for Twitter Success. I mention “being nice” but maybe I should have said “be magnanimous!”

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About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP where he leads content strategy and serves as the managing editor of the company’s award-winning Business Innovation thought leadership blog site. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

23 Comments

  1. A.R.Karthick said…

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Michael. A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way. On Twitter I do thank my friends whenever possible and also more than merely thanking them, I go one step further and reciprocate their help. Thank you so much for the nice insights. :)

  2. Stan Faryna said…

    You may find this interesting.

    Aristotle defines magnanimity as a special form of the virtue of generosity – a virtue reserved to the rich and powerful whose gifts represent a certain largesse. Think endowments, donations of millions or many of millions, etc. Bill Gates, for example, is magnanimous.

    Kindness does not seem to be a pivotal virtue in Greek philosophy – pivotal to human society and happiness. But friendship is.

    Kindness is pivotal in Christian philosophy and theology. According to Paul, kindness is one of the eight fruits of the Holy Spirit. In other words, you can know with certainty that the Holy Spirit dwells in a person if all eight fruits are present: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Stan, I always find you interesting! And yes, the clarification is very helpful. Bill Gates I am NOT! So I will have to tell Bill Lublin that I make significantly less money than Mr. Gates. But if I did, I would certainly strive to match his generosity. No question!

  3. Josh Duncan said…

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing it :)

    Josh

  4. RachelintheOC said…

    THANK YOU, Michael for including/mentioning me in your post. I agree with you completely — the simple act of being generous and thankful in social media often becomes lost in the quips and witticisms.

    I advise folks to always say thank you for RTs, follows, etc but to make it branded in some way — add a funny, a quote, or simply thank them in DM. But whatever works for you, do. We all make Twitter what we want it to be.

    Now back to work for me…:)

  5. sandra said…

    Loved the post! Even in real life some people forget how important it is to say thank you….and please!!!!

    • Michael Brenner said…

      I call ‘em the “Mom rules” or the “Kindergarten rules” Sandra. Say please and thank you, don’t start fights, be respectful. All the stuff my Mom taught me before Kindergarten.

  6. Thank you from Denmark ;)

  7. Thank you for this post, Michael…we all can use a reminder about giving back…from the heart!

  8. sushil krishna said…

    Thank you for a Great Posting Insight.

  9. Virginia said…

    Loved this post! We so often forget that two little words can have such a big impact!

  10. Nick Stamoulis said…

    It’s so important to be kind in social media. A social media strategy is useless unless other people are involved. You need followers and it’s helpful if those followers share and promote your content too. A simple “thank you” says that you appreciate and respect these followers.

  11. I agree: Those two words are so important — but way underutilized. I talk more about showing gratitude in everyday online communications here: http://www.techipedia.com/2012/thank-you-social-media/

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