All those of us who have been raised to be respectful know the importance and value of saying "thank you" to those who help us out, in ways great or small. In many cases, people communicating through social media continue this nicety, which allows for courteous and amicable interactions. Important as it is to demonstrate our gratitude, however, sometimes the best way of doing so on social media is not simply by saying, "Thank you."
This does not mean that demonstrating your gratitude is optional! But sometimes, there are better and more effective ways to repay the kindness that was shown to you. So next time someone shares news of your release, retweets an important message, pays you a compliment, or anything else:
- Do thank them when it happens.
- Do not consider that to be sufficient, especially if this person repeatedly supports your efforts to promote your book, blog, or other product.
- Return the favor!
- See if they have a post or product they are trying to share, and help them share it however you can.
- Check out their website, their books, etc. and contribute with a comment, a review, or any other way.
- Offer your help in return:
- See if you can help with an upcoming project.
- Offer space on your site to help promote their work or product, if appropriate.
- Offer to write a review for fellow authors.
- Remember the kindness done to you!
- Did someone share your promotional post 2 months ago? Time to return the favor! (See above.)
- Keep an eye out for opportunities to repay past kindnesses.
- Do not "keep score"
- The idea is to maintain a continually widening spiral of help.
- While you may want to take note of those who never reciprocate your efforts, do not start tabulating how many times you've shared someone's post vs. how many times they have shared yours. It's a waste of time; it's frustrating; and it will never lead to anything good.
While it's always pleasant to receive an instant "thank you," for many on social media, there are better ways to reciprocate. Even if you cannot do so in the moment, remember those who have helped you, and find ways to repay them, or pay it forward! That is how we become a successful community, rather than a collection of self-serving individuals. There's no time limit on expressing our gratitude.