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Michael Brenner is senior director of global marketing for SAP. He is also author of the B2B Marketing Insider blog and cofounder of social news site Business 2 Community. Michael is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 97 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The most important words in social media

03.14.2013
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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.

Republished with permission

Published at DZone with permission of Michael Brenner, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)