‘Tis the season for giving thanks. For businesses, that means thanking their customers. And what better way to do that than on social media? Social platforms provide a great opportunity to display that most human of qualities — gratitude — while simultaneously building your online (and offline) brand.
Why should I thank customers on social media?
End-of-year corporate thank-yous can take many forms: gifts, coupons, and postcards to name a few. But we’re pretty fond of social media. Here are few reasons why you should use social media as a means of showing gratitude to customers:
- It’s conversational. Sending a thank you letter or email to a customer — while good practice — is also usually more formal. And, it doesn’t give much room for a two-way, real time conversation either. Social media platforms, on the other hand, are great places to do just that.
- It’s familiar. Any kind of communication from companies can appear transactional to customers (and be ignored, like an email mercilessly banished to a spam folder). But, our guard is down when scrolling through social media, so customers can be more receptive to engaging content.
- It’s far-reaching. When brands are genuinely thankful, it isn't just a great customer appreciation move; it's a powerful brand play, too. It shows you truly care about customer experience, even after purchase.
For these reasons, learning how to properly thank customers on social media has the potential to supercharge your customer relationships.
6 ways to thank customers on social platforms
1. Just do it
Giving thanks doesn’t always have to be complicated. In its simplest form, it can be a post or banner saying just that: a genuine thank you message toward all your customers. Especially when it's tied to a milestone, like sales growth or numbers of social followers, and so on.
For example, Samsung posted a simple thank-you message on Facebook for Customer Service Week, alongside a couple of purpose-built banners.
2. Make it a campaign
Depending on your business, you could create an entire campaign focused on gratitude. Why not reach out to repeat customers and ask them if they would like to be featured on your social posts?
You could thank a different customer every day, or even have “customers of the month” featured on your social. Gather a few ideas together based on your knowledge of your target audience.
If you choose to do a customer appreciation campaign, it’s a good idea to come up with a hashtag to go with it. That’ll make sure you maximize those shares and views, and help other customers find out about your campaign.
Consider, for example, the beauty company Beauty Pie. It encourages customers to post their purchases alongside the hashtag #postyourpie. The company even announces winner for the month, while thanking everyone for their participation — a great way to build a product-loving community.
— BEAUTY PIE (@beautypie) May 1, 2021
3. Share a video
Videos are engaging. They’re also easy to share and fun to watch, especially if you add a seasonal theme — Halloween, summer, Thanksgiving, or whatever makes most sense at the time.
Despite what some think, they don't even have to be a drain on resources either. For example, here at Acquire, we did a short video where our CEO, Amrit Dhangal, congratulated one of our customers for winning an industry award.
If you go down the cheap and cheerful DIY video route, check the guidelines of each platform to get maximum engagement. For example, Facebook says that more people watch to the end of videos when they’re 15 seconds or less. And LinkedIn recommends you keep videos under 30 seconds when you aim for brand awareness. Identify what makes most sense for your audience and goals in particular.
4. Spotlight user generated content
Don’t just thank customers when they’ve bought something. Instead, look to cultivate a social listening habit in your organization. This is the practice of monitoring social platforms to find mentions of your brand, company, and your products or services. In this case, social listening can help you spot user-generated content that's worth promoting.
This kind of content is commonly found in places like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Check these platforms, search for relevant content, and ask creators for permission to share. Sharing user content shows you appreciate what they’ve created.
Beauty company Glossier has built this strategy into their brand marketing. They share videos, photos, and even user conversations on their social media, encouraging people to create even more content.
5. Send direct messages
Direct messages (DMs) and instant messages (IMs) are excellent ways to connect with your customers. In fact, 150 million Instagram users talk with businesses over DM. For sure, DMs provide a great opportunity for a personalized thank you message.
For example, you can choose repeat customers, and engage them by sending them private messages, with anything from a thank-you GIF to a discount code just for them.
Gratitude isn't just a one-time thing either. It’s important to weave in a culture of thanks even among the smallest of interactions. If, for instance, your customer has left a review, subscribed to your newsletter, or liked your page, a message with a fun video or a piece of useful content, such as a relevant blog post, is a good way to say thank you.
6. Give back to the community
Philanthropic actions and support for social causes are common in companies' corporate social responsibility strategies. For example, companies like blanket seller Sackcloth & Ashes and sock company Bombas donate one item per purchase to homeless shelters.
But, if you are leading or want to lead these kinds of programs, it can make a huge difference if you get your customers involved. You could, for instance, let each customer choose the cause they want you to donate to and share the contribution on social media. And if you discover customers who are also influencers, you can even create partnerships to support causes.
An example of involving customers to support causes is Canadian airlines WestJet’s ongoing Christmas Miracle videos. In 2019, the theme was “To Give Or Receive.” Some touching moments were created with families giving up potential gifts from the airline to donate them to families in need instead.
Of course, if you operate in one or more locations, you can support the community by working with your local customers — planting trees, donating to schools, internship programs, just to name a few. Actions speak louder than words, and giving back to those who support your business is the ultimate message of appreciation.
Be genuine, always
All these ideas around expressing gratitude have one thing in common: they require authenticity to work. As a business, you want to put your best foot forward in social media, but you also want to genuinely be interested in creating the best experiences for customers.
That means, whatever way you choose to say thank you to customers on social media, you need to really live it — and customers will notice if you don’t. Being genuine is the way to win over customers' trust and make them thankful to you in return.