10 Ways to Tell Your Online Audience You Love Them (And One Action You Should Avoid)

online audience

We need more love in the world. Why not start with yourself, and dust off your romantic manners online. No, I’m not talking about match-making sites, I’m talking about showing your web audience some love. 

What Would Valentine Do?

There are tons of people worth a lot of love online, but it’s not easy to show appreciation, love and gratefulness with a creative spin. [tweet this!] “Thank you for sharing” is a polite, yet dull way to show appreciation. (More about that under #1 below.)

online audience

To come up with something more original to your online audience than just the ordinary thank you-tweet, ask yourself: What would Valentine do? And check out this list:

10 ways to tell your online audience you love them

1. Retweet their content.

Instead of tweeting back “Thank you for sharing!” when someone  tweets a post of mine, (polite but boring, and if you do that a lot your twitter feed will be boring too), I head over to their feed and see if I find something interesting in their stream to share. In 9 times out of 10 they have good stuff worth spreading.

Helpful hint: The trick is to share only interesting stuff in line with what you’d normally share. Don’t retweet anything that misfits your personal brand. If they don’t have anything in their feed you like – or fits your followers – move on to number 2 on this list.

2. Follow them.

If a person shares your content, follow them! Doesn’t matter if they follow you back or not, show your appreciation by following them on the same network where the sharing took place.

Helpful hint: If you really wanna say that they matter to you and add value to your life, take the time to follow their blog or Facebook page too. Or check out another online platform where they hang out and where you share interests. Perhaps this person has good restaurant reviews on Foursquare or really great presentations at SlideShare? Maybe LinkedIn is a great place to connect further? Expand your relationship across platforms!

online audience

3. Comment on their blog.

Most bloggers don’t write for money, but they sure write for comments! If you really want to make someone happy, write a thoughtful comment on their blog.

Helpful hint: Share the post too, to sweet your action even further.

4. Write a recommendation or review.

If you’re connected on LinkedIn, endorse some of their skills or write a nice recommendation on their profile. If they have a website, be the first to write them a review on Alexa.com. Or give them Klout or Kred, if you think they’ll appreciate it.

Helpful hint: Be genuine and sincere. Only a thoughtful, personal recommendation counts. If you can’t provide this, or you don’t know the person so well, skip this suggestion and move on to other ways of appreciation!

online audience

5. #Shoutout and #FF the right way.

A tweet full of @handles accompanied by a #FF doesn’t make anyone happy. It’s as close to spam as you can go without being banished. But a #FF or #Shoutout is really nice to receive – if there’s an explanation to why you recommend people to follow a certain person.

Helpful hint: describe why you appreciate the person, why others should follow her and what value she adds to your life. Thoughtful is the keyword for this entire article, and everything you do to show appreciation or spread love to your online audience must have a thoughtful ingredient. Below is a good example how to #FF, and a funny #Shoutout I couldn’t resist:

 6. Feature them.

This is not just for a crush, this is for true love! If you have a blog or Facebook page, it’s a wonderful acknowledgement to feature your online audience on it. Interview them, write about their business, link to their content or quote them.

Helpful hint: People love when they’re pictured as shining examples. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame. A nice side effect when you give them your love, is they’ll love you back forever!

online audience

7. Introduce them to others.

Social media is much about being helpful to others and expand one’s connections. When I think someone could benefit from an encounter, I try to introduce the parts to each other.

Helpful hint: It could be someone to contact or follow, a niche forum of any kind or a group of mutual interest. 

8. Send them a useful and personal tip.

Recently, when I wanted to thank a sweet retweeter for her shares, I found out she was writing a really good blog. I was just about to share one of her posts, when I realized she didn’t got sharing buttons on her site. Since I  was on my mobile phone, cutting and pasting the url was out of the question. (I think a post must be beyond exceptionally good for people to go this extra mile just to share).

So I tweeted her and suggested she’d implement sharing options. She tweeted back saying she was happy for the tip and she had followed my advice. I went over to her site and shared the post immediately!

Helpful hint: To take your time looking into their blog, business website or social profile, suggesting an improvement or addition, shows them that you care. Be careful though: suggest something small they easily can add or change, not a complete makeover (even if you think it’s needed!)

online audience

9. Put them on a public list.

When I like to expand my following-base on Twitter, I go to a person I admire (a thought leader, industry expert or great facilitator in any way), and I check out their lists. Often they have lists like “People in marketing”, “Coffee lovers” and other descriptive bunches of interesting people. It’s very easy to find relevant people to follow through those lists. I’m always happy when someone puts me in a list. The fancier name the better!

Put people you like on your own lists. They’ll see it and will be flattered when they recognize they matter for you.

Helpful hint: Create lists with shiny names like “Top social media experts”, “AA Cat Lovers” or “Talented Techies”. Put people you appreciate on those lists – they’ll love it and other people may find and follow them.

10. Send them a virtual gift.

Have you written an e-book? It’s a great gift to those you appreciate. You can also tweet or email a useful link or invite them to a free webinar. Just remember – it got to be useful for them, not a way for you to promote yourself.

Helpful hint: This could be both love and spam, so be careful with what you decide to give away. Don’t send your dog training guide to every new follower on Twitter. Send it to people you interact with and you know have a dog, consider getting a dog or by any other reason shows interest in it.

online audience

And here’s something you shouldn’t do

Don’t send them flowers. Don’t go to their house and tell them in person how great they are. Don’t hang around their workplace. Taking an online relationship away from keyboard without agreement from both parts is spooky. Stay away from that kind of behavior if you don’t want to be considered a stalker.

What do you do to tell your online audience you love them? Please add to the list in the comment box below or tweet me @CoSkills.

Photo credit:
Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc
.melanie via photopin cc
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Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc
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About the author

Anna Rydne is an award winning and highly skilled communications specialist with +13 years of experience in the field of internal and external communication, PR and marketing. What distinguishes her from others in her field of expertise is that she treats communication as entertainment. It's simple to explain why: if it isn't funny or relevant enough, people switch channel. Anna has a special interest in personal branding and she believes the road to success is trying. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, she's determined to uncover the secrets of how successful people and companies communicate. She tweets about all things comms, social media and marketing @CoSkills and writes for SteamFeed.com once a month. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology. Contact her at communicateskills@gmail.com.

8 Responses to 10 Ways to Tell Your Online Audience You Love Them (And One Action You Should Avoid)

  1. Ian Harris says:

    Nice post Anna. Interviewing folk for a book is another great way to get to know your audience better. It’s also a great way to build an audience, for anybody just starting out. “Can I interview you for a book?” is a great excuse to reach out to new people – people hardly ever refuse.

  2. Love these tips – so simple and yet so potentially powerful. I especially love the virtual gift idea – and, of course, making a point to follow across other platforms.

  3. These are awesome tips. It’s a great way to connect and most likely you are going to make someone’s day as well. Way to spread the positivity.

    • Anna Rydne says:

      Thank you Michelle! Since there are a few persons doing bad things online, it’s even more important for all the others to spread and experience as much love and appreciation as possible!

  4. Ditto to this list love – it’s great. It got me thinking about ways I try to express gratitude/social love. On my list of mucho amor things to do: introduce. I love it when I can introduce two ppl and make a connection, whether it’s affiliate, hobby or personality. I’ve found that most people appreciate a well-thought-out introduction to someone else in my social circle.

    • Anna Rydne says:

      Introducing people is a very good way to genuinely care. Being introduced to someone who really are a good match is invaluable. Thanks for taking your time to comment, Bonnie!

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