ありがとうございます vs ありがとうございました in delayed online communications

Here’s a question for you all. This has to do with the difference between ありがとうございます and ありがとうございました. Of course I have looked at the old threads and some videos to learn that the difference is that the ます form is for thanking in the present while the ました form is for thanking for something that is already completed. This doesn’t confuse me much when dealing with in-person situations, but I have to ask now in regards to using these phrases in delayed (not live) online communications, is there a right or wrong way here? I will give an example that specifically uses social media as the format.

Let’s say… a Japanese viewer of my Instagram photo left me a comment saying it is a beautiful photo. I want to thank the person who left the comment. I am not there right as this comment is posted to read it and respond, so several hours (or even days) have passed by the time I read it. Since this comment was left quite some time ago, and it may be even more time before the person sees my response, do I use the ました form to thank them for the past action of having complimented my photo? OR do we sort of “ignore” the delay in communications since this is a normal and expected slowing of the conversation on social media, and treat it more as if it is a live conversation and in this case I would use the ます form?

I am still quite a beginner to Japanese. I don’t post on social media in Japanese but I have been, for some months now, using Japanese hashtags on my photos primarily as a means of practicing typing in Japanese and using more Japanese vocabulary words and kanj. This attracts viewers from Japan, and sometimes they leave me comments that I can translate online. What tense should I use when I thank them? Does it matter? Is there a more appropriate way to express gratitude for a compliment than saying thanks?

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It’s not that you ignore the delay, it’s just that you suppose that they still think your picture is beautiful. So you thank them for that -> ありがとうございます
If you use the past tense, it would mean that they are done saying/thinking it looks good. It could be true (and you would then use the past tense to convey the idea of "thank you for your former support), but nothing seems to indicate that it is the case.

Tl;dr: ありがとうございます

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Thank you. I think that clears it up for me a lot!

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