Being Bruce -: Business Social Media Tip #17 - Happy Birthdays!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Business Social Media Tip #17 - Happy Birthdays!

Whether you use social media or not, acknowledging customer and client birthdays is a slam dunk decision. Sales professionals in retails stores in fields as diverse as real estate, new car sales, ice cream shops, insurance agents, and high end jewelry stores know the proved value of sending birthday greetings.

In the interest of full disclosure, my wife and I are distributors in SendOutCards, a company that makes sending birthday cards or any types of standard or customized greeting cards fast, easy, and, oh yeah, very inexpensive. So I do have a dog in this hunt (and if you want to check it out and maybe send a free greeting card to a customer or loved one on me, just go to our web site, and click on Send a Free Card).

OK, so back to the tip. To make life easy for recognizing customer birthdays you'll want to set up systems for:

- Capturing people's birth dates (month and day are fine, few people are threatened or offended if you don't ask for the year)

- Being sure you have a real mailing address if you're going to send something - preferably a home address because mail often gets re-routed or delayed in offices

- Reminding yourself ahead of time of the upcoming birthday. If you're just going to make a phone call, or send an e-card (which I do not recommend), getting a reminder on the day of is fine.

Using social media for noticing and wishing someone happy birthday is easy as most social media sites request birth date information --though some do not require or won't display birthdates without permission. Facebook is to date the easiest social media site on which to find friends' birthdays, just go to the your personal Home page, look to the events section (most likely in the right hand column) and birthdays of your friends are listed.

There does remain one last step you need to take to pull this all together (social media, your clients, birthdays); you want to find out what social media sites your clients' use and make a point of hooking up with them on any and all media in which you both participate. This process is pretty easy if you ask for Facebook and Twitter IDs when you're first recording new customer or client data (ask for their birthday at the same time). If you already have a client database, but no birthdays or social media info, this is a great time to add to the richness of your client data. You can just send e-mail (we once sent e-mail to a big bunch of clients and most were very happy to send birthdays), but if convenient and possible (which means you can't have too many), why not call your contact database to have some personal contact and verify the info you already have for them and then ask for birthday and social media use as well.

If you have the time and inclination, you can also search Facebook and Twitter for your clients' names, but with the millions of people using both services, it's probably better to make personal contact.

A quick birthday wish via social media doesn't replace real cards (my bias) and it certainly won't replace cake, or presents, but even a brief birthday message is a nice touch with your social media-connected clients.