Happy Birthday, [Your Name Here]
When I was a kid and it was my birthday, I could always count on two things. First, it was the only day of the year where we Farquharson kids could choose the meal (I always went with hot dogs in buns with chips and a Coke…and I mean for 21 consecutive years I did this!).
The other constant was a birthday card from my aunt, Joan. Inside the card, she sent along a balloon and a stick of gum. Over the years, I came to truly appreciate the thoughtfulness of this simple gesture. Here we are, 50 years later, and I am still recalling the gift. Crazy.
This blog is about social media autoresponders and the banality of simply clicking one of the three options LinkedIn has selected for you. When I am on the receiving end of one of these preselected congratulatory messages, I am equal parts grateful and snarky. On the one hand, it’s nice that someone would remember. But on the other, I want to respond with a, “Thank you so much for taking the time to hover your mouse over the round corner rectangle containing someone else’s words and single click. That sincerity of your gesture means everything to me.”
Gang, I get it. You’re not gonna send a birthday card (with or without a stick of gum) to the dozens of work anniversary and birthday connections you have. There are times when clicking that preselected message is proportionate to the status of that relationship. But, for those special few you do care about, rather than be a lemming, why not be that one person who picks up the phone (at the bare minimum) and delivers a personal message. Don’t want to get into a long conversation? Engage this, one of my 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever:
While the best time of day to call someone and get them on the phone is just before the top of the hour (the thinking here is all meetings start on the hour so just before the top of the hour, people are in their office and are more easily reached), if you only want to leave a message, call just after the top of the hour as you are likely to get voicemail.
You don’t need to be outrageous to show differentiation from your competition. Sometimes, you just need to show some common courtesy and a personal touch. Years from now, none of us will remember autoresponder greetings and messages. However, we will remember those who rose above the fray and remembered an important event by taking a personal approach.