An often-overlooked opp for high-impact social engagement is the ‘Happy Birthday’ message on a friend or colleague’s Facebook wall. While this might seem like an innocuous gesture of goodwill, it’s actually a prime opportunity to get the attention of someone who hasn’t been accepting your reach-outs, by catching them in a good mood on their best day. Also, it makes you look like a nice person, which is always a killer strat.
So here are a few key tips to crafting the most high-impact Facebook Wall Birthday Message possible:
1. Assess the Value! — You should check your list of Facebook birthdays every day (I like to do it first thing in the morning, while I’m having my Red Bull and PowerBar), and start by prioritizing which targets could yield the most dynamic ROI. Get the obvious close friends/family/loved ones out of the way quickly with a glib “Happy B-Day!”, because these users are already engaged with your brand and therefore aren’t worth any additional time investment (unless you need to do brand-repair with any of them for whatever reason, in which case you should probably go ahead and type out ‘Birthday’ instead of just ‘B-Day’). Next, throw out anyone with a weak brand that you won’t benefit from associating with. Finally, begin crafting your strategic birthday messages, in descending order from highest-to-lowest-value targets.
2. Punch It Up! — Don’t squander your message on just a regular old “Happy Birthday” or “Hope you’re having a great day.” This is your chance to show the target - and all of his social network - that you’re clever, because you GET IT™, which could lead to future partnerships and deals. And you don’t have to be a comedy writer to bring the LOLs: when in doubt, just work in a reference to a popular movie or TV show (I find ‘Office Space’ and/or ‘The Office’ are usually best). A great one might be “Looks like someone’s got a case of the Birthdays! (That’s what she said.)”
3. Always Be BFF! — When you leave a birthday message, always pretend to be close friends with the target (even if you’re not). First of all, this will establish an immediate intimacy that will make them give your birthday message more regard than the others. Secondly, even if they ultimately choose to continue ignoring your reach-outs, the rest of their network will only assume you’re close, thus improving your own brand by this perceived association.
4. Don’t Forget the Link Love! — Try to find something from your blog, website, or eCommerce shop to reference in the birthday message, then link back to it. This is a good way to get free advertising for your brand, and possibly capture some new unique visitors (if you’re ready for advanced strat, you could also consider setting up a side business selling links to other brands from your birthday messages). No matter what you’re doing, a clear high-impact call to action is crucial. You can craft the greatest birthday message in the world, but if no one knows how to find more of your brand, it’s a worthless impression.
5. Use Lots of Exclamation Points!!! — One of the limits of using text as a communication tool is that it lacks the ability to convey the nuances of expression and emotion that are a part of conversations IRL. Luckily, someone invented the exclamation point app to make sure people will realize that, no matter what you’re saying, you are definitely smiling and enthusiastic. Avoid awkward miscommunications by using exclamation points (and capitalization) liberally! KILL IT!!!!!!!