I recently had the pleasure of celebrating my first birthday on Facebook. Wow, what an experience! If you don’t have your birth date out to display to your friends or you haven’t been on Facebook long enough, you may not be able to comprehend what I experienced. But for those of you who know about this, let’s just say my birthday was made extra special by all of the people who came to my Wall to wish me a Happy Birthday. And I mean lots of people. I am writing this blog post to both thank all of my Facebook Friends as well as to ponder what Facebook Birthdays could and should mean for businesses.
First of all, the thank yous. You know who you are, so let’s just say your thinking of me is greatly appreciated. The interesting thing is that many of the people that sent me a “Happy Birthday!” message on my wall were from “friends” that I had never met before. As you know, I am a LinkedIn LION, and rather than discuss why I am a LinkedIn LION, let’s just say LinkedIn does not provide the same venue for casual communication like the Facebook Wall does. So it was a pleasant surprise to see so many of my virtual network stop by and wish me their birthday greetings. It made me happy that there are so many “real people” embracing Windmill Networking. Thank you all!
How is any of this related to how companies can maximize Facebook birthdays for their business? Let me count the ways:
1) Have you ever thought about advertising on Facebook? I mention this because, unlike Google AdWords, Facebook allows you to advertise according to very specific demographics. In fact, Facebook Ads have an option where you can create a custom ad to display only on that user’s birthday. People are happy on their birthdays…advertise something that has value and is birthday-appropriate and you may have a secret formula for attracting new business.
2) If you are an entrepreneur or a small business, you should definitely be monitoring the Facebook Home Page looking for birthdays of your customers, partners, or suppliers. It will obviously be easier to do this if they are your Friends on Facebook, but if their profile information is public you can also glean this information. Contacting them on their birthday gives you a natural reason to be communicating with them…and since they will be in a good mood, they may take you up on any special offers that you might have! Obviously, depending on their Privacy Setting, this information may not be available to you…
3) Related to this are the Facebook Friends who used the occasion to connect with me and send me greetings on LinkedIn and/or Twitter. We may not have been as connected on these platforms before, so it gave them the opportunity to communicate with me on a new level. It could also provide the same opportunity for your business to get noticed and “followed” on these other platforms as well.
4) Once again, this depends if the user’s Privacy Setting is set on “Everyone,” but if it is, you could create a Facebook Application that actually gathers user’s birthdays with which you could then access to send them a special message on their birthday.
5) If you or your business is able to write a birthday greeting on a user’s wall, it will be seen by all others how come by to wish the same person a Happy Birthday. This in itself could provide your business with free advertising!
The intention of this blog post was not to spook people out about Facebook-related privacy issues. Because more personal information may be available to the public on Facebook rather than other social networking sites, as well as the fact that Facebook allows businesses to utilize this data in advertisements and applications, businesses could come up with some pretty creative social media marketing campaigns that could only be possible on Facebook. In terms of social media marketing, it gives businesses a unique opportunity to leverage this information on Facebook that can’t be done on the other major social networking platforms.
If, on the other hand, as a user you are worried about this, please ensure you check your Privacy Settings and confirm that you are comfortable sharing what you might have on your Facebook Profile. If you have any questions about how to do this, please post your question in the Comments below.
Finally, thanks again for all of the “Happy Birthday!” greetings!
Do you have similar Facebook Birthday experiences? How about utilizing Facebook for birthday-related advertisement? Do let us know about what your experience has been!