One of the best things about having friends in Facebook is the notification that one of your ‘friends’ is having a birthday. I may have forgotten every one of my ‘in real life’ friends birthdays but Facebook has made sure I don’t forget about those that are my ‘online friends’. While that’s a great thing, it’s also being GROSSLY abused by online marketing types. You know who they are. They are not IRL Friends and really not even ‘Online Friends’. Might be the only time you see or hear from them is when they invite you to their next networking meeting (across the country) or on your birthday last year. Speaking of which, did they just use your birthday to market themselves to all the visitors on your wall – how dare they! (see super duper special below)
Hey, that’s NOT Me! I just wanted to wish them Happy Birthday!
Ok, so you are not that evil marketing person, but then again, they are not exactly your best friends right? Maybe it’s part of your social media plan to reach out to everyone on their birthday, write a little something on their wall? I’m ok with that. Honest intentions and all, it’s as good a time to do it. Does your message just blend in with all the others?
How can you stand out from the crowd? It’s easy. What we want to do is find something that is relevant to them. That means you need to know a little about them right? Just knowing something they like isn’t always good enough. For example, my knowing your passion for all things Precious Moments might come off a little creepy as I pop into your stream for the first time.
So maybe it might be better to find something that the two of you shared? What events you both attended, what pages you both like, what conversations and photos you both were in?
Does that sound like that’s a little work? Perfect. You can stop reading this post now and move on. This isn’t for you. You’ll like this better. Maybe come back when you have time to read the LIST of Facebook Birthday Don’ts at the bottom.
Still Here? Great!
The first step is to know about the upcoming birthdays. Facebook doesn’t make it easy. They’ve hidden the birthdays over on the right side of your home screen and generally only show one for the day. It’s just a small little box now.
When you click that box you’ll now get a popup that encourages you to write on their wall. Not include a photo, not record a video. just text. Guess what? Don’t do it!
We’re looking for common ground and we want to make it special right?
The BEST thing you can do is to forget about what Facebook gives you and instead bookmark this URL
Click on that link and you’ll be taken to a page that delivers all the birthdays for today, tomorrow, next week and on and on! go there, Control D or Command D and fire that page up daily when the time comes. You can start thanking me now 😉
The next step is to find that common ground you both share. Something that won’t set off the creeper alarms. This can be done with anyone at any time, it doesn’t have to be their birthday.
Go to their Profile, if they are on the old style or new timeline, look for the little gear and the drop down for “See Friendship”.
Click on ‘See Friendship” and the page that builds will be everything that the two of you have shared. The Page might load wall posts, photos, videos, events. Sometimes it’s a great reminder of things you’ve shared in the past, other times it might be something you didn’t know yet! That’s pretty cool. I’m a photoshop guy or a video guy so my next step is to find something I can photoshop or mention in a video. For you, it might be an past event or mutual page you’ve liked that triggers something to put in your Birthday greeting. What you use is up to you and your relationship with the Birthday Boy (or Girl). It’s just a tool, now it’s up to you on how to use it.
Want something even cooler? The URL structure is pretty simple for ‘See Friendship’. It’s you and the friend by name or profile id, but it doesn’t have to be. You can put together two different individuals and see their friendship! Don’t believe me? Try this one: http://www.facebook.com/MikeMueller?and=jeremyblanton That would be me and my friend Jeremy and everything between the two of us that was ‘public’. On the top right you can browse other friendships and there’s even a box to input two different people and generate another page!
Ok, so that’s how to make your birthday greetings better on Facebook. For those that need a list…
- DO take the time to wish people a happy birthday. It’s perfectly ok to write more than “I hope your day is a special one”. Heck, write a paragraph or two. Can’t think of anything to say? Maybe you should work on the relationship building a little first then. Maybe even skip this birthday? It’s ok. I give you permission.
- DO take the time to find something that is relevant between the two of you. You have the tools now.
- DO record a personal birthday video or image. If you are a video person and I know not everyone is, but if you did record a video to their wall, not only will it help your post stand out, it’ll also help your EdgeRank.
Birthday DO NOT’s:
- DO NOT mindlessly copy and past the same text message to everyone in Facebook having a birthday.
- DO NOT paste the same youtube video on every birthday wall, videos are special but not so much if it’s the same Beatles, Jimmy Buffet or Muppets singing, and the same exact thing you posted on every friends birthday wall. The same goes for that happy birthday cake and candle image you’ve used 1,892 times in a row. I lost that ‘special’ feeling when I went over to your wall and saw it again and again.
SUPER DUPER SPECIAL BIRTHDAY DO NOT – I’ve seen a new trend where an office or team gets together and records a video where they all wish or sing happy birthday (generically). The video usually has an intro and outro and plenty of branding along the way. I’m not going to name names (but I could) Listen to me. I know it sounded like a good thing when you came up with the idea. I know it’s kind of like getting that birthday card from your dentist signed by the staff. But believe me, nothing comes off spammier than your posting this on everyone’s wall for their birthday. Really. Don’t do it. If you are doing it, stop doing it. This isn’t what Facebook or social media is about. It’s the wrong place and the wrong time.
- Now It’s Easier To Wish Someone A Happy Birthday On Facebook (techmadly.com)
- How to Export Birthdays From Facebook to Outlook (123beta.com)
- Facebook: Popular on your birthday or not so much (examiner.com)
He's an avid hockey fan, rides a mountain bike, sometimes rides a road bike, has a few motorcycles (he had a really fast one, bought a cool orange one, rode a really slow one, and wants a really small one). If that isn't enough, he makes cheese and sourdough bread, loves strong beer and good red wine, and poorly plays the Mandolin.