So it’s your company’s birthday.
Today is your opportunity to indulge, have some cake and show your fans/guests/customers your true colours.
Here’s how to make the most out of your brand’s special day:
Happy birthday to me me me
Marketers and PR people say it’s the kiss of death to talk solely and incessantly about yourself on social media.
On your birthday, that rule goes out the window. It can be all about you — as long as it’s interesting.
Tell your story
How was the company founded? Who makes up the company now and what are they all about? What are the most poignant or funny stories your company has collected over the years? What have you learned along the way?
When you’re sharing these details on social media, tell stories about real people doing specific things. Stories about CEOs strategizing in generic boardrooms aren’t nearly as captivating as tales of entrepreneurs risking their life savings and drawing out their ideas on bar napkins.
Don’t be afraid to bring out the quirk.
You can rework these stories into tweets, longer social media or blog posts, and/or, if your story is interesting enough, pitches to media.
Your brand is a party and everyone’s invited
On your birthday, start something everyone can get involved in. Our client 7-Eleven Canada celebrates July 11th (7-11 — today!) every year by giving away free Slurpee drinks. Thousands of Slurpee lovers celebrate alongside the brand as a result and the company’s birthday turns into something much bigger.
Your “party” could be as involved as an event or product giveaway, or could be as simple as your CEO giving a Twitter shout-out to your loyal customers, your social team Instagramming a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the decorated company lunchroom, or a hilarious gif you made at the party.
There’s no serious way to wear a birthday hat. Today, let your hair down a little and just be you. Your resulting communications will be magnetic. Show your audience just how fun it is to be a part of your organization. Let them in on the joke.
At Peak we use our company birthday as a reason to give back to our clients and media contacts. This year, that took the form of a wine-tasting bash at the Peak office. It was our way of showing we care about the people we work with every day. Because we all had fun, engaging photos and social media posts came naturally from the event.
Celebrate with visuals
Photo- and video-sharing platforms like Instagram and Vine are your ticket to generating quick, fun content that will engage your audiences in ways no plain-Jane blog post can.
Yes. Share those badly drawn cake cartoons. Those goofy birthday cards. The interns’ three-legged race. The perfect cupcakes you made for the occasion. The CEO high-fiving the company mascot. One of your project managers jumping out of a birthday cake.
Just make sure you make those social posts before you get into the champagne.
Tags: anniversary, birthday, brand engagement, branding, celebration, employee communications
By now everyone knows to be careful what they share on social media.
Potential and current employers may be monitoring your online activity, or it may be brought to their attention by others who deem your posts inappropriate or offensive. Even corporate social profiles have a heightened sense of what they share after the US Airways NSFW image fiasco, and more recently the Delta Airlines giraffe debacle (get it together airline social media!)
When we share on social channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we know our posts will be broadcast to either the public or to a list of followers we have approved. Emails, however, we often assume are private. Like a phone call, they are typically not intended to be viewed by the general public.
Evan Spiegel, the 23-year-old founder of the billion-dollar app SnapChat, learned that this isn’t always the case, when a number of blatantly sexist emails he sent out to his fraternity during his college days, were publicized on Gawker.com and nearly every major business and technology publication in the days following. I am not here to condemn Mr. Spiegel on his less-than-eloquent language, as it may be argued that he was, and is, a 20-something frat boy uneducated in the impact of language. What I am here to do is remind us that we too could fall victim to embarrassing email mishaps, and provide some simple steps on how to prevent them.
Double check who you’re sending to
A certain member of my family who shall remain nameless once told me how he responded in a not-so-favourable manner after finding out that one of his colleagues would be taking charge of a major project, not realizing that the same person had been cc’d on the email. This resulted in a 45-minute phone call of back pedaling and apologies.
Proofreading the body of an email is second nature for many, but it is also important to make sure you check who exactly you are sending a message to before hitting send.
Know your audience
You may be quite chummy with clients, reporters or coworkers, but at the end of the day you are involved in a working capacity and a level of professionalism must be maintained when communicating over work email. Be aware that what you share and how you present yourself to these people could have an effect on your rapport with them.
Be wary of your formatting
Tying into the previous point, how you format an email to your mother or best friend should be different to how you format a business email. A proper greeting and signature, punctuation, and a clean font can say a lot about the quality of your work. It’s difficult to take someone seriously in Comic Sans.
Think before you hit send (or at least be prepared to stand by what you say)
At the end of the day, be it on social media or in an email, don’t send something you’d be embarrassed to have publically shared. I’m sure Mr. Snapchat figured his messages would never go beyond the inbox of those in his fraternity, but in a leadership role with his Stanford University chapter there was an expectation of him to have a level of professionalism, and his subsequent success made him an easy target for dirty laundry airing.
Though most of us won’t go on to create wildly successful phone apps, everyone wants to have a good reputation in the working world. If you are going to say something risqué, be confident in backing that statement if it is ever brought to light.
Tags: correspondence, editing, email, proofreading, social media, Writing