Sunday, October 16, 2011

The 2 Magic Words That'll Make You A Social Media Superstar

"Can I have chocolate cake?"

"What's the magic word?"

"Please, can I have chocolate cake?"

It's a simple enough concept. One that our parents and grandparents drilled into us from a very early age. You can't just go through life making demands or receiving things without adding two "magic" words to your vocabulary: please and thanks.

So, why is it that the moment we open up Twitter, Facebook and even our e-mail, we forget those simple, magical words?

I've lost track of the number of e-mails, tweets and other general requests that simply rub me the wrong way, because of the omission of a "please" or "thank you." It's as if, in our infantile use of newfangled social media tools, we've forgotten everything our mother taught us.

In business, this can kill your efforts to build any kind of positive reputation or presence online. No matter how much you spend on the latest dashboards, monitoring tools or specialized staff members, it will be all for nothing if you forget your Ps and Qs.

Think about it. A customer tweets how great your product is and how wonderful it is to work with your company. How much of that goodwill goes out the window when you don't bother to reply with a simple "thank you."

Or, you send an e-mail to a business partner, asking for a report that you desperately need by the end of the day. In your rush to get the e-mail sent out, you don't bother to include a "please," "thanks" or "I would be very grateful." You've lost any opportunity to endear yourself to the recipient and instead sent what looks like a rude, assumptive, demand. If I were the recipient, your e-mail would be ignored for most of the day.

There's no excuse. Really. Only have 140 characters and can't afford to waste a single one of them? I can promise you that nothing in your tweet is more important than "please" or "thanks." Heck, you can shorten that to "plz" or "thx" if you must. Three characters and you'll win over your followers.

Here are some other examples of the power of the "magic" words:

  • When polling your Twitter followers—or asking them to take a specific action—your response rates will improve, if you show your gratitude.
  • If you send an e-mail to a business, remember that it's not a computer that's going to reply—it's a human. Don't be rude. Include a "please" and a "thank you" and you'll win over that employee.
  • If someone posts a raving review of your company to your Facebook wall, go ahead and thank them. Let them know that you actually care about your customers. If not, like an unloved spouse, you could find that customer goes cheating on you with your biggest competitor. "They just don't love me" they'll say...or post to their Facebook wall.
  • Thank your employees. Continually. Look, we're in one of the biggest recessions of our our lifetimes and bonuses, raises and corporate retreats are thin on the ground. It costs nothing to send requests with a "please" and, when a great job is done, thank and praise that person.

There's more at stake here than mere chocolate cake, so the next time you reach for that keyboard, make sure it includes the keys for P and Q.

Thanks to Andy Beal CEO, Trackur / Open Forum / American Express Company


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