Are you making these festive mistakes when you post?
OK so this seems a little unfestive, but don’t you wish you could send this message out in advance to people who include ’round robin’ letters with their cards at Christmas? You know, the ones where they brag about how their kids are captain of everything at school, leaving you feeling distinctly inferior.
On the other hand, there are some round robin letters that you’re glad to read as they are really sweet, funny and engaging – how do they manage to be that way while others don’t?
Well it struck me that this annual ritual has a lot in common with how we express ourselves on social media, and in our marketing messages in general.
Here’s how it works, and what to do about it.
What’s annoying about the bad letters? Let me count the ways.
1) They focus on all the brilliant things they’ve done that year, to the exclusion of anything else. It’s great to be proud of your achievements, but a sense of balance is important. And the sneaky brags are the worst ; one letter I received mentioned that their son plays in the cricket team ‘for the year above’. Aaargh!!
2) They’re self centred, in that they take no interest in anyone but the writer.
3) They are on one ’emotional plane‘. Either moaning or bragging is the order of the day.
And what’s what’s lovely about the good letters?
1) They take a balanced view – both positive and negative. Because of this what they have to say is more trustworthy, as we instinctively understand that everyone’s year is a combination of ups and downs. We like to hear the real story.
2) They are written taking the reader into account. They make good use of captions, photos and an engaging writing style. Most importantly they focus on what they think the reader would like to hear about, and not just the stuff they want to say.
3) They use humour and are a bit self deprecating. In other words, they sound human – you can relate to them.
So how does this relate to your social media posts? I’m sure you’re getting the gist by now.
If you take a look at what you write from your audience’s point of view, you might feel a bit differently about it. It’s a good exercise to do every time you post. It’s also important to take a balanced view of your sector so you come across as trustworthy and genuine; for example if you sell insurance you could talk about the shortcomings of your industry as well as the positive benefits. And be newsworthy : be interesting, topical and show a sense of humour. Be yourself!
So how about you? Do you love or hate these round robin letters? Or is it just we Brits who have a problem with them? And how do you approach your posting and marketing messages taking this into account? Please let me know in the comments below.