I recently had a spirited discussion and subsequently went through an interesting exercise with a client’s sales team. The subject? Should we reflect our presence on social networks on our business cards and on our email signatures?
Not surprisingly, there was a fair amount of initial resistance to adding “social address” information to business cards and email signatures. The current contact information contained on their cards and email signatures was fairly standard: office phone, cell phone, fax, email address and in the case of the card – physical mail address. When you think about the utility of all that information, the primary reason for its existence is to provide the recipient of your card or email a range of choice in connecting with you. Carrying that thought forward, it would seem logical to expand the range of choices to reflect the newest ways to be found- whether that be on LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook or your website or name your favorite social outpost here.
This turned the conversation down an interesting path – if we list this type of information then does it mean we have to “do something” on these social sites? Short answer – yes. Unlike the underlying static nature of a phone number – you list it and it usually stays constant over time with no additional work other than answering it, there is a different requirement when listing your “social address” – it is a dynamic address that must be continuously cultivated to be relevant. Take the case of LinkedIn – with very little effort you can obtain a personal url that you can put on your business card and your email signature. The real value begins when you take the time and energy to create a vibrant profile, listen to and engage with others on the site and by doing so communicate your relevancy to whomever you gave the address to. Ditto for Twitter, Facebook and your website – there has to be something interesting and relevant there or it will not serve your desired purposes in getting found.
The final decision was to add social address information if the necessary work had been done to make it a worthwhile place for people to go. (In this case, LinkedIn reigned.) The follow up plan is to further develop, and commit to ongoing development of, the other sites deemed critical to being more easily found.
The other interesting component of this process was getting the information to display in an ideal way in the email signature – there are a few tricks to getting it right. This is a topic I will cover in depth in my next post.