In a world of ever-escalating automation, it takes effort to retain personalization.
The effort, I would argue, is well worth it.
Take LinkedIn’s relatively new feature of offering prompts like “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” and “Congrats on your work anniversary!” Flowing from our own initiative, all are lovely sentiments, and our moms would be proud and pleased. Problem is, with each click of these automated notes, we fall prey to the rising de-personalization that relentlessly encroaches in our Artificial Intelligence world.
It takes only a few seconds to customize a reply by adding the individual’s name and perhaps a word or brief phrase.
Who knows—maybe you could go a step further and check in with that person and see what’s new in their world, set up a 10-minute catch-up phone call, or otherwise focus on the quality of each relationship rather than rely on sheer quantity of activity and/or connections to carry the day.
Another opportunity to build off a template comes when inviting Facebook friends to become fans of a page. The Facebook-manufactured content falls far short of making an authentic connection that communicates what’s “in it” for the recipient.
Here it is, in its full vanilla-bot glory, for my Inside Edge PR page on Facebook:
By contrast, when I invite people to like a Facebook page, my first step is deleting that lame block of copy. Next, I type the person’s name and create something original. For example, this is a recent outreach for my “Go Figure: Making Numbers Count” page:
Even if Tom doesn’t become a fan of the page, the tailored message represents a concise commercial that is much more memorable than the automated Facebook note. And it’s certainly better than including no note at all, which is a path taken by some folks who recognize the need to delete automation but fail to seize an opportunity to create a connection.
In conclusion, whether it’s on a social-media platform, or in any other context, resist the temptation to short-cut your precious moments of interaction. Don’t regard people like a number to “get through” before you move on to more important stuff.
Instead, treat the unique individuals in your world like the significant people that they are. In my career, whether it was reporting on deadline for a newspaper or magazine, representing the PR interests of a company, or building my own brand, I have found that these micro-engagements are the important stuff.