We celebrate birthdays with people we barely (if at all) know on Facebook all the time, but how about Twitter?
And by celebrate, I mean we look at the list of birthdays on Facebook, write on their wall and it ends there for the most part. If you creep down that list and consciously decide not to wish them a happy birthday? Congrats, you’re Facebook friends!
I took an even more isolated approach with this experiment. By using Twitter’s advanced search, I looked for happy birthday tweets in Canada and the US. From here, I reached out to strangers on their big day hoping they spent it well and with those close to them.
Would people find that creepy? That’s what I wanted to find out. While plenty of etiquette are well established on social media, congratulations seemed like an untouched topic. If the response was positive, I also wanted to see if it could be used to give my personal branding a little boost in the process.
Is it socially acceptable?
In short, yes. The response was overwhelmingly positive. In fact, only a single person was weirded out by getting a birthday message on Twitter from me, but they were still grateful. I’m sure I put a smile on a lot of faces in the process!
Can happy birthday messages be used as a growth hack?
Like any experiment I do on social media, I always have growth in mind so I kept a spreadsheet handy to track metrics.
Since this is such a lighthearted growth hack, I decided to keep the metrics very simple — I kept track of Twitter handles, follower to following ratio, ifthey followed me and if they replied to my tweet. On top of that, I followed people with follower to following ratios above 1.00 since it’d be likely they’d follow me back and I also followed anyone who retweeted the birthday message.
Let’s cut to the chase and give you the results.
27 of the 50 followed me after reading their birthday greeting. 23 replied to me or retweeted and only 1 was creeped out. On top of this, 4 friends saw the RT and followed me too.
To answer my hypothesis, sending birthday tweets can be used as a growth hack (on a small scale at least).
Would I do it again?
I’ve actually considered doing this on a monthly basis or try scaling it up a touch. People loved it, I pushed my personal brand a tiny push further and there isn’t really much harm that can come from it.