What’s Your Attitude About Christmas Cards? LinkedIn?

Have you ever heard about “predictive validity?”   In simple terms, the outcome of a test in one area might predict the outcome in another area.  Not all LinkedIn users send or receive Christmas cards.  Not all people getting Christmas cards are LinkedIn users either.  However, your attitude towards Christmas cards might speak volumes about your engagement (or lack of engagement) on social media.

1. I look at cards in stores, but don’t buy or send them.  You are aware of the tradition of sending Christmas cards.  You know lots of people do it.  You see them in stores.  You might pick some up off a rack, read them and smile.  That’s it.

LinkedIn:  You have joined LinkedIn because you were told by your firm everyone should do it.  You attended a training meeting where everyone setup a profile together.  You have not visited the site since.  You do not engage.

2. I intend to do it, but not now.  You might get some holiday cards in the mail or online.  You understand the logic.  You have good intentions but years pass and you never start the project.

LinkedIn:  You joined and set up a profile.  You buy into the logic on a conceptual level, but do not see a path how it strengthens relationships or leads to business.  You have not put in any effort.

3. I get cards in the mail.  I open and ignore them.  You receive holiday cards by surface mail or online.  You open them, read them and maybe smile.  Then you throw them away.

LinkedIn:  You are notified messages have arrived and are waiting for a response. You access LinkedIn and look at your messages.  Since no one has said they are ready to buy something, you ignore the messages and do something else instead.

4. I have a list I pull out every year and I send them cards.  This list does not get updated.  Some people have died or moved.  The good news is that some people receive cards from you on a regular basis.  You get a bunch in return.

LinkedIn:  After joining LinkedIn you took the next step and sent invitations to connect to people you know.  This included fellow advisors, office staff and neighbors.  You stopped there.  You do not check or accept invitations you have received.

5. I send a card if I have received a card.  You buy Christmas cards by the box.  You will send a card in response if you get one first.  It’s easy to tell who uses this strategy because their card arrives a week after you mailed one to them.  They are reactive.

LinkedIn:  You check LinkedIn for messages received on a periodic basis.  You respond to messages when you get them.  You send out few, if any, outgoing messages.

6. I use a service that produces a photo card and mails to a list I provide.  There is no handwriting in the card.  This is actually pretty popular.  The process has been outsourced.  You have completed the task by outsourcing it.

LinkedIn:  You have either hired a service to manage your LinkedIn account for you or you have scheduled a series of Compliance approved article posts in advance.  You are “active” on LinkedIn without any activity on your part.  You pay the bill.

7. I send e-cards to a list I provide.  This is a variation on the above strategy.  Because the holiday message is sent by e-mail instead of surface mail, the “card” has no staying power.  The delivery system might give you the ability to track who has received it or opened it.

LinkedIn:  You might be hiring a service to build a network for you.  They skirt around the rules LinkedIn established and send out large numbers of invites, assuming some people will connect.

8. I send cards, keeping a list of which ones I have received back.  You are being practice.  You probably delete the deceased and update mailing addresses.  You add new names and delete names of people you never hear from in the other 11 months of the year.

LinkedIn:  You make an effort to keep in touch with your network.  You might keep a database of your connections and if they respond to your outreach.  If you make several efforts and they remain silent, you drop them as connections or simply give them a lower priority.  

9. I buy cards, hand address them and write personal messages inside.  Did I mention you include a typed letter recounting the family’s activities during the year?  This takes a lot of effort, but it shows the personal touch.  The recipient feels you care about them.  Many get back in touch.

LinkedIn:  You have built a network of connections who might do business or refer you to others.  You post regularly to establish yourself as a subject matter expert.  You answer all messages and send out birthday and work anniversary acknowledgements.  Your connections know you are a real person, not an automated program.  They engage with you. 

Advisors are always on the lookout for outreach strategies that keep them top of mind with clients and prospects.  Christmas cards are one example.  The behaviors can be predictive of people’s behavior regarding LinkedIn.