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Why Social Media Marketing Is Like Designing a Greeting Card

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Once upon a time, before social media posts were the mainstay to wish a friend a happy birthday, congratulate a couple on their engagement, or announce a baby-on-the-way, there were greeting cards. Of course, they’re still around today, but they are increasingly becoming a bit of an old-fashioned convention, at least for younger generations.

When you do receive a card, chances are good that at some point you flip it over to look at the back. This is an impressive marketing feat pulled off by Hallmark after the company started adding its symbol to the back of its cards in the 1920s. The brand earned its distinction by building a reputation for quality designs and inspired messages.

It’s my belief that my fellow social media specialists and I could all have jobs as greeting card writers. That’s because writing an effective social media post is a skill that feels very much like creating a greeting card. The message inside must make a relevant, useful statement while striking just the right tone. The image needs to be eye-catching and shareable.

Social media posts, like greeting cards, can make valuable impressions on behalf of businesses where words or other types of marketing messages stop. A successful post should leave the customer with a feeling, not a sales pitch, with the ultimate goal being to build a feeling of trust for the brand.

Picking out a greeting card is often just as fun as receiving it, although I do find it a bit awkward when there are others in the aisle. When else do we spend time in quiet reflection with complete strangers? Well, even though you may not realize it, you’re also picking out the “greetings” that you receive from businesses and friends on social media. Signals such as clicking “like,” leaving a comment, or hiding a post send signals to algorithms and ultimately determine what you see in your social streams, and also what your friends see.

As high-quality content becomes more and more important in the world of marketing, be sure to think of your posts as greeting cards. Would you want to send it to a friend? Would you want to receive it in the mail? What feeling should someone have after seeing it? Above all, ask yourself “What’s my brand’s special hallmark?”


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