Can I post a discount with a birthday message on someone’s Facebook wall?

Every now and then I get a question from a direct seller about whether or not it’s appropriate to post a happy birthday message on a friend’s wall on Facebook, along with a discount offer of some kind.

The answer is, it’s completely inappropriate.

Think about this: what you are actually doing when posting a message like this is advertising your business on the person’s wall, in front of all their friends.  Your friend has not given you permission to market to her friend list, but you’re doing it anyway.  You’re also saying, “It’s your birthday! Spend money with me!” That’s not a gift.  It’s an ad.

I know several people who have had direct sellers post messages like this on their wall, and it is NEVER appreciated.

Don’t use someone’s birthday as an opportunity for self-promotion.

It’s never appropriate to post your business to someone else’s wall without their permission (birthday or not).  Offering a discount does not change this.  If you want to wish someone happy birthday, go for it! It’s a great way to continue to build a relationship.  But leave your business ads out of it.  Posting your business to someone’s wall is all about you, not them.  People don’t appreciate it, and it can damage all the relationship-building efforts you’ve put in.

I’m going to say it one more time: It is never appropriate to post your business to someone else’s wall without permission.  Got it?  Good!

Your thoughts?

8 Responses to Can I post a discount with a birthday message on someone’s Facebook wall?
  1. Sean Morgan
    February 17, 2012 | 1:13 am

    There’s a free fb web app that let’s you pre-schedule happy birthday wall posts so you don’t forget your friends birthdays. It’s called birthdayFB. You can use it at http://birthdayfb.com

  2. Raylee Melton
    July 8, 2010 | 9:17 am

    I hadn’t run across this yet. Thanks for the FYI! Keep up the great info!

  3. Karen Shillieto
    July 8, 2010 | 6:48 am

    It’s just plain TACKY! Tacky, tacky, tacky. And not in that cute, kitcshy way we could laugh about either.

  4. Patty Reiser
    July 7, 2010 | 4:51 pm

    Honestly, I never would have even thought of that because it is totally inappropriate.

  5. Bridgett
    July 7, 2010 | 12:45 pm

    THANK YOU!
    So much of what I see people write on other people’s Facebook Walls I think should be done in a message offline.
    I see someone’s Facebook Wall as their virtual house, on a virtual street, in a honkin’ huge neighborhood. And I don’t wanna be the one scrawling my message, for my own benefit, all over it.

  6. Liz Johnson
    July 7, 2010 | 11:31 am

    Jennifer – I *completely* agree with you! Our custom is to give a gift on someone’s birthday, not ask them to come spend money with us. Thanks for sending out this great etiquette reminder.

  7. Heather
    July 7, 2010 | 11:08 am

    I’ve done it, I admit it! No more! In general I just post a happy birthday message. But if it’s a customer who hasn’t yet responded to their customer birthday discount card I’ve sent, I might post the discount to their facebook—- I think I’ve done it more than once. Thank you for giving me food for thought!!!!!!!!!!!!

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