I’ve attended many seminars, and read lots of articles over the past years about how to properly promote a brand and build a community using social media.

One of the core behaviours in social media is to be…. social. Using your social media platform as another channel through which to push out ads for your latest product or sale just doesn’t cut it. It isn’t authentic, and it isn’t social. As a brand, you need to interact with your followers. Engage is a conversation.

That’s why checking my mail (the paper kind, that’s delivered to your door) this morning put me in such a good mood. In the mail I found an envelope that looked like it contained a card, and had my name and address handwritten on it. Ok…. I was interested. Most mail I receive these days is either junk or bills.

Still standing at the mailbox, I opened the envelope, and found enclosed a thank you card and a $5 Starbucks gift card from Allison, who works in social media at Grasshopper, the virtual phone system that I use for part of our business. Sweet!

Thank you Card from Grasshopper

What did I do to deserve this? Did I sign up for a new account? Nope. Had I suffered a service outage and this was their way of apologizing? Nope!

All it took was a simple tweet. A fellow user on Twitter was asking if anyone outside the United States was using Grasshopper for their phone services. I chimed in that I was using their services here in Canada.

Here’s the conversation:

This is the kind of social media interaction that I imagine would make Scott Stratten smile. Don’t get that reference? Read his books. Trust me.

Why was this little token of Grasshopper’s appreciation so awesome?

1. It was unexpected. They hadn’t contacted me and said “we’d like to send you something”. It just showed up. I assume they either google’d me or looked in their customer database for my address.

2. This wasn’t about customer acquisition. They’re already charging my credit card every month. I’m already a happy customer.

3. There was a nice handwritten note. There’s something so much more personal about a handwritten note compared to received a typed letter.

Back to the promoting a brand and building a community. This little thank you from Grasshopper has inspired me to write a blog post, which I will now share with my social network. I’m also likely going to tell others about this in person over the coming days and weeks. So Grasshopper wins. My input felt appreciated, and I get a nice thank you in return. I win.

It’s been a long week. I’m going to enjoy that coffee. In fact, I’m writing this post from Starbucks right now.

Have a great weekend!