How thank-you notes can transform your career

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From 2001 to 2011, Douglas Conant transformed Campbell Soup.

As CEO, he took “a beleaguered old brand” (Businessweek’s words, not mine) and turned it into a thriving success in the global food industry. In 10 years at the helm, Conant cut costs and innovated and increased the company’s marketing efforts.

He also wrote 30,000 thank-you notes.

A thoughtful thank-you is more than an Emily Post-type platitude. Make writing thank-you notes a habit, and you will improve your career. It worked for Conant.

It’s also a habit of titans like George H.W. Bush, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Welch and James Thomas Fallon. You don’t have to commit an hour each day as Conant does, but below are three types of thank-you notes you should be writing. Shoot for one a week.

Don’t be the parent who never said ‘I love you’

Here are the metrics. When Conant took over at Campbell’s, a Gallup poll found that employee engagement at the company was the lowest of any Fortune 500 firm ever polled.

  • 62 percent of managers considered themselves not actively engaged in their jobs.
  • 12 percent of managers considered themselves actively disengaged in their jobs.

“We had a toxic culture,” Conant is quoted saying in a case study for the Harvard Business School. “People were understandably jaundiced with management. It was hard for me to imagine that we could inspire high performance with no employee engagement.”

Conant set about changing things. He created a leadership development program and a scorecard to evaluate each leader’s performance. He ushered in new faces and said goodbye to old ones. In the first three years, Conant replaced 300 of the top 350 leaders at the company, according to a 2009 piece in Forbes. Conant also started saying “thank you.”

Each day, Conant would write 10 to 20 thank-you notes to employees at all levels of Campbell’s. It took about an hour each day. According to a 2014 piece in The Washington Post, he made time during commutes and while traveling. He had a staffer help him look for success stories he could praise. The notes were so appreciated that they were often hung in people’s offices or above their desks, Conant told BusinessWeek.

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“We’re trained to find things that are wrong, but I try to celebrate what’s right,” he told the magazine.

In 2010, Gallup did the engagement poll again, and found that 68 percent of Campbell employees said they are actively engaged. Only 3 percent said they are actively disengaged. This gives Campbell an engagement ratio of 23-to-1. For context, Gallup considers a 12-to-1 ratio world-class.

Network to get work

“I approach business the same way my father has done for many years. He was a banker, and he made his way through life really connecting to people.”

That’s a quote from one of my favorite salesmen. His name is Patrick Blanchard. Full disclosure: He’s a good friend and was formerly the director of emerging opportunities at Nebo. He’s a real mensch.

For Patrick, networking is part of the gig, but that doesn’t mean it’s disingenuous. The thank-you-for-your-business email is pretty standard, but Patrick also sends thank-yous when he doesn’t win business—and those are the important thank-yous.

When you don’t win business, that’s when the journey begins, Patrick says. After an unsuccessful RFP, he’ll write to thank the company for their time and the opportunity to present. He’ll address the recipient by their first name, because if you’re not on a first-name basis by that point, there probably isn’t much of a relationship to build upon.

“Ninety percent of people don’t respond,” Patrick says. Down the road those relationships—even with the ones who don’t respond—can yield referrals, speaking engagements, new hires and maybe even friendships.

For handwritten thank-you notes, Patrick recommends no more than three sentences. The card should not be full of text. Don’t worry about your sloppy handwriting, but be cautious of your spelling and grammar.

Another great thing about a handwritten note is that it doesn’t require anything of the recipient. They don’t have to think of a kind way to say thank-you-for-saying-thank-you. It provides closure to all parties involved.

President George H.W. Bush was a big thank-you note guy. Some say it helped him advance his career. He wrote thank-yous to world leaders, politicians, and celebrities, but he also wrote thank-you notes to everyday people.

You never know who will affect your career and how. Be kind to everyone. Thank everyone. People appreciate it. There’s a fine line, though, between gratitude and toadying.

How do you ensure your thank-you notes fall on the side of the good guys? Make yourself feel genuine gratitude. For help on that, we’ll look to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

A gratitude adjustment

In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg wrote one thank-you note every day, via email or handwritten letter. It was a kind of personal challenge for the young billionaire. He expounded on it in a January 2014 interview with Bloomberg Businessweek:

It’s important for me, because I’m a really critical person. I always kind of see how I want to make things better, and I’m generally not happy with how things are, or the level of service that we’re providing for people, or the quality of the teams that we built. But if you look at this objectively, we’re doing so well on so many of these things. I think it’s important to have gratitude for that.

Saying “thank you” requires taking a moment to acknowledge the great work being done around you. Not everything needs fixing—and once you get that, you become a better manager, leader and person.

Hopefully, thank-you notes make the recipient feel good, but it’s a meaningful exercise for the writer as well. Quid pro quo aside, write thank-you notes to practice empathy, humility and joy.

It’s good for business, and it’s probably good for you, too.

Drew Grossman is a copywriter at Nebo. A version of this article originally appeared on iMediaConnection.com.
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How to Use Facebook Notes for Marketing

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social media toolsDo you want to publish longer posts on Facebook?

Have you tried Facebook Notes?

Facebook Notes now lets profile owners add a cover image, format text and resize photos, then share their notes with anyone.

In this article you’ll discover how to create Facebook Notes and use them in your marketing mix.

use facebook notes for marketing

Discover how to use Facebook Notes for marketing.

How to Use Facebook Notes for Marketing

Facebook recently updated their Notes feature for personal profiles, so content creators are able to share long-form content. Facebook pages also have the option to add Notes, although the interface for pages has not yet been updated.

Whether you market from a personal profile or a business page, there are a lot of great ways to use Facebook Notes.

For instance, write a note that summarizes your latest blog post. Link the note to the original post to drive traffic back to your website. Another option is to create a note with supplementary content. Link the blog post to your note and vice versa.

Use notes to communicate with current and potential customers. Post a Facebook note as an extended bio about yourself or your business. Create a note to introduce a new product or service, and link it to the landing page on your website for that product or service.

facebook note from robert scoble profile

Robert Scoble uses Notes to promote new products and features from Rackspace, and to drive traffic to the company blog.

Also, post notes to inform your fans of important news about your business or industry, as well as update customers on a current situation or crisis your business is handling.

Plus, create notes to share additional details about current Facebook contests or promotions. You may also want to write a Facebook note to recognize your top Facebook fans or customers.

Before you decide to use Facebook Notes in lieu of a blog on your website, there are some important points to consider.

First, you never know when Facebook may change its mind and take out the Notes app, in which case you could lose a lot of content. Even if you could back up the notes, you’d still lose all of the engagement.

Second, all of the benefits of your content marketing (traffic, backlinks, social shares, etc.) would be directed to Facebook instead of your website.

Third, there is no way to customize. On your blog, you can use your website’s main menu, sidebar, post footers and pop-ups to get people to opt into your mailing list, submit contact forms and purchase products. With a Facebook note, you only have the option to include a text link back to your website and hope people click through.

Here’s how to create your own Facebook Notes on profiles and business pages.

Create Notes on Facebook Profiles

To access Facebook Notes on your personal profile, click on the More link beneath your personal profile cover photo.

facebook profile dropdown menu

Click the More drop-down to manage your profile sections.

If you don’t see Notes in this list, you will need to click on the Manage Sections option. There, you will be able to check the box next to Notes to activate the feature on your profile.

facebook profile manage sections feature

Select Manage Sections and check Notes to activate the feature on your personal profile.

Once activated, Facebook Notes will appear in your More drop-down.

facebook profile dropdown showing notes option

After you activate the section, Facebook Notes will appear in your personal profile menu.

To create a new note for your Facebook personal profile, click on the + Add Note button at the top right of the Notes interface.

facebook profile add notes option

Use the + Add Note button to add a new note to your Facebook personal profile.

This will bring up the new Facebook Notes Editor.

facebook profile notes editor

When you add a note, Facebook redirects you to the Notes Editor.

Using this editor, add a header photo for your note, edit the title, write text and insert photos. Hover over the lines icon, which will pop up to the left of your cursor, to access formatting elements for the body of the note.

facebook profile notes editor formatting menu

Hover your mouse over the lines icon to the left of your cursor to access formatting elements.

Highlight specific text to access additional options.

facebook profile notes editor formatting text

Highlight text and receive additional formatting options.

At the bottom of the Notes Editor, there’s the option to delete your note, update the privacy settings, save the note as a draft or publish it.

facebook profile notes publish options

Actions for your note are at the bottom of the note editor.

Once you publish your note, an update will be added to your timeline, and will be shown to your connections in the news feed, based on your privacy settings. Your note will also appear in the Notes box in your personal profile’s left sidebar.

published facebook profile note

Your published note will appear in the news feed and be accessible from the left sidebar.

Edit your note at any time. Just click on the Edit Note button on the top right of your note.

published facebook profile note

To edit the published version of your note, click on Edit in the top right.

Friends will be able to like, comment and share your note from the news feed update or on the note itself.

published facebook profile note

Like, comment on and share the note.

Set your note’s privacy to public, like this one, and share the link with anyone. Even those who are not logged into Facebook will be able to read it.

Manage Existing Notes

If you created notes in the past on your personal profile, or if people created notes and tagged you in them, they will also appear in the left sidebar of your personal profile.

published facebook profile notes in sidebar

Actual Facebook notes appear in the left sidebar of your personal profile.

To access the Notes interface, either click on Notes in your profile menu or in the left sidebar. From there, you will be able to manage the notes you have created and those where you have been tagged.

If you’d like to remove a tag or hide a tagged note from your personal profile, click on the note and select the appropriate option.

published facebook profile notes tag management

Manage tagged notes for your personal profile.

Keep in mind that once you hide the notes from your timeline or remove your tag, you will not be able to access them again from your profile.

Create Notes on Facebook Pages

You can create notes for your Facebook pages; however, they still use the old Notes interface.

notes on a facebook page

Notes on Facebook pages still use the old interface.

To access your page’s notes, go to the page settings. Click on the Apps link in the left sidebar. Then add the Notes app.

add notes feature to a facebook page

Go to App Settings to add the Notes feature to your Facebook business page.

Notes will move up to the Added Apps section. Click on the Go to App link to access your page notes.

notes feature added to a facebook page

Facebook Notes will appear in Added Apps after you add it. Click Go to App to access Notes.

You will see any notes you’ve published, as well as drafts you’ve saved, in the Notes interface. To add a new note, click the + Write Note button.

notes feature interface

On the Notes interface for pages, view published and draft notes or write a new note.

There are a few differences between the Notes Editor for personal profiles and business pages. For instance, the pages editor does not allow a cover photo, centered image captions or header tags.

To add links you must use the full URL or HTML code. When you upload photos beneath the note, they are represented by a snippet of code within the text.

adding a note to a business page

The Notes interface for Facebook pages looks different than the one for your profile. Links must be added as code or with the full URL, and images are uploaded below the text.

Your note will look different once published.

note published to a business page

Your published note will have the option to edit.

Like notes published on your personal profile, you’ll get a URL to share the note with others. However, there is no privacy option for pages, so all notes can be viewed publicly.

While the Notes interface for pages is less modern and has fewer editing options than the interface for personal profiles, it produces similar results.

Plus, pages have the added bonus of an RSS feed for their notes.

In Conclusion

Notes are easy to create and look nice in your Facebook feed. There are lots of great ways you can use Facebook notes on your personal profile and business page for Facebook marketing.

Need inspiration? Visit the Notes news feed to see the latest notes your friends have published. To find notes that have been indexed by Google, do a Google search for a specific keyword along with site:facebook.com/notes/.

What do you think? Do you use Facebook notes on your personal profile or page? What has been your experience? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

how to use facebook notes for marketing

Tips for using Facebook Notes for marketing.

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