Nix April Fool’s and Shower April Kindness Instead

Nearly a year ago Fitbit announced “Fitbit SoleMate,” its first-ever dating app for people who love to walk. Petco introduced a salon that would have given you a make-over that matched your pet’s. That was also about the time Stephen King announced he was running for governor of Maine. If that news prompted you to plan a trip to the Pine Tree State, you might have pulled up Google Maps. Before you plotted your route, however, you probably spent some time searching for Waldo on the Where’s Waldo inspired maps.

Yes. You’re right. April Fools!

Brands have turned April 1st into a fun, sassy day of clever marketing stunts. While some brands manage to pull off pranks worthy of the high volume of internet chatter they garner, others fall short. Worse, some alienate their customer base by attempting pranks that miss the mark. While the rest of the business community is trying to find the right balance between mischief and mayhem, why not try something different altogether? Instead of April Fools, I invite you to join me in making the first of the month, #AprilKindnessDay.

Pick Up the Phone

In a day and age where we freely communicate via text and email, an actual phone call is a rare commodity. We tend to reserve it for urgent and important conversations that just can’t be handled electronically. Go against the grain this April 1.

Pick up the phone and call your top clients and biggest partners/vendors. This isn’t a strategy call or an attempt to parlay some bit of business that you could just drop into an email. This is simply a call to say “Thank you. I value your business/partnership.” If you want to kick things up a notch for your partners and vendors, call your contact’s boss and let her know how much you value your professional relationship with your primary contact! (That call you can back up with an email. The written reiteration of your message can be kept with your point of contact’s employee files.)

Get Social

It’s always nice to receive a compliment and the people you call will be grateful for your kind words. Pump up the volume on the appreciation by taking it social! Has your mentor written a book? Find the title on online resellers and review sites like Goodreads and leave a glowing review. Hop on over to Yelp! and review your client’s café. You’re not done yet! Find more vendors’ Facebook pages and leave reviews there too. Swing on to LinkedIn and recommend some of your favorite business contacts, too.

Reviews, of course, are just one way you can use social media to shower some April love around. Pick a client or vendor blog and share an article on LinkedIn. Show a little love to that caterer who made your last networking event a delicious success by tweeting about it and tagging him. Snap a photo of that beautiful necklace your mentee made and share it on Instagram with details of how folks can get in touch with the budding entrepreneur to buy their own.

Love Your Team, Too!

You’ve done a great job showing your appreciation to your clients and vendors. But don’t forget about your employees. Make an effort to speak with your team and let each member know how much value they bring to the table. Your business success rests on their shoulders. Let them know that you recognize this and that you appreciate it.

Want to offer a token of gratitude? It doesn’t have to cost you anything out of pocket. Send folks home a little earlier than usual. Take on a few of the less-fun daily tasks your team tackles so they can focus on the stuff they love. Roll-up your sleeves and clean the break room – even if that means scrubbing out the microwave and emptying the mystery contents of the fridge. Help your coworkers build their own professional network by introducing them to members of yours. Send a company-wide (or team-wide) email highlighting individual accomplishments and be specific! “Great job, Joe” isn’t nearly as good as “Three cheers for, Joe! His quick, innovative thinking not only saved the Acme account. It also led to additional, ongoing sales!”

Before you run off and start spreading the love around, l have something important to tell you. I value you! You are part of my success. You are why I do what I do, and I love you for it! Now, go out and appreciate your clients, vendors, and staff. Share it online and use the hashtag #AprilKindnessDay. Let’s make this a day of gratitude and support, and watch it take off like wildfire!