Social Media Epitaphs: When Final Words Are Necessary
Have you thought of what you might say to your idol if you bumped into them today? Or to that one crush you wished you had asked to the junior prom? You'd be worried about not having the time to say everything, afraid of leaving some important points out. You might be thinking how to arrange to see them again. But what if there was a person you met today that was one you didn't want to or think you would ever see again? Not a rival, enemy or anyone for who you viewed negatively, but a stranger or a business associate.
There is certainly no guarantee, but I met someone last week that I know I will never see again. We had pleasant conversation, but don't travel within the same circles, live somewhat far apart, and have no reason to connect again. Later I thought, Good or bad, I could have said whatever I wanted to this person with the knowledge that I would never have to explain it, redact it, or amend it. And that was empowering.
We are conditioned as marketers to think this way. Often, we have one chance to "say" something to a consumer or business. Even if we buy several spots, we've often got one impression in a TV or print ad so better make it good.
In social media, the objective is to start a dialogue. We build up to the point where we pitch or in some cases never try to close the deal at all but rather encourage sales and stay top of mind. But I'm not sure that's always the best decision where social media is concerned. If you knew going in that you had only one shot, how much of what you say in your post would change? If you knew this would be the only interaction you had with this contact, what words would you leave them with? It's what I call social media epitaphs.
Holidays, sporting events, big news items, to name a few; I believe there are some posting opportunities that are worthy of a "swing for the fences" moment. Don't try to be outrageous, shocking or insulting, just say something memorable with no eminent second chances. Before you make your next tweet or post, think as each post as if they were your brand's dying words.
As for me, I'm still friends with the gal I was too shy to ask to the prom and I see my idol every time I have dinner at my parents house. But the next person I meet, who I know I'll never see again, will hear exactly what I want to say at that moment. And they will remember it forever.