Author, screenwriter and producer Nora Ephron (1941 – 2012) was an astute observer of modern life during a period when human roles changed, particularly those of women. While Ephron always left us smiling with her romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, she taught us to see our relationships and more broadly our lives from a different perspective. It’s this insight into own lives that informs the power of social media from a personal and marketing point of view.
Ephron’s sharp insights touch deeper threads from which marketers in general and social media practitioners specifically can learn. Here are seven of her gems and the social media lessons they hold for us.
- “I don’t think any day is worth living without thinking about what you’re going to eat next at all times.” While social media plays an important role in people’s lives and consumes roughly one out of every five minutes online, understand that real life including eating is more important! As marketers, you must remember that social media isn’t about you. While your number one goal is to sell your widgets, your customers and the public are more concerned with their private lives. In fact, most social media participants are on these platforms to enhance their personal lives (and food plays an important role in commentary and photographs.)
- “My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have to potential to be the comic stories the next.” The same can happen for your prospects, customers and the public. The wrong they perceive you committed can become the core of their social media actions against you and related negative comments. To this end, it’s critical to treat others with respect and dignity and consider social media’s social responsibility.
- “The image of the journalist as wallflower at the orgy has been replaced by the journalist as the life of the party.” From Wallflower at the Orgy. With the increase use of social media as a means of delivering the news, being part of the conversation, puts this quote in context.
- “The Senior Moment has become the Google moment, and it has a much nicer, hipper, younger, more contemporary sound, doesn’t it? By handling the obligations of the search mechanism, you almost prove you can keep up….” From I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections. With the proliferation of the ways to gather information, people have developed different methods to ensure they feel comfortable with the results they get. In addition to trusting Google, you can ask your friends across social media networks for their input or trust the wisdom of the masses who are complete strangers.
- “And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.” From Heartburn. On social media, you can dream big. While it’s critical to be transparent, you can create a version of yourself that enables you to reach new heights. There are caveats: You must remember that there are real people behind their social media avatars who may have a different reality that they’re living.
- “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” While you may not have control over life’s curve balls, you can control your response. Similarly on social media platforms, you may not be able foresee how friends, colleagues and the public will react but you can control how you respond. You can be transparent and honest in your interactions while adding to the larger conversation.
- “I’ll have what she’s having” From When Harry Met Sally. This classic scene in the Carnegie Deli, underscores what direct marketers have known for years. Customers don’t take your word for how good something is. They believe other customers. It’s comments on your site, your competitors’ sites, third party sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor and the granddaddy of online reviews, Amazon.
Take inspiration from Nora Ephron to build your own identity on social media platforms without forgetting about living your life in the real world. Along the way, take time to pay attention to what other people are saying and understand life.
What Nora Ephron piece, book or movie delights you the most and what social media lesson does it hold?
In loving memory of Nora Ephron who made us look at life and laugh.
Here are some related articles you may find of interest.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone/4571560585/