Admittedly, I've been really bad about reading the news lately. In the weeks leading up to my wedding last Friday, I didn't read a single story on CNN or even take a peek at social media and, like a little coward, I'd avoid deep conversations about current events for fear of being found out!
But once the dust settled on Sunday morning, I decided to go through the barrage of Facebook messages my friends had posted about the wedding in an effort to piece together the evening (strikingly similar to the movie "The Hangover"). Interspersed with pictures and posts about the reception, I kept seeing the words "Me Too" in numerous status updates.
I passively wondered what it was about. "What did Donald Trump do this time?" I mumbled to myself. I didn't want to investigate just yet, it was my honeymoon after all. But as I kept scrolling down and seeing the statuses, it became crystal clear that people were talking about their experiences with sexual harassment. Some brief and very powerful stories were included and were met with overwhelming support.
Though I personally was living under a rock for the whole Harvey Weinstein revelation and do not follow Alyssa Milano on Twitter, I was swept up in the story just like the rest of the country by reading two small words: #metoo.
We can learn so much from this campaign about social media for sure, but also about communication in general. Here's why the hashtag is so powerful:
The words "me too" evoke a feeling of unity. Think of how many people kept their life-altering stories private until this campaign gave them a safe place to speak out and share their experiences. Two powerful words like "me too" can open the floodgates.
The important takeaway here for any awareness campaign is that people want to tell their stories. When you can unite an audience through the telling of a universal experience, you probably have the makings of a viral campaign.
It's two words. To be more precise, it's two one-syllable words that are very easy to say and understand.
Social media success depends on being able to write impactful messages briefly because your number of characters is limited. Also, people tend to mindlessly scroll through their news feeds and you need to capture their attention. #metoo is an excellent "hook."
Hooks are not specific to social media. We use them all the time in email marketing and PR pitching. In those two instances, it's crucial to keep your title catchy and brief because it's very likely that your reader will be viewing it on a mobile phone, where space is limited and word count is crucial.
It Piques Curiosity
As I said, I didn't read the news in the weeks leading up to the awareness campaign, but it caught my attention. And I'm certainly not the only one.
The words "me too" are just vague enough to make people read further - which is always our goal in written communication. Had they written something more on the nose like "#sexualharrassmentmuststop - it's not likely people would read further. They wouldn't need to because they'd know what it was about.
Communication that resonates is all about timing. Ever need to have a tough conversation with a friend or family member and you waited until the "right moment"? Social media is no different. #MeToo didn't happen immediately after the Harvey Weinstein story hit the presses - it happened days after famous actresses told their stories of sexual harassment.
If you're planning an awareness campaign or, heck, even a holiday marketing campaign, timing. Is. Everything.
#MeToo created a win/win situation by shedding light on sexual harassment and gave victims a safe forum to unify. When you are executing your own campaigns, figure out how you yourself will create a win/win. Or a win/win/win!