Social media has become an incredibly powerful tool for communication, marketing… and activism. Just like any other tool, there are right ways and wrong ways to wield it. Examples of performative allyship and hashtags gone awry make it more evident than ever that those of us using social media for our businesses need to be aware of what messages we share and why.
With these new lights shining on old injustices, your business has the opportunity to play an important role in your greater community. You’ll want to make sure the messages you share with your followers are in line with the change you want to see in the world.
Know What Commitment You’re Making
Before posting content online, consider creating a mission statement that clearly articulates your commitment to equity and inclusion. You may not have a clear idea of what that commitment looks like, and now is a great time to get it down on paper. Then, let that statement be the starting point for your overall marketing strategy.
Share With Intention
Once you’ve established your mission and your strategy, you might discover other brands, companies, and individuals already in that conversation. At first it might seem like boosting their signals and reposting content is the best tactic. Yes… and it helps to take a moment to assess the impact of your actions. There are countless hashtags out there, for example, and it is nearly impossible to suss out the origin of every one.
First ask yourself: why are you opting to amplify that particular message? Why are you choosing to use that hashtag? Where does this content lie in relation to your company’s mission statement as well as your marketing strategy?
Keep It Simple, Specific, and Responsible
You cannot control what your followers do with the information you share. That’s just the truth. The burden of responsibility about the intent and desired impact of our content lies with us as marketers and content creators. If you have a specific message you want out there, state it plainly.
Be specific with your asks as well. Simple “like and share” or “type YES if you agree” requests are insignificant (not to mention the type of engagement likely to mark your content as spam). If you ask folks to share your content, also suggest they share the written content that accompanies your visuals. Your intended message is less likely to get lost in the shuffle.
Keep Calm and Be Ready to Learn
If something you share does go sideways, it can be a real source of stress. You might even be afraid to post anything, because you’re afraid you’ll get it wrong. Instead, take some deep breaths and take this as an opportunity to learn, and to fine-tune your public statements.
Keep tabs on your shares and reposts, too. By following through with the folks who engage with your feeds, you’ll likely see when and where your content gets shared. If you see that someone muddled your messaging, that’s your chance to step in and clarify!
Extend The Online Work Into Your Offline World
There are benefits and necessities to staying engaged, but, realistically, we know you can’t catch every comment and repost. That’s okay! The work you show on social media should not be the end-all be-all of your commitment to anti-racism and social justice. Remember to focus on your offline efforts as well. We have a lot of work to do, and we don’t always have to “show our work” online. Stay locked in to the real goal: creating a more equitable, just world for everyone.