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Sensitive issues on social media; brand activism

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When it comes to posting about sensitive issues on social media, many entrepreneurs ask themselves this question: “Should I post my political or social beliefs?” Yet, 63% of consumers say they prefer a company that stands behind their values and takes a stand. So, why not show the world what matters most to your business and you in life?

You may not naturally think of social media as the place to talk about sensitive topics, especially if you’re trying to market your business and sell products or services. Therefore, it probably crossed your mind that people could disagree with your viewpoint and not buy from you as a result, or maybe you don’t know how to address an issue or if the issue is close enough to you to post about it as a brand/business.

We will discuss five best practices for dealing with sensitive issues on social media as a business.

  1. Ask the right questions! Should you post?
  2. Know the purpose of your post
  3. Use reliable sources
  4. Adjust your content refine your tone
  5. Create guidelines for your brand/business

1. Should you post?

What’s the purpose? Are you trying to do good, or are you trying to jump on the bandwagon? Do not remain silent or neutral if you’re trying to do good.

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people”

MARTIN LUTHER KING.

If you think silence is better than sharing an opinion, you should rethink that. Silence can be damaging to your business too. Also, consumers want brands to stand up.

A global study reveals that when consumers think a brand has a strong Purpose, they are:   

“A brand’s mission and purpose plays a huge part in who you repeatedly buy from and choose to align with.” Explains Envato Brand Designer, Sophie Dunn.

2. Know the purpose of your post – State Your Reasons for Speaking up

Ensure your message is unambiguous – more importantly before creating, consider what your objective is. E.G. are you posting to increase awareness? Do you want to fight against discrimination or inequality? Or do you want to show compassion? Maybe you want to activate or inspire your audience? Whatever it is, state your reasons for speaking up; do it loud and clear.

Brand activism is a useful strategy, and is by no means a passing trend. Yet, do ask yourself; Are you posting this because you want to sell or because you care, or both? Is this topic relevant or related to you as a brand/person/business? Are there people in your audience related/affected by the issue? Are there people in your audience who can learn more about the issue? Consider all of these questions.

However, since silence is not an option, you need to read and educate yourself before sharing with others. Mind that your business values align with supporting the people involved and don’t cause harm to the social movements you intend to uplift.

3. Use Reliable Sources of Information

Look for organisations that offer support to the ones involved. Above all, fact-check information before you post it. Assess the reliability of a source by checking the following criteria; Accuracy, Currency, Relevance, Authority, and Purpose: the reason the information exists.

It’s okay to use content from others as long as you ask and share the original author/creator. Also, if you got inspired by someone’s content, mention them. For example, I got my inspiration for this blog from an IG post by @alliemason.is.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

4. Adjust content / Refine Your Brand’s Tone

Are you not involved closely? Then, make sure you look to uplift and amplify the voices of the people involved. In other words, think about responses, but passing the mic (if you have a good following) is more considerate and helpful rather than sharing your compassion. It’s not about you, so don’t make it about you. Eventually, it won’t be sincere if your words don’t match your actions. (because it’s not authentic, you can be woke-washing, green-washing, pink-washing, guilty of white saviourism, etc.) Do the work outside of social media too, donate if you can, support wherever you can.

Be considerate. Maybe, you could consider a trigger warning for specific sensitive topics, your audience may be used to posts of a sensitive nature, but not everyone is. Moreover, mind that depending on the region, some issues are more open for discussion than others, that doesn’t mean you don’t discuss them, of course, but consider the tone.

Do you feel like your regular content doesn’t fit in? It’s okay to reschedule planned evergreen content. There’s a time and place for everything, and if it’s not time-sensitive, it can always wait.

5. Create Community Guidelines & Belief Statements

Make sure that you create a safe space. A safe space requires moderating comments on posts about sensitive topics. Additionally, you can develop guidelines and belief statements, E.G., Belief statement: We believe violence is not the answer to solving violence / Community Guideline: Calls for violence are never tolerated. You can use these in your community management to ensure you have the correct answers ready at all times.

Do you need help creating a community management strategy that covers how to deal sensitive topcis related to your business/brand? Reach out

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