61% of social media users say they believe brands should acknowledge moments of crisis in their advertising and communications when they are occurring. This means businesses can no longer afford to keep quiet about their values. Especially when 63% of people say they buy and advocate for brands based on values and beliefs. In recent years, social media has become a powerful tool for building and maintaining social justice movements. This online advocacy can be called social media activism, which is most commonly seen through the form of hashtags, posts, and campaigns. True social media activism, however, will go beyond just a screen.
“Genuine social media activism is supported by concrete actions, donations, or measurable commitments to change”(Social Media Activism in 2023: How to Go Beyond the Hashtag) People have become more aware than ever of a brands intentions online. They seek authenticity and are quick to call out brand when they feel they aren’t getting it. If brands are not making an effort offline to support their public views, consumers may be put off by their performative activism.
Here are steps you will want to take to ensure your brand is genuine with its social media activism.
Read the Room
While consumers expect to see their favorite brands address social justice movements, it’s important to be tactful with your messaging and timing. Pause your upcoming post schedule and evaluate your recent posts. Make sure that what you have already posted does not conflict with the position you are about to take. Having a clear and consistent stance on an issue will make your messaging feel more genuine.
Actions Speak Louder
Transparency is key in a social media activism campaign. If you have made a mistake, or failed to live up to your beliefs, be honest. Always be the first to admit your faults and come up with a proactive plan to reach your goals. Share with your audience what actions are taking to support your stance and create a company culture that aligns with your views. This may involve evaluating your own team and business practices and finding ways to move in the direction your brand is advocating.
Everyone Deserves a Spot at the Table
You can’t un-ring a bell, so it’s important to be aware and prepared for what will follow once you have made your brands values clear. Know that not everyone will agree with your brands values and beliefs, but remember everyone deserves a seat at the table.
Prepare your team for feedback both positive and negative and know how or if you will respond to each. Make sure you have established what types of language you will tolerate and which you chose to delete or block.
Each of these tips are good to remember the next time your brand chooses to support a cause, but remember what makes a social media activism campaign genuine is the intention behind it. Social movements are not marketing or sales opportunities, and consumers are savvy enough to see through any brand that appears to be motivated by anything other than good faith.
If you are looking to connect with your audience in meaningful ways, then connecting with a PR firm like Sammis|Ochoa is a great place to start! Contact us through our website or send us a message on our social media.
By: Jocelyn Sandoval
Sammis|Ochoa is San Antonio’s fastest-growing public relations and digital marketing agency. The firm is headquartered in San Antonio and serves clients in Austin, Houston and San Antonio. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 210.390.4284 to amp up your PR game!