To say that the atmosphere these days is "charged" is an understatement; from mask-wearing to our personal experience with race...the digital marketing space often feels like a minefield.
I shared tips on creating peaceful posts during this chaotic time in a previous blog. This time I want to back up and address how to stay active on social media while making sure you're not endangering your business. Here are your choices:
1. Be the "Light" Newsfeed
This option is the closest to what I was referring to in my previous blog. As a colleague of mine once told me, "You don't always want to serve vegetables when it comes to your content." There are many people out there who are skimming through their social media platforms, looking for ANYTHING that might give them a mental and emotional break. Recipes, inspirational quotes, articles about self-care, how to make the most of family time during this quarantine...these are all great topics to address.
But even the most G-rated newsfeed will come with some risk these days. Some people might look at what you're posting and wonder if you're out-of-touch or insensitive to what's going on; if that's something you're worried about then keep that in mind as you're finding and/or creating content. For example, a post about self-care could say something like, "During these difficult times I've found these tips to be helpful." You're acknowledging that people are on edge without fully engaging with the problem.
2. Address the Situation Broadly
If you and/or your business have always had a mission to help others, this is a great time to share that - along with tips on how your audience can as well. This middle-of-the-road approach allows you to acknowledge that you know there are issues (boy, are there issues!) without putting yourself in the position of engaging in what could turn into a social media debate. Look for articles or write about topics that don't necessarily take a side, but offer solutions that might bring people together especially within your immediate community.
Think outside the box on how you can help others through your business as well. You might offer to host a free virtual seminar offering financial education to help people who have been laid off. Maybe get in touch with youth minority organizations in your community and ask how you might be able to help kids understand more about money to get them off on the right foot and post about what you're doing. Again, in this case you're not broadcasting your opinion - you're focusing on what can be done in the community and then educating others through your social media.
3. Use Your Voice
This option is the one you need to be the most careful about. We ALL have opinions on politics, race relations, sexism, and whether or not COVID-19 is as serious as the media says it is. And it's often difficult to watch others engage in debates throughout social media without stepping in with your thoughts.
Now, I completely understand if this is a debate you WANT to engage in. If you've been a woman, a person of color, or have experienced discrimination in your industry in any way...you often want to share your experience, opinion, and solution. And if this is something you feel called to do...do it. Just be aware of the following:
You need to be prepared to possibly lose business, even with people who agree with you. As entertainers often find out...people want them in a certain box and they don't want to hear what they think. Even if someone agrees with your stance, they might not agree that you posted it.
You MUST know your ideal client. If your goal is to connect with and serve more women of color then discussing the issues they face could be the best thing you could do for your business. But if a fraction of the people you serve are men, know that what you're saying could turn them off.
Be conscious of the platform you're posting on. Generally, Facebook and Twitter are kind of a free-for-all and LinkedIn is more business-to-business. While I've seen more people posting things that I would have thought belonged on Facebook on their LinkedIn platform, I would encourage you to post more business-related things about your topic on LinkedIn. It just makes it look like you're fully aware of what you're doing.
KEEP THIS IN MIND
You don't have to choose one or the other. I, personally, aim more for the first option and flow into the second occasionally. I have learned over the years through my business, personal, grief, and author social media pages to never engage people on hot topics. Some people might find that weak, but I choose to think that people come to those pages for relief from current issues.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: If you're choosing options 1 or 2, you need to follow through with those on your personal pages as well - especially Facebook. Always keep in mind that once it goes on the internet, it stays on the internet; I don't care what Facebook's privacy policies say - assume EVERYTHING YOU POST IS ACCESSIBLE TO ANYONE. Also be aware if you're friends with or connected to clients on your personal page. You might be G-rated on your business page, but one good rant (and some damaging word-of-mouth) on your personal page can undo all you've done.
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