Everyone uses social media, but we don’t all use it the same way. Some of us use it for personal use, some of us use it to market our business or blog, and some use it to get our creative work out there and inspire others. Of course, using social media in any of these ways is not mutually exclusive, but they all present an opportunity that has not been available to us in such a wide spread way before now: using social media to advocate for change. Whether it’s for personal use or for business, we have an opportunity to create content that can inspire or change someone else’s life. This sounds big and scary, but it’s really not. Whatever it is you want to put out into the world, here are some tips for advocating for change on social media.
Keep It Positive
We are so bombarded by all types of content on the Internet. As a social media marketer, I can tell you just how much negative content is created around social media…like “10 reasons why people aren’t following you,” “11 things you should stop doing on social media,” and “the 4 big don’ts of social media marketing.” Don’t, should, stop, wrong, etc. are constantly being thrown around. This doesn’t just go for marketing either. It goes for a lot of industries. It’s not that the content isn’t useful, it’s that it’s being presented in a way that plays on people’s insecurities. People don’t want to be failing, they don’t want to be wrong, and they want to know what they shouldn’t be doing. At the same time, the language encourages people to get really down on themselves. If you want to create change, it’s so important to reframe your content in a positive light. Change your “should” to “could”, your “wrongs” to “improve,” and your “stops” to “starts.” Getting rid of that negative language reframes your content in a way that builds your reader/client up rather than tearing them down. Always think twice about the language you are using and build an environment for positivity to thrive (because that’s the foundation of creating change in a bigger way). Spread good and bloom, right?
Social media makes it really easy to strive for perfection and curate to the point that it appears everything is perfect. We have to remember: nothing is perfect and our world is messy. Running a business is messy, figuring out what you want in life is messy, and creative process is messy. So talk openly about the messiness. We don’t need to share everything, but some of it can be shared. Sharing opens up conversations about issues that we are all dealing with. This fuels an honest and open environment. One that will allow for difficult conversations to be had, and an environment in which we can all learn and inspire each other. Imperfection is not something to be ashamed of. It’s something we all have in common and it connects us.
Social media makes it really easy to strive for perfection and curate to the point that it appears everything is perfect. We have to remember: nothing is perfect and our world is messy. Running a business is messy, figuring out what you want in life is messy, and creative process is messy. So talk openly about the messiness.
Say it out loud
Say the hard things out loud. Say it out loud, say it out loud, say it out loud. I cannot reiterate this enough. I use the negative things I see marketers do to fuel conversations with my followers. If you read something and it makes you feel bad there are other people it makes feel bad, too. If you see something that isn’t right, you can start a conversation and put the spotlight on an issue. When you say it loud, you are giving others courage to do the same. We all need that courage to advocate for change. It’s easy to sit back and let someone else do it, but when you lead the conversation we all gain a little more courage to do the same.
Every Post Counts
When we think about advocating for change it feels big and scary, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s not something we have to tackle all at once, and it’s not something we have to scream from the rooftops. We can start movements and change perspectives one post at a time. We can choose to reframe our blog posts from negative to positive. We can choose to use every single pixel of that square on Instagram to start a conversation or make someone’s day. We can tweet an article that addresses the issue we are tackling. We can start a Facebook community that allows for open and positive interactions. Not everything needs to be a big, loud revolution. We can make the decision every day to do something small. After all, it all counts and it all builds, and it will make a big difference in the long run. Social media has given us a platform to create and post content that can change someone’s day, educate them, and give them a new perspective. Why not use that opportunity to it’s fullest?
Create an experience for people. Disrupt their routine and make them stop and think about something bigger. One of my favorite people to follow on Instagram is Dallas Clayton , an illustrator that uses Instagram to spread positivity. There are a ton of issues in this world, but he has chosen to take negativity head on and use his talents to do so. He posts signs on telephone poles that say, “Stand here and think about someone you love.” He writes with chalk on the sidewalk with phrases like, “You and me against the idea of being against the world.” His tactic is not about preaching, or telling people what they should or shouldn’t being doing. It’s about bringing people together and creating an experience that disrupts their routine and makes them stop and think. Even if it’s just for a moment. And these “aha” moments that we can experience together ignite a fire in all of us.
What are you going to do today to ignite that fire in someone?
Photos by Emma Fineman