What Marketers Can Learn From Social Media Activism

Social Media Activism. Haven’t heard of this word yet? Well here is the formal introduction: Social media activism is the action of using social media to vigorously campaign in order to bring about social and/or political change. It has been quietly used as a strategic tactic over the past few years with causes such as KONY 2012, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and plenty more; however, it appears that we have seen an increased use of this latest marketing trend.

Marketing and Social Media Activism

So how does one social media activate? The first thing you want to do is to clearly identify and define the cause or stance your organization wants to make. Second, you then inform all stakeholders in your organization so your firm is activated before you reach out. Third, advocate on your social channels and reaffirm your commitment. People tend to gravitate towards companies that stand for something.

Once you’ve chosen the path you want to go down, you need to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Nothing is more destructive to a brand than to say you’re going to do something, and then do absolutely nothing about it.  Brands have gotten into muddy waters for not doing what they say they would and the results are not pretty.

Probably one of the best examples of social media activism we’ve seen this year would be the Women’s March on Washington back in January 2017 when hundreds of thousands of people attended the largest inauguration demonstration to date. ‘Sister’ marches all over the country and across the globe took place as well, all in support of equal rights for women and basic human rights for all. It was such a historic event but how did this all start? With a single Facebook post. A woman in Hawaii posted on Facebook one evening and by the next morning, thousands of women responded in support of this protest. And because of its huge success, it inspired the March for Science that was held on Earth Day in April 2017. This series of over 600 rallies and marches around the world were in support of scientific research and its importance to our society.

Be transparent, be authentic

Whether it is politically or environmentally related, raising awareness for a nonprofit, or whatever the case may be, you must be transparent and truly authentic. Do not support a cause because it is “trendy”; support it because you sincerely believe in its mission and the work being done to accomplish its goals. Because of this rise in social media activism and cause marketing, consumers are beginning to expect brands to be more socially conscious and take a strong stance on social issues. As a marketer, you naturally want to appeal to your consumers and feed them content that they value, but keep in mind the possible outcomes. Although some issues can inspire, be mindful that some topics can light a fire that can hurt.

The effects a single individual or a group of people can have are incredible. As marketers, harnessing that energy can be beneficial to your brand and most importantly, the cause you are campaigning for. With the current political climate, social media activism is a new form of marketing that many are embracing. The power of social media and the availability of information online has us connected with the lives of people from all around the world, and being so connected and emotionally exposed makes it hard not to voice our opinions. We’re not even halfway through 2017 and social activism is a light that is shining brightly.