Let me start by saying up front, I don’t have all the answers. And when it comes to issues of racial or gender inequality, I’m a privileged white man who can barely understand what other people face every day. As I write this on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the end of May, America is rocked deep inside by incredibly conflicting and violent issues – the roots of which have lasted far too long.
It’s sad and terrifying that as a species it often takes such dramatic and terrible events to wake us from our complacency. I can only hope that the events of 2020 have been so traumatic and impactful that the company will make tremendous progress.
What I can tell you is that, personally, I have a renewed conviction. Previously, I have largely focused my attention on inequalities in the social media space – within the industry I know best. I published on the inequality of event speakers and promoted Women and People of Color (POC) on my social channels. But that is not enough. I need to do more.
As I spent the weekend reading and thinking about how I could be more helpful, several ideas started to emerge, along with immediate actions I needed to take.
So this is going to read more like a checklist of what I’ve done before, rather than what you need to do. I’m not going to try and tell other brands and business owners how to manage their social media right now. In a world where businesses have been closed for months only for protests to march past their doors just as they are about to reopen, who am I to tell you what to say on social media?
In fact, the only thing I will advocate, the approach I would like us all to take more on social media, is to be patient, especially with the small business owners who do all of this and are already overwhelmed. Please, before you judge another account’s social media activity and think it should or shouldn’t be doing something, be patient. Give them a little grace and consider reaching out and asking how they are doing.
Having said that, what I want to share with you is the thought process and series of actions that I went through in coming to the conclusion that changes needed to be made. While everything I’m about to share applies to my personal social media profiles – especially Twitter – note that most of my social media use, even on my personal channels, is for business purposes. . So, you can consider your own brand by reading this and know that my approach and my thinking was entirely from a business point of view.
I will also come back here from time to time with updates on how my perspective may have changed or anything that I have offered or suggested to do.
First, pause everything
I use and I like Agorapulse. I’ve been a passionate fan and ambassador since 2016 and an employee since 2018, and I love some of the automation capabilities the tool offers. But today I was more grateful for the ease with which I could stop everything.
You see, the very first thing any social media manager needs to consider when something terrible has happened, a crisis, is how and what to stop. Facebook posts, tweets, uploaded videos, advertisements… all that social media activity goes out and sends a message right in the middle of someone else’s crisis. So the question you need to ask yourself is:
Will my content be enjoyed now? Will my clients feel helped and heard?
And since you may have a lot to do, the easy first step is to pause everything.
In Agorapulse, I use queues to share my content so that I can control what certain types of content come out and how often, and luckily each queue has a Pause button that I can even access. in the mobile application. It took me 2 minutes to log in, go through my profiles and make sure all my queues were paused.
I then opened my Facebook Ads app and made sure my ads were also paused. Now, if time permits, it’s best to review the ads and only pause the ones that need to be paused, as disrupting the ads can reduce their effectiveness. But it was an easy call from me. And, again, something that I was able to get from my smart phone with the proper apps installed.
A quick checklist to go through:
- Automated social media planner like Agorapulse, all channels
- Natively programmed messages for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest advertising campaigns
- IFTTT, Zapier, WordPress or other automated social media posting tools
- Triberr, Viral Content Bee, Quuu or other automated reciprocal sharing site
Second, consider your message
Once you’ve paused or stopped all public activity, you’ve given yourself the opportunity to reflect on your next steps.
Since the issue was large enough to grab your attention and cause you to take a break from your business, it’s likely that what you say on social media in the future will need to be changed or adjusted to suit the circumstances.
During the pandemic and lockdowns, it was essential that brands were sensitive to what their audience was going through, even as they struggled.
In this case, I personally didn’t feel good about sharing evergreen blog posts on social media like I usually do, especially on Twitter. In fact, as tensions erupted across the country, my family and I were on our way to pick up a new puppy – something we had been planning and saving for months. It was really weird that night to share pictures of puppies on Facebook and elsewhere, but I knew a lot of my friends and family wanted to see this cute furball, and I was also hoping that a little puppy adorable could make people smile for a while.
But after that I made drastic changes.
I stopped all posting on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, then spent a lot of time on Twitter reading other people’s posts, following new sources of information, and amplifying posts that I think , were to be heard now.
During these first hours of activity, I learned and decided a lot of things. Foremost among them was how ignorant I really am when it comes to these and many other questions, so becoming more informed and aware became a priority. But I also decided what my personal message would be: to share, amplify and help in the way that works best for me.
Like this post.
I have experience and expertise in social media and communication so this is one way I can help you right now. I can help others know what to do today. Likewise, when I spoke to our social media manager at Agorapulse, we came to the exact same conclusion. The best thing Agorapulse can do today is help other social media managers figure out what to do.
I also took the time to think about my profile picture, cover photo, bio, and other aspects of my profile. While I haven’t found it necessary to make any changes yet, that may change. It is definitely worth considering the message you send with your profile, if any, which might be taken differently today than expected.
This is the part I struggle with the most. It might just be me, but it isn’t clear what exactly to do in a crisis situation.
Should I walk with the others and protest? Should I call my government representatives? Should I fill my social media planner with motivational quotes?
This is certainly where I am still a work in progress, but what I have decided for now is, as I said, to amplify the messages that need to be heard, and to work to help others. in any way possible, using the freebies and platform given to me.
I think this is an important point for my social media marketing friends and influencer brands to take into account – if you’ve been social media for a while, you have undoubtedly created one or more successful profiles with a beautiful suite. You have established a platform on which you can stand and be heard.
For me Twitter is my best platform, along with this blog, so I’m using this platform more than ever to help be a voice for change, starting with this article. It’s on Twitter that I have the most subscribers, yes, but as a network, it’s also the most conducive to this kind of talk. I can follow and amplify whoever I want, and those who follow me can share my posts easily and amplify them further.
So I created a new queue in Agorapulse and quickly put together a week of posts that I thought people – especially social media managers – would need to hear now. And I am committed to taking time every day to work on listening, sharing and learning. I drop my social media planner with kind, useful and ingenious information.
What will you do? What will you do differently? Where are you going to stand up and be a voice?
Many others are not so blessed. We see people protesting because they don’t have the platform that we have. By joining with others they create their own platform and I can’t help but respect and applaud that.
By combining my voice with others on Twitter, I believe that together we can all help raise awareness of issues and contribute to change. If hundreds and thousands of us are sharing messages of positivity alongside pictures of what is really going on in society, other people who were not aware or unaware of the truth can see it and come and contribute. themselves to change.
This has been my approach to social media in crisis. I stop everything, I think about what I need to change, then I act on those ideas. I am humble enough to admit that I am not always right. There may be those who do not agree with this approach or who do not agree with the resulting action, and this is quite normal.
What’s important, especially with issues like this, is that we talk more. And one of the things that has been made clear to me, particularly about the racial divide, is that people like me have been silent for too long. So I encourage you to take the time you need to learn and grow, and then speak up and express yourself.