Using social media
What your business can do to make the internet better.
Kate Ware, BuzzPop Brands
19 March 2019
Last week, I deleted all the personal social media apps from my phone. In the wake of the New Zealand terror attacks, the internet didn’t feel like a very nice place to me to play.
Social media has been getting a bad rap; not just because of the way it amplified and facilitated the broadcast of the Christchurch attacks, but because we’re in the era of Trump, Cambridge Analytica, trolls that lead teens to suicide, ISIS, this list could go on and on… There are many dark places on the internet; social media channels that manifest and breed inexcusable concepts and behaviours, but it’s not always the mediums that are ‘bad’, it’s the ideas of the people populating them.
To be honest, there are times when I grapple with social media and the digital world myself (as demonstrated in the hasty deletion of my apps!). I can struggle with the notion of being ‘on’ all the time, the external validation through likes and comments that subliminally affects my mind, the filters we place on our lives that others compare to.
Taking time to reflect on the direction of your business and position of your brand is important.
When my eyes were first opened to the exciting, and very new, world of social media over 10 years ago, it was a completely different place (although, let’s be honest, given how fast it changes, the playing field will be completely different tomorrow too). Social media, particularly Twitter, was a great leveller. We could talk to anyone anywhere in the world and engage as equals. Conversation was two way and it was rife. Trolling? Well, it just wasn’t a thing yet.
Since then, there have been many evolutions of social media for the better (why, hello there Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook for Business and LinkedIn being used as an actual social networking platform and not just a digital repository for resumes!). And while they’ll probably never be perfect, there are ways we can make the social networks we use a better place for our businesses and the communities we are trying to reach there.
These are just some of the ways we can make social media better for everyone:
· Contribute in a positive way online; don’t create content for the sake of it; whatever you do on your socials should deliver true value to your community
· Converse. Yes, that’s right. Don’t just blast your content and then walk away. Begin and engage in conversations on your social media channels.
· Be constructive. It is possible to have conversations online where people disagree! In fact, it is important they take place! But make sure those conversations are had with a rational, open mind and constructive arguments. There is a distinct difference between disagreeing and trolling.
· Stand for something; be more than just a business offering a service or selling a product. Have a purpose that is greater than just you. Live and passionately advocate for that.
· Don’t be afraid to unfollow; that’s right. If it’s trash, turn it off! A business or brand does not have to follow someone because you did a long time ago or you think you should, especially if they no longer align with your values.
· Report content that is inappropriate or wrong. It’s easier to scroll past but if there is something you couldn’t walk past in real life then don’t scroll on by. Take the extra couple of seconds to report it.
We can all work to make the internet better and social media a safer and more positive place to be. Remember: small actions contribute to big change.
And if you’re left wondering how the social media strategist can get by without personal social media apps? They’ll be back soon enough… How else will I validate my holiday snaps and new sartorial choices?
Kate Ware is a Melbourne-based social media strategist and founder of BuzzPop Brands.
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