There’s a certain kind of envy, pride, and admiration for companies that can take a stand on controversial political and social issues. Despite this being the 21st century, LGBT rights are still divisive. People come from different ends of the spectrum when we talk about equality and fairness. In the past year, we’ve seen businesses take a stand against and for the issue of racism in the United States. Companies like Macy’s decided to go all-in and take a stand. Sure, there is a backlash, but there is also a whole new appreciation for establishments that remained true to their core values.
When it comes to social media strategies, you don’t have to take a stand on every issue that crops up. You need to first determine who you are as a company and what you stand for before publicizing what you think of certain issues and problems. Taking a stand on controversial topics will risk losing customers. Is that something your business is ready for?
In the past, consumers want brands to shut up and do their thing. But they have a different mindset now. Consumers are more conscious than ever before of the brands they support and what it might mean to the causes they advocate. More than 70% of consumers, in fact, believe that brands have a responsibility to society—to inform, to take a stand, and to participate in change.
Try to Stay Neutral and Apolitical
You don’t have to make a stand and statement on every political and social issue that comes up on the news. You can try to be neutral when it is appropriate. The comments section will blow up if you try to air your opinion on every political issue. It’s best to stand only for what truly matters to your brand. If your followers keep on leaving harsh opinions in the comments section, it’s best to ignore those or altogether delete them. This is the best way to focus on your marketing strategy.
Don’t Be Aggressive
You can make a stand without commenting on current events. For example, your brand is an advocate for environmental issues. Instead of commenting on every environmental problem, you can reiterate your brand’s position on conservation and sustainability. You are not necessarily offering your opinions on current issues, but you are still emphasizing that your stand is to side with the environment. The consumers will get the message.
Being too aggressive on social media does not benefit brands. You don’t have to look for a fight every chance you get. Making a stand shouldn’t be argumentative. It should be about your brand’s core value and not about how wrong others are.
Establish Ground Rules on Social Media
What should you post and not post on social media? Set up a clear policy on what content you want to see on your official social media channels. All team members should be aware of this policy, so everyone is on the same page when posting on social media about the brand. Has there been offensive content on your pages lately? Make sure to apologize for it and never allow it to happen again.
The guideline and policies aren’t only for your employees. They are also for your followers. These policies should set the tone so that those interacting with your page know how to conduct themselves when commenting on posts. They will likely adhere to these policies when they notice your posts following the guideline strictly.
Stick to the Facts
If you want to air your comment about a certain topic, the best way to do it is to use facts rather than your own viewpoints. Relying on your opinion can get you in trouble. People are going to argue about the merit of that opinion. But if you stick to the facts, then your followers can’t argue with you. This will also help you avoid being overly political unless that’s what you really want.
When commenting on political and social issues, make sure that your stand will not go against your brand’s core values. Learn how to separate your opinion from your brand’s stand. While you may want to be aggressive and in-your-face, this does not always work for the brand’s best interest. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make a stand—even consumers expect brands to do it—you have to make sure that making a stand is even more important than pleasing your market.