The use of social media to power social causes

The month of June is recognised as Pride Month. Pride Month celebrates LGBTQ+ communities all around the world. A time to celebrate what makes everyone unique, recognising and educating others on people’s gender identity, sexual orientation and background.

Pride Month is celebrated every June to recognise the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, when the New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City. The raid resulted in police roughly hauling employees and patrons out of the bar.

Up until 1966, the New York State Liquor Authority were known to fine or even shut down establishments that served alcohol to LGBTQ+ individuals. Thankfully this was overturned, but it was still illegal for members of the LGBTQ+ community to be seen holding hands, kissing or dancing with someone of the same sex.

Society has come a long way since then, but there is still injustice and wrongdoings in the world. This is where social media can play its part…

How can social media power social causes?

Social media is a powerful tool that connects millions of people around the world. Social media is all about communication, it brings people together and gives people a way to connect with others wherever they are. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and more recently Tiktok can be used to promote social causes and get your message out into the world. Just one post or one moment could go viral.

The brilliant thing about social media, and why causes and companies choose it over the likes of TV or billboard advertising, is it’s free, instant and easily accessible. With over half the world’s population using social media, you have the power to reach billions of people and relay your message across to them. Using simple tools on Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok like hashtags and groups, you can target specific sectors and share information about important causes.

Using hashtags is a must to maximise your posts’ reach. Be sure to research the hashtags you’re planning to use before posting them. If you’re looking to post about Pride Month on Instagram for example, look up pride related hashtags. #pride currently has 34.9 million posts! It is great to see so many people posting about Pride, but if you are looking to find accounts you can reach, that might be a bit oversaturated. Alternatively, #pride2022 has 132,000 posts, still a lot of posts, but a lot less saturated. Be sure to include a mix of high and some lower populated hashtags. These hashtags appear in the LGBTQ+ colours! A great touch from Meta. Programmes like RiteTag can help you hone in on the best hashtags to be using.

As well as hashtags, if you put some more time into creating some eye-catching visual content, you can increase the amount of people that will take notice of your post. There are tools that will help you do exactly this. Canva is a brilliant tool that can help give your content a visual boost. Canva feels like a simplified photoshop, supplying you with free graphics, photos and templates in a variety of dimensions. If your content is more engaging, more people are likely to read your post.

It doesn’t have to just be posts. You could create stories or reels – short video clips to promote your message. Looking at Instagram again, the stories function is well suited for promoting social causes. Currently, Instagram has ‘pride stickers’ which can be used on your story to show your support, as well as change your story icon to show the LGBTQ+ colours. A more recent feature of these stories enables you to add a donations sticker, meaning you can encourage donations for a chosen charity in a simple and easy way.

Has this worked in the past?

The ALS ice bucket challenge is a great example of how social media can be used to help and push great causes. This challenge circulated back in 2014, in which individuals tipped a bucket of ice-cold water over themselves, nominated friends to do the same and then donated to the ALS Association. ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after it claimed the life of a famous baseball player. It is a fatal type of motor neuron disease that attacks nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. This challenge attracted a lot of attention for ALS. The sheer amount of donations from the challenge meant the ALS Association was able to increase its annual research funding by 187 percent across the globe!

As well as individuals voicing their opinion on social causes, businesses can also show support on social media, even through smaller actions. The social media blackout in 2020 is an example of businesses as well as individuals showing support for a social cause. In support of Black Lives Matter (BLM), millions of people and businesses posted a plain black square on Instagram and then didn’t use social media for the rest of the day on 2nd June 2020. Although an action like this didn’t raise money or couldn’t change what had happened, when so many people come together like this, it gets people thinking, reading, talking and educating themselves on the matter – a collective entity coming together to fight for change.

This Pride Month…

Social media can be a great place to read and learn about causes. So this Pride Month, keep an open mind, read from a multitude of sources and be open to different opinions.

If you need help promoting a campaign or cause and would like help leveraging the power of social media, get in touch with our digital specialists today.

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