The Do’s and Don’ts of Discussing Sensitive Social Media Topics

You may not think of social media as the place to talk about sensitive topics, especially if you’re trying to market your business and sell products.

But you might be surprised to know that…

63% of consumers prefer to reward companies that are willing to take a stand on current issues.

In today’s divisive political climate, taking a stand on current issues might sound like a risky bet, considering you could easily turn off half of the country depending on where you stand on the issues.

But private companies are increasingly voicing their support for issues and causes they believe in, and are winning over new customers in the process. Studies show 64% of consumers worldwide will make a purchasing decision based on a brand’s social or political position.

If you don’t want to take a stand on the issues, your customers may take their business elsewhere. After all, silence can speak louder than words.

Learn how to bridge sensitive social media topics the right way, so you don’t end up in a PR nightmare.

Clearly State Your Reasons for Speaking Up

If your brand doesn’t usually take a stand on social media, publishing your first politically charged post may catch some of your followers off-guard. Avoid any fallout from your first post by choosing your topics wisely. Don’t just toss your political hat into the ring to get attention. You should stand up for issues and ideas that matter to you and your company on a personal level.

Start by clearly stating your reasons for speaking up, such as why this issue is important to you, how it impacts you on a personal level, and why it should be important to other people.

For example, if you lost one of your parents to cancer, use these experiences as a way of shedding light on this issue. This will help your followers better relate to your post and give them context as to why you’re taking on this issue in the first place.

Use Reliable Sources of Information

If you’re going to step into the political ring, be prepared for plenty of blowback. People that don’t even follow your account may find your post and start sending you negative comments. You need to respond to people even if they disagree with you.

To bolster your argument and make sure you have your facts straight, post links to reliable sources of information, including internationally recognized organizations and publications such as The New York Times, the World Health Organization, or the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Refrain from posting links to personal blogs and other less reliable sources of information.

Start thinking like a journalist and rely on credible sources when researching and posting about these issues.

Use People-First Language

You also need to be careful in terms of how you frame the conversation on social media. Review reliable sources to get a sense of what kind of language you should be using. It’s best to use people-first language, so you don’t accidentally stigmatize members of a particular community.

For instance, use the phrase, “people with autism,” instead of calling someone autistic. Or say, “people of the Muslim faith,” instead of simply using the word “Muslims”.

Try not to make assumptions about other people and, when in doubt, stick to the facts.

Talking about sensitive social media topics might seem off-putting, but expressing your values can help you win over new customers and followers. This is just another way to add authenticity to your brand, showing your customers there’s a human being behind your logo, one that cares about what’s going on in the world.

If you still need help bridging these topics on social media, attend a social media conference to learn from professional marketers that deal with these issues on a regular basis.