It’s becoming more important than ever for brands to stay in touch with what matters to their customers, but when is it good to weigh in on current trends and when is it best to take a backseat? With International Women’s Day recently garnering millions of discussions across the world, we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to have a look and how and when your brand can engage authentically with big events and serious issues.
Research from Sprout Social has shown that two-thirds (66%) of consumers want brands to take a stand on important issues, and that social media is the place for it. So how do you decide what to engage with? We’ve put together a few questions to ask yourself before you choose to post about a ‘trending hashtag’.
Does it align with your brand?
Brand alignment is key in all aspects of communication, and is especially important when it comes to connecting with customers over issues they care about. If you haven’t already shown consumers why the issue or event might be relevant through your brand positioning to date, it might feel random at best or completely disingenuous at worst.
Virgin Australia’s post referenced the official ‘Balance for Better’ International Women’s Day campaign and showcased some of their female pilot cadets. As a traditionally male-dominated industry, it’s timely for airlines to discuss how they’re managing diversity.
We’re for equality and a world that represents balance. This year, 56% of our pilot cadets in training to be the flight crew of the future are female. They stand among a talented group of candidates who were all picked because they were the best people for the job. #IWD2019 pic.twitter.com/BTxo5pMrQn
— Virgin Australia (@VirginAustralia) March 7, 2019
This came just a few days after sister airline, Virgin Atlantic announced that they would no longer require their female flight attendants to wear make-up, and would be providing the option of wearing trousers as standard. This effort to balance gender requirements between male and female staff won’t have gone unnoticed by their audience, and gives credibility to the brand’s other statements regarding gender equality.
Do you feel passionate about it?
Creating compelling, meaningful content is a lot easier and will resonate more with your audience when you feel passionate about the subject. Take this #IWD2019 post from Sydney-based fashion label Made590:
View this post on Instagram
Happy International Women’s Day! Being one of 5 girls in my family I have always had a big support network & fully supported in anything I wanted to do, I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m 100% sure from this led me to having my own company filled with just the most amazing ladies that create Made590. THANK YOU for supporting a female led, independent company, where we support Australian design and manufacture & represent Every Body, I am so very proud of what we do 💕 Artwork illustrated for us by our very own @kirbeelawler Feel free to reshare & tag us so we can repost as well!
It exudes their brand image as a home-grown, female-led business and adds a personal touch with original artwork. When your brand is able to connect with a trending event as an authentic part of its personality, the timing is always right.
Does it contribute positively to society?
As brands continue to dominate social spaces, they no longer simply just provide a product or service. They have an increasing responsibility to society at large to make a positive contribution. Consider whether your message is adhering to your company’s social responsibility. Depending on the topic you’re choosing to weigh in on, your stance might not always be popular, but it should be for the good of your consumers.
Harvard Medical School chose a feel-good approach to #InternationalWomensDay by posting a historical photograph of the first class of women admitted to the school. It clearly struck a chord with its audience, receiving 802 retweets and 2.6K likes. While it may seem like a safe option, the positive message about change for the better proved itself powerful nonetheless.
— Harvard Medical School (@harvardmed) March 8, 2019
If you ask yourself these three questions next time you’re thinking about taking up a popular hashtag, or taking a stance on an issue as a brand, you’re sure to find the right balance. Happy hashtagging!