To say that 2020 has been a significant year would be a bit of an understatement. So much has happened in just the first half of the year that history books will probably have to devote a whole chapter to May 2020. The necessity for the spread of humanitarian resources and safety information has never been clearer. Social media activism might have started as heartfelt pictures your aunt would share on Facebook. However, it has now evolved into a valuable tool for awareness and organizing. Marketers and business owners alike can benefit from paying attention to the way social media activism successfully generates engagement and yields real-life results.
What is Social Media Activism?
Social media activism refers to the use of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram in order to raise awareness about a subject matter, encourage participation, and effecting tangible change. One of the first prominent examples of this was the Ice Bucket Challenge back in 2014. Remember that? Remember how it was everywhere at the time? If you don’t, here’s a quick refresher. This was a project meant to raise awareness about ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and encourage donations for medical research. The challenge consisted of people recording themselves as they dumped a bucket of ice water over their heads. The stunt went viral, leading to a successful campaign that raised over $220 million dollars worldwide.
Social Media Activism Today
Most recently, however, social media activism has gained prominence in the face of phenomena. This, of course, includes the COVID-19 pandemic and the George Floyd protests. In the interest of promoting awareness about the matters at hand and engaging with a significant audience, social media users have continuously used the platforms available. The results have been tangible. Donation drives, protest organizing, online petitions, and amateur reporting have managed to have an effect on policy, law enforcement, and direct action. Due to the spread of online videos, protests sparked all across the world. Successful challenges and chains have managed to raise millions of dollars for different organizations. Arrests have been made thanks to petitions and social media campaigns. We are genuinely witnessing the full force of what social media activism can achieve.
Understanding the Effectiveness of Social Media
What is it, then, that makes social media so effective? How is it that these channels have managed to give way to such concrete results? Well, the key is organization. This is counter-intuitive, of course. After all, a lot of what’s getting done on social media platforms has been achieved by way of collaboration between virtual strangers. How? Well, the main takeaway from this situation is that there is a clear goal in mind. The reason everything manages to be so organized is the tacit existence of a unifying cause behind every individual player. This kind of goal-oriented approach to the spread of awareness, be that about what it may, is what makes organizing so easy for each seemingly disconnected person.
An Emphasis on Convenience
Now, if you have a unifying goal, how do you actually turn that awareness into genuine engagement? Well, if social media activism has shown us anything it’s that it helps if you make things convenient for people to engage and participate. An example? People on Twitter aren’t just tweeting “DONATE TO ORGANIZATIONS!” and hoping people figure it out. People are creating convenient threads with links to funds people can donate or petitions people can find. This systematic approach to the spread of awareness and resources allows people to easily access and contribute to the material. The fact that there is a goal people care about paired up with an organized series of resources is key to the success of the current campaigns.
Encouraging Genuine Engagement
Social media is nowadays a vital tool in raising awareness and encouraging engagement for anybody. Activists, companies, marketers, and individuals alike seek out social media as a means to reach an active audience. However, so many people tend to focus way too much on spending money on ads and launching lavish campaigns. Instead, they should be concentrating on more concrete ways to reach an audience. Therefore, by shifting your focus to a more organic approach, you will be able to better understand the dynamics of the audience you are trying to reach. Think like an individual rather than like a marketer for a second. What makes you want to interact with the content you see online?
The Future of Online Activism
In conclusion, as online platforms continue to facilitate the spread of information, the organizing of manifestations, and the enactment of change, it’s easy to see just how powerful these are. There is a reason why these are becoming the main playing ground for marketers and advertisers. There is an audience there with actual offline effects. Social media marketing continues to cement its place as one of the vital tools for any kind of business, activism, or endeavor today. Its current power is further proof that, if anything, it’s good to step away from your role as a marketer and take a look at things as an individual in order to really understand.