Lots of people can turn to social media on an occasion like International Women’s Day on March 8 and “like” someone else’s post, reshare it or add a comment of their own. The strongest brands, however, prefer to lead with original content of their own that articulates a strong point of view while aligning with their core values or purpose.
With diversity and inclusion at the top of many organization’s corporate agendas, it’s more important than ever that companies speak on social media in a way that’s informed, thoughtful and provides genuine value.
The good news is that social channels are richer in storytelling opportunities than ever before, whether it’s using text, images, video or a combination of all three. It’s also a way to not simply speak out but take part in a dialogue with customers and those who might not otherwise have noticed your brand in the past. Use the following tips to guide your approach:
It would be easy enough to craft a tweet or other social media post that simply says, “Happy International Women’s Day! We support diversity in the workplace” and leave it at that. You might get a few likes, but it’s so generic it doesn’t really add much to the conversation. It also suggests you’ve done little research into what this day is all about, and how it’s being celebrated this year.
With a history that dates back to the early 1900, International Women’s Day has been recognizing the rights and achievements of women long before the need for more women in tech became a board-level priority in many organizations.
Given its longevity, it’s probably no surprise that the nature of how International Women’s Day is celebrated changes from one year to the next. In 2019, for instance, the theme is “Balance For Better.” Here’s what the site says:
From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence. Balance drives a better working world.
This means your social media strategy could speak more directly about how your brand is striving to strike a better balance, whether it’s hiring more women, creating a peer networking or mentorship program or participating in larger conferences and events that focus on women in business.
You can also consider using the hashtag #BalanceForBetter as part of your posts, in addition to #IWD or #IWD2019, to make sure they’re included among searches for similar kinds of content.
In any traditional marketing campaign or strategy, some of the earliest steps involve talking to representative customers or conducting primary research on their issues, needs and problems. The creative materials that are used as a result tend to drive much better engagement because they’re based on an educated and authentic message.
Using social media to talk about International Women’s Day should follow the exact same approach. You want to weigh in on a celebration of women’s contributions to work and society? Talk to the women in your organization about what they see as some of the key challenges, whether it’s carving out a career path, having their voice heard or trying to enter traditionally male-dominated industries.
Remember that “diversity” should be thought of holistically. In other words, find and talk to women of diverse ethnicities, sexual orientations and age groups.
Social media may sometimes involve more spontaneous kinds of conversations, but you can still do a lot of planning behind the scenes, just as you would in a more traditional marketing campaign.
It may make sense to come up with multiple variations on the key messages you develop, for instance, so that you can run them past the right people prior to posting them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You may also want to go further than a single message or post and develop a series of content that can be published throughout the day.
Keep in mind that different social platforms favour particular kinds of content. While short pieces of text with a URL back to your website or a landing page might work well for Twitter, Instagram demands a more visual approach, and links are often only available through the bio area of your company’s profile. Facebook offers a range of options, but both Facebook and Instagram also run “Stories,” which can be short videos and images that run in sequence, and which can be easily edited with text and other effects. Tailor your messages to best fit the medium your audience is most likely to be watching.
Even if you see a lot of positive response to what your brand says about International Women’s Day on social media, don’t stop there.
As the “Balance For Better” theme suggests, improving diversity and inclusion requires a long-term effort. It’s not something we should talk about for a 24-hour period and then ignore until the same time next year.
Keep the conversation going, whether it’s on social media, internally or across other channels. And don’t just talk -- listen and be prepared to act in ways that show you’re ready to help change women’s lives for the better.