To understand the power of what is going on right now it is important to realize that most trending hashtags only last for 17 minutes. #YesAllWomen started trending on Saturday night, and here it is Monday morning and it is still going strong.
The why is obvious. It struck a chord with so many, many people. On a personal note I felt a release to share some of my own experiences that seem completely off limits to talk about most of the time.
Not convinced that this conversation needs to happen? Take a look at many of the responses that are hate-filled and even threatening violence. It also was sad to see that hashtags dealing with rape and slut shaming were trending alongside the #YesAllWomen hashtag continuously. I don't even want to list the hashtags here because that would just fuel the flames.
Don't Spam - But Do Use IT
In many ways this is pure social media. And now I am going to talk about how to take advantage of things like this to grow your social media influence. People hate this. When it's done wrong.
Here is the thing. If we want to build real relationships with real people and get real results, we have to start acting like real people. Real people cared very much about this. It is an opportunity to join in and show that we care too.
And there is nothing wrong with doing it in a smart way.
So when does a brand start spamming instead of engaging in a real conversation? When you miss the point. This is not a good time to start suggesting people buy your product.
Social Success Vs. Missed Opportunities
I could go on for a few thousand words about all the many brands that are missing this entirely. The ones who could be adding to the conversation, providing support, and yes, getting people to be aware of their brand. Of course one of the reasons is that it is a weekend, and a holiday weekend in the U.S. at that. Which underlines the importance of being present on social media and not just relying on scheduling and broadcast content. But there are a couple that stuck out to me this morning.
The first one is very interesting. Arguably magazines like Cosmo feed into, and even help create, the misogynistic culture that #YesAllWomen is trying to deal with. That being said, their target demographic is definitely the people who are using the hashtag - women. Despite it being a weekend they put together a few of the top tweets and a couple paragraphs about it and published an article. You only have to look at the retweets and favorites to see the results. If they really wanted this to take off though a picture would have helped. And with tools likeCanva.com there really is not any excuse not to.
On the flip side here is Smirnoff. For context (in case you haven't looked at the #YesAllWomen hashtag), a lot of the posts were about issues of consent, and being drunk not being the same as yes, etc. In the midst of all this a promoted post from Smirnoff popped up in my feed. Oh, the irony.
Basically, they paid to get not even a fraction of the social media attention that Cosmo is getting for free - just because they are not paying attention. What a powerful statement if Smirnoff would have taken the time to create a statement about keeping those house parties safe, or respecting women. I can guarantee you that not only would it have gone viral, but increased their Memorial Day sales significantly.
Viral Trends 101
I am not trying to pick on Smirnoff - they just happened to show up this morning when this was on my mind. But it could be applied to any brand.
There are a couple things that make brands and individuals miss these important opportunities. One we talked about already. They are not really there. Scheduled promotions go out, and maybe someone is scanning for brand mentions, but there is no one keeping the pulse on the social media community as a whole.
The other big reason is that many brands, and the people running the social media behind them, see social media as a promotion tool rather than a connection tool. When you are focused on you and your brand and products it is impossible to truly connect. We are moving into a new type of business world. One in which it should start with people first. If you are tuned in to the people you want to serve that will educate every single other decision from what products you create in the first place, to how to connect to them through social media.
What Do You Think?
Please comment and share and let's get this conversation going!