Social Media Isn’t Going Anywhere – It’s time for the smart, rational, and empathetic to start using it consistently.
I LOVE when I see people I look up to and respect use social media. It gets me excited because I’m so passionate about amplifying impact through digital means. However, it only ever seems to be reactive and I’m focused on changing that.
Not just when a tragedy happens - It’s time to start speaking up, all the time. I want you to feel compelled to provide a consistent digital presence. I’m tired of feeling like I’m doing this alone!
Here’s why you need to be heard and how you can make it happen:
The algorithms favor the irrational and controversial – It’s called “negativity bias” – If you put up a positive post and a negative post, the negative one will get more of a reaction. Social media promotes content that gets more reactions, regardless of why people are reacting. The social media algorithms want to keep people on the platform. The more that people argue, the more time they spend on the platform which allows more ads ($$) to be sold. That’s why we see timelines flooded with controversy and negativity and the people who deserve a platform, rarely speak up.
One of my first videos that did well was Confronting Racists and Neo-Nazis at Charlottesville . The video had 8.7 million views and 100k shares. There were thousands of negative messages. Here’s what they didn’t realize – They helped promote my video to millions who felt empowered. I had a couple hundred people message me personally and tell me the video changed their mind on a lot of things.
This is the new normal. Social media is how we consume information and how we are influenced. There is a set way of doing things. User habits are different on each platform. Overall, content that is shareable and easily consumable will perform better. That means more people will get to see it. With so few rational individuals speaking up consistently, the new normal will be set by those who have the most followers and views. The wrong thing by a terrible person being viewed 10 million times has more of an impact than the right thing being said by a good person that’s viewed 15 times.
Look at the impact this will have on our youth. Teenagers are learning that the internet is the place where you do things that bring the most attention regardless of whether there is substance or creativity behind the content.
Branding is important: Hopefully, now you see the need for you to be more consistent on social media. However, that doesn’t mean people are going to start caring about what you have to say. This goes into the previous point of making content consumable and shareable. You need to figure out how that applies to you. Find others on social media who have had success with the same messages you are looking to talk about. What types of approaches are they using?
What you post needs to feel like social media content. The irrational & attention-seekers are perfect for social media because they can entertain and create conversations. You have to adjust based on how people consume information and how they are influenced in order to be heard to a larger audience digitally.
Don’t just throw facts out or cite certain studies. Utilize social relevancy (what’s in the news), add personality (tell a joke), and add your unique perspective (don’t say what everyone would expect you to say).
I used to get so annoyed with my content not doing well and watching what seemed like the most pointless videos go viral. I decided to recreate some of the themes they used and put a message behind it. I started to make my speaking appearances look like Vlogs and now people were more enthusiastic about the message. No Matter What You're Going Through - There's Still Hope
Solution based content: Social media has become a platform to talk about ourselves and point out everything that’s going wrong. We need problem-solvers. There aren’t many offering solutions and there are more only stating problems. See the issue?
Look at how difficult it is to present facts or appeal to people through rational thoughts. In the age of misinformation, facts and logic don’t matter as much anymore. The problem is that you shouldn’t make people feel like they are wrong. You want to direct them to information that allows them to change their mind. Yes, you are proving them wrong. They’ll never admit that though. The goal isn’t to divide. Let’s bring people together with solutions that educate and empower.
This video I made on the NFL protest received over 6 million views and 130k shares. It started off with me admitting I was wrong. This allowed for thousands of others to open up and admit they were wrong too. NFBD: NFL Protest
Personal brand therapy: You are frustrated with society and the way things are being portrayed – I know it. You’re probably also frustrated with social media as well. I promise you – this will actually make you feel better. Dealing with people on the internet is the worst. Trust me, I know firsthand. Please don’t lose sight of everyone that can benefit from your voice. There are people out there waiting for you to speak up. Imagine taking all the things that frustrate you and becoming an active participant in change, building your own online movement, and amplifying your impact.
Conclusion: I hope you feel compelled to speak up. From there, learn to adapt your messaging to fit what others are used to seeing on each social media platform. Don’t just throw facts out or cite certain studies. Don’t make it hard to consume the message. Stay relevant, add personality and your unique perspective. Don’t feel like you’re above social media or be discouraged. Your voice is needed.
Realize – You aren’t seeking attention. You are seeking change.
Jordon Rooney is the Founder of NFBD & VlogU. His videos have received 20 million video views and 260k shares. He’s also given over 160 keynotes in 14 states. Reach out to Jordon@NFBD.org to see how he can help you with personal branding, social impact in the digital age, and social media marketing for nonprofits.