By Simonetta Lein, CEO of Ausonia Partners LLC, social-media entrepreneur, top fashion influencer, brand ambassador, and author
The world has changed, and so have we. The catalyst for this change has, of course, largely been the Covid-19 crisis. The pandemic has forced us to modify our behaviors as we adapt to different ways of living and working. It is a new normal.
During this pandemic, many of us have experienced the isolating effects of social distancing. It has left many people feeling fragmented, disoriented, and unable to connect in the ways to which we have been accustomed. Fortunately, we live in a digital age, and the internet and social media have afforded us the opportunity to stay connected with the greater world, even within the confines of isolation.
As the founder of the Wishwall Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization and social community, and as someone who spends a considerable amount of time on the internet and social media, I am always looking to connect people from diverse backgrounds and give voices to the voiceless.
As the world has changed, I believe now is the time for entrepreneurs and brands to examine how they start and participate in conversations on social media.
Start meaningful conversations.
What we see on social media does not always reflect reality. I believe that social media often depicts a rosy reality that glosses over many of the real issues people face.
In times of crisis, I encourage brands to challenge the conventional idea of social media and the types of content you usually see on your feed. Start real conversations, and extend support to your audiences. Perhaps you could offer free tools, services, or informative tutorials in support of a cause, or you could simply extend emotional support with posts that resonate or even tag and connect followers going through similar difficulties.
Brand leaders that want to stay relevant during the Covid-19 crisis should start with meaningful conversations and by asking themselves what information could prove useful to their audiences right now.
Encourage different views.
Censorship is another topic that has been frequently discussed in the context of social media lately. There will always be people who have different opinions and challenge the status quo. When it comes to regulating your business pages, while it is important to have terms of service and to remove posts that violate your terms, proceed with caution. I believe you should not delete a comment simply because you disagree with the views shared.
If you do come across a purposefully divisive message or a post that disagrees with your views, navigate this instance strategically. You may choose not to censor the message, but at the same time, don't feel the need to respond if you think it will only escalate the situation. You can also encourage the reader to shift the discussion to a private message.
Anonymity can play a role in people censoring themselves less frequently. For example, The Doe leverages verified anonymity to share raw, colorful details about important topics. However, brands that want to exercise anonymity should be mindful of achieving a balance between constructive anonymity and blatant misuse of being anonymous.
Remember, censorship can take away from freedom of thought. Everyone's voice deserves to be heard.
Do your part to change the narrative.
As a social media influencer and entrepreneur, I strongly feel that we have an opportunity to make a change and reassess how we share content and engage in conversations that are real and meaningful.
If your brand has a social-media presence (and it should), pay attention to social listening. Be open and receptive to diverse voices, even the ones that may not align with your brand messaging. It's time to reinvent the ways in which we engage with ideas and with one another.