Over the past few years, social media has become the biggest platform to show support for different social and human rights causes. From Black Lives Matter to Supporting Ukraine, individuals and businesses are sharing their support with posts on their pages. Now, more than ever, is the time that we should ask ourselves what we can do next? 

As students in Public Relations, the process of building a strategic plan is burned into our brains. After the first class, we learn the importance of setting aside time to dive deep into research to set the scene. We analyze the problem and sort through what is being asked of us by  the client. As we create our work and materials, we maintain a consistent key message and end with a call to action. The call to action portion is essential to derive the change that we hope to see.

So why aren’t there more call to actions in our support posts on social media? 

I don’t mean those baited lines that say “If you don’t repost, you don’t love your mom.” I mean the “Find out how you can be more involved” links. We need to push past just raising awareness and making a change. 

Before we think about what we are willing to ask our followers to do and what we are willing to ask of ourselves to make a change. This means taking the time to do our research, understand what is being of us, the current discussion on the topic, and determine our end goal. 

In the PR field, we are doers. Clicking the repost button doesn’t seem like enough to us but it can be hard as social media managers and content creators to know our boundaries when sharing issues close to our hearts. 

Share your research

A post popped up on your feed about a human rights violation in a city not too far away from yours and you google recent news stories to find out more details. Now share the information you found! Share the details that come from reputable sources and why this topic has an impact on your organization. 

Our audiences expect us to have a stance on social and human rights issues and to support our stance with research. You have to take the time to understand the situation and to decide if this is a topic you are willing to talk about with others. Then urge your audience to do their own research. 

Support individuals in your community

So you did your research and you posted about the topic so that others are aware of the issue. Now is the time to find ways to support the cause. If you aren’t sure how your organization can provide direct support, find other organizations that you can promote who are already doing the work. It’s okay to say that at the moment we aren’t doing anything but here are other organizations that you can support that are donating money or items to those in need. 

Below are some resources to find businesses in Michigan that support Black Lives Matter:

Take a step away from Social Media

Before we jump to the screens to share the efforts that we are doing, take some time to find ways to take action. Find potential ways that your organization can volunteer time or resources to the cause. The truth is that our actions speak louder than our words and our efforts are valid even if we don’t post them. 

If you are going to share about it on social media, make the action a team effort. Allow for donations of items at your office or storefront that the public can support within their abilities. It is important to remember that you cannot ask your audiences what you would not be willing to do as well. 

Speak up when something bothers you

It’s okay to say that you don’t agree with the situation at hand. Rather than remaining silent, find ways to use your platform to produce change. Use your voice as an organization to speak up against the things that go against your values. 

The truth is that change isn’t going to come from a singular social media post. The more that we do as individuals and organizations, the more productive change we can create to stand up against social and human rights issues. 

About the Author:

Merisa Smith is graduating this April with a BA in Advertising and Public Relations as well as a minor in Political Science. She marched with the Laker Marching Band for two years in the color guard sections. This summer she will be coaching a color guard team in Cedar Springs and exploring the PR field. Her dream job is to work for the Chicago Cubs or direct a political campaign.