Real Life vs. Meme Life
Updated: Feb 14
Yes, social media can be a great tool for raising awareness for nonprofit organizations but it all depends on how you approach it.
The issue we're looking at today is Breast Cancer Awareness month. When October rolls around, we've become accustomed to companies and influencers using the color pink to talk about Breast Cancer. But how much of that is just "talk"? In a recent case study, I was reading about cyberactivism where users post to promote a particular cause or charity that they want their friends to participate in supporting. The argument is whether these posts are as effective as supporting the cause through real-life contributions.
Posting about the color of your bra or some sort of sexualized joke might draw the attention of more users, but is it actually bringing more volunteers and funds to Breast Cancer research? Probably not.
These posts are known as diffusion-centric campaigns which are popular, gain traction, get likes and followers but lack real-life action. Wouldn't you rather see the number of volunteers or funds donated increase? How about a method that would do BOTH?
Sticking with Breast Cancer Awareness as an example, there is a way to gain traction on your post but also support the cause directly. A few post ideas could be:
YOU in a photo volunteering for a local organization that is raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research, etc.
A photo of YOU wearing pink and supporting the cause online, writing a check.
A video of YOU explaining how you donated and how they can too.
**And, always remember to share that donation link! Add the link to the end of your Facebook post or throw it in your bio or linktree on your Instagram profile.**
Users want to see real-life action -- not just the fluffy donation requests. I think the NFL does a great job of posting their players, merch, and fields dressed in pink BUT they also raise over $8 million since the partnership began. This case study mentioned above also brought to my attention that we are so quick to assume that breast cancer only occurs in women, but forget to acknowledge that men are susceptible as well. I think having the NFL players sport their pink helps remind society that breast cancer is something that can happen to all of us.
So, if supporting nonprofits is something you're planning on doing this year -- and every year, then don't be shy! Snap that selfie or have a group photo taken while you're volunteering. These methods will go a lot farther than just sharing a link on your Facebook or not sharing at all. Every nonprofit could use more help -- so why not post about it?!
Real Life always wins!
Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2016). Strategic Social Media: From Marketing to Social Change. Wiley Global Research (STMS). https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/books/9781118556900
NFL supports National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a crucial catch campaign // . NFL Communications. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://nflcommunications.com/Pages/NFL-Supports-National-Breast-Cancer-Awareness-Month-With-A-Crucial-Catch-Campaign.aspx