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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Five ways charities can #ReclaimSocial for good in 2022

This opinion piece is about 2 years old

There’s no doubt that social media can be a source of negativity. Platforms and regulators alike are constantly grappling with the challenges - from hate speech to fake news and privacy issues. Big brands have also taken a stand, with Lush announcing it was quitting social media late last year. But there’s also another, more positive side of the coin.

Viral campaigns like #MeToo and #GivingTuesday have shone the light on how social media can be used to ignite change and give people a voice.

The Reclaim Social movement, now in its fifth year, is also on a mission to combat negativity on social media by encouraging organisations and individuals to spread positivity and to raise awareness of inspiring stories.

Since it was launched in 2018, the movement has gained support not only from major charity organisations like Comic Relief, Samaritans, WWF UK and well-known figures such as Miranda Hart and Rob Delaney, but also from millions of social media users.

As we approach the two year anniversary of the pandemic, Reclaim Social is needed more than ever. So, how can charities continue to reclaim their social media channels for good this year? Here are five tips.

Build an inclusive community

Defining what 'reclaiming social for good' means for your organisation is a first step towards building a happy and inclusive community. Making your audience feel welcome will only come from being authentic and understanding - and a big part of this is by listening closely to your followers. This involves being conscious of what you write and ensuring that your language and content is accessible and truly reflects your beliefs.

Educate your community to tackle misinformation

Unfortunately, many people still fall victim to fake news. It is now more difficult to tell the difference between a credible and a false source. With misinformation on the rise, make sure to educate your audience and validate any source you use in your content. Education is key.

Safeguard your online communities

By creating an online community, charities have a responsibility to protect people within it. As a moderator, encourage your audience to use their voices for good and inspire more people to join the movement. Comments that are offensive or abusive should always be reported to the social media platform on which they were posted.

Embed ethical marketing and communications practices

To build trust and ensure a safe environment online, make sure to integrate ethical marketing and communications practices. Charities Against Hate’s Guide to Best Practice in Ethical Digital Marketing & Comms Practices is a valuable resource here. Working towards more ethical policies and practices is time-consuming, but vitally important and rewarding in the long run.

Remember positive stories make a difference

Social media gives charities the opportunity to amplify voices that are not always heard in traditional media. Whether it's WWF UK explaining why we must fight to save our planet, or the Samaritans talking about the importance of community during hard times, #ReclaimSocial helps to recognise stories that matter.

Reclaiming social media for good is more than a day. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure they’re countering negativity online all year round - and posting positive, informative and supportive content is one of the most effective ways to do this.

Take part in #ReclaimSocial on Monday 7th February 2022 and help make social media a better place. Download the toolkit here.

Tereza Litsa is Digital Engagement Manager at Lightful