3 Ways to Show Your Faith in Your Social Media (Without Become a Chick-fil-A Style Crisis)
Even when you are talking to a narrow niche-focused audience that might completely relate to your specific comments, you still run the risk of those comments coming back to haunt you.
Remember this rule of thumb – what you say will be known to that larger, less friendly audience, no matter what you do. Understand that and live by it. Even if you are successful at keeping the message within your target exclusive group, it’s a good overall policy to always act as if you do not have that luxury. The one time you forget is the time that could sink your career, your stock price, and maybe even your business.
Instead of counting on secrecy (“discretion”? Ha!) and the pipe dream of controlling the publishing of comments to only a niche audience, I say instead to be smart. Find ways to demonstrate your values that won’t have you becoming a Chick-Fil-A crisis. Here are some ideas:
#1 – Demonstrate Philanthropy (No One Bad Mouths You For Helping Babies and the Hungry)
If your team does volunteering at a faith-based organization, show pictures of that. Show them smiling and helping, with the organization’s banner in the picture. You don’t have to rah-rah for Jesus (or any other religious leader) for people to see that you are devoting time to service. Subtle visual association works.
#2 – Use More Multi-Media Entertainment (Make It Have A Beat So They Can Dance to It)
Publish videos, music, inspirational photos, and quotes that highlight your values. Find respected social leaders who say things that capture the spirit of your faith and share that on your social media stream. You see people doing this all the time with positive military sentiment – “thanks to the troops” kind of images and quotes – and you can do it too for your religious beliefs. Make it entertainment rather than preaching.
#3 – Encourage Your Employees to Share More (More Voices, More Options)
Having an open social media policy that allows employees to share their personal experiences within the realm of your corporate brand dulls the sharp point of bad publicity a bit. Every day people sharing every day things – going to church, loving their family, feeding the hungry, teaching kids to reach – all add up to demonstrating a company culture of faith. Rather than an organized corporate statement, the picture painted tells of rich lives, well-lived.
No One Is Going To Like You All of the Time
OK, so your opinionated CEO can’t be controlled. Bummer. And, associations with certain groups will cast you in a certain light – often rightfully so – and that is not always easy to defend. Such is life – deal with it. No one has ever said that taking a stand is easy.
One word of caution – a hostile work environment, heavy laden with specific religious declarations, is dangerous. Don’t foster that. It is a very risky move, one hardly worth making. Hoping to use ninja PR techniques to try to separate the message of your CEO from your company policies won’t help that much if your company is playing fast and loose with their culture, hiring practices, or corporate donations. If it quacks like a duck…
Not everything is just other people’s freedom hating, reactive intolerances, either. Sometimes, discrimination is actually happening and that’s not cool. If your company is stepping over the legal line when it comes to incorporating religious discrimination into your business model, you need to cut it out.
Barring straight out discrimination, however, you can use social media to demonstrate a faith-based environment that allows customers to know you, attracts good fit employees, and stays within the law. Do it with kindness, compassion, and a light touch and you will be successful. Good luck!
Til next time!
Vicki @Smartwoman Flaugher