One of the first things I learned when I took my career online is that anyone can be big and bad behind a computer screen, and especially on social media. For some reason, it’s so much easier to put a company on blast, pick fights with strangers, and rant about politicians on a forum where someone who matter may actually read the comments (but you don’t have to look anyone in the eye.)
Honestly, I think it’s more than that, though. Snarky, negative content is on the rise and widely shared and celebrated. You’ve seen SomeeCards. Hilarious, no doubt, and even though they’re not ALWAYS mean, they usually are. Here’s a prime example:
(note: this is not about your face. I probably haven’t even seen your face, but if I have I’m sure I think you were very lovely and/or handsome)
Pretty mean, right? This isn’t new. Ten or so years ago, this cute little guy popped up on T-shirts, bags, any anything else you could buy from Hot Topic.
So why are we all chugging hateraid online? Can’t we all be nice?
My answer: probably not. In news, the old adage is, “If it bleeds, it leads.” In social media, it’s more, “If it’s mean, it’s meme.”
But when you’re a social media community manager, you have to somehow tap into the popularity of these popular “mean memes” without actually insulting anyone. Good luck, right?
It’s actually not that bad. If you’re looking for crowd-pleaser content, stop cruising Reddit and start looking at Pinterest. There’s a fair share of mean stuff on there too under the heading of comedy, but there’s also a lot of beautifully edited inspirational messages about people from all walks of life, and no shortage of cute animals if you run out of quotes. You’ll find something that will appeal to your community.
My company, MemberClicks, chooses to focus on the happy. As long as the platforms cooperate technically, every day we upload something to make our audience smile. Sometimes it’s random happy faces, but cute animals always world. Always. The result is greater reach through new likes and follows.
Is it ever OK to use insult graphics in your social media communities? That’s up to you, but I would advise against it. The demographic using various social media platforms is pretty diverse (and expanding further still) and you don’t want to turn people off.
Of course exceptions can always be made. For example, if you’re an association of exterminators, here’s a freebie: