How to Talk About Caitlyn Jenner

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It’s a popular suggestion in Social Media 101 courses to look to the news media for inspiration for your content calendars, and as a professional I can tell you that it’s a good habit to cultivate. Using current events, especially ones that are relevant to your industry or your market is a real crowd-pleaser. You can get clicks, likes, new clients, and increase your brand visibility by paying close attention to the news and using that to your advantage. No one wants to follow a brand who only talks about themselves. When you address events in the community, you’re showing your market that you’re paying attention and that you care about them specifically.

Of course, it’s also important to remember your brand principals and keep to the brand personality I talked about in Meet Your Brand. Make sure that what you talk about and the way you talk about it comes through clearly as something your brand would know about, care about, and talk about.

Sometimes a big news story can be really tempting. It’s raining clicks, hallelujah, but does that mean it rains for you? In the case of Caitlyn Jenner I haven’t seen much of the kind of tone-deaf antics that can sometimes pop up with major news stories or holidays (which I wrote about in Why Your Memorial Day Post Was Offensive), and that makes me feel really good about our collective tone-intelligence.

So, when my client ActiveSpace ™ asked for my take on a new poster they were going to be putting in the lobbies of their affordable, attractive, and extremely diverse art, hobby, and office space buildings (located in Seattle, Portland, and the Bay Area), I jumped at the chance to share my two cents. The poster would use an image of Caitlyn in order to draw the resident’s eyes towards the relatively mundane but important building safety reminder below her.

Because ActiveSpace ™ has long been an organization that celebrates diversity as a part of their business model, I felt like we had an opportunity to affirm residents while making sure these safety tips will be read at a higher than average rate. So, we wrote a poster that embraced our new transgender sister, while reminding the residents that they are important, and their safety is important.

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If you would like to talk about Caitlyn Jenner (or anybody else) in your social media or other marketing materials ask yourself these three questions:

  • Does this story have a real impact on my market?
  • Do I have an opportunity to affirm brand values or show how we fulfill brand promises?
  • Is there a positive take-away?

For all three, the ActiveSpace ™ answer was yes. As a company that serves creatives, many of their renters are members of the LGBTQI community, or are staunch allies. As a company that embraces diversity, this was an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to their brand values by marking this moment in history, and there is definitely a positive take-away because the response to Caitlyn’s coming out has been majority positive in a really big way.

When talking about news stories on your brand’s social media, it’s very important to have a positive take-away. As people, we can get caught up in the cause or the importance of an issue and forget this. I myself have done it. We all want to do good, supportive work in our communities, but we won’t get a chance if no one pays attention to our message. And people love a positive message. Always focus on the solution and take every opportunity to celebrate community victories.

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