Social issues are being pushed to the forefront of public conversation in a powerful way we haven’t quite seen in this millennium. One of the ways that proponents and supporters of social justice are turning the microscope on our culture is by forcing large businesses and industries to own up to potential unjust practices and policies. The most recent and high-profile target of this attention? Facebook, the massive social media giant who has become the subject of a boycott due to their policies and actions regarding hate speech on the platform.
Summary of the Boycott
For several years, Facebook has drawn sporadic but pointed criticism for the way it has handled (or failed to handle) hate speech and untruths posted on its enormous network. With a user base that includes roughly a third of the world’s population, some believe that Facebook has an ethical responsibility to help safeguard users against messages that are hateful, dangerous, or simply downright false.
For Facebook’s part, they have largely leaned on their commitment to free speech as an explanation for their failure to silence these types of users and messages in the past. But critics say that this is simply a smokescreen for the network’s real motivation— reluctance to face a loss of profit that might come from restricting hate speech on the platform.
However, a unified movement to make Facebook pay for its failure to combat hate speech has arrived for the first time— and it’s taking aim at Facebook’s primary source of revenue. Nearly all of Facebook’s earnings come from advertising, bringing in over $70 billion in ad revenue in 2019 alone.
On June 17th, civil rights organizations that include the NAACP and Anti-Defamation League asked businesses around the world to join their Stop Hate for Profit campaign, calling on them to refuse to advertise on Facebook for the entire month of July.
A Note on Influencer Marketing & The Boycott
Through outreach done by Clever, the boycott’s organizers have confirmed that payments made to influencers are not considered to fall under the boycott. That means brands can still pay influencers who post on boycotted networks and remain compliant with the boycott’s terms and goals.
If you or your business want to join in this movement, you may be worried about the logistical concerns— how can you step away from one of the largest audiences of consumers in the world without severely damaging your brand awareness, marketing goals, and bottom line?
How to Reach Your Audience While Boycotting
Looking for effective ways to reach your audience while boycotting Facebook? Here are three powerful strategies you can use which will not only help you make up for some of your Facebook audience, but may even help transform your long-term marketing strategy for the better.
Explore Other Networks
Back when just a few networks dominated the internet, brands constantly battled exhaustion and oversaturation when trying to compete in very limited markets.
But as more and more networks have arrived on the scene with their own huge followings, brands have been given more opportunities than ever to connect with their audiences in effective and innovative ways.
But in order to be successful on these different networks, marketers have to recognize them for what they are: different networks. The behaviors of audiences on Facebook are completely different from their behaviors on Twitch, Youtube, or Instagram.
With that in mind, simply migrating your ads and strategies directly from Facebook to these other platforms won’t necessarily be effective. Brands and advertisers have to adapt their approaches in order to fit the unique styles of each network— and its unique users.
Instagram marketing, for example, thrives on influencer marketing and content creators— an area where Facebook lags behind. Taking advantage of the highly visual and personality-driven world of Instagram can completely transform your marketing strategy for the better.
Embrace Non-Social Marketing Angles
If you’re cutting social spend as a result of your boycott of Facebook, you can put that spend to good use in non-social channels. These include partner marketing, affiliate marketing, and more. There are excellent platforms that can help you do exactly that— we partner with both Partnerize and Impact to manage affiliate and partner marketing with powerful ROI for our customers.
Share Your Values
Finally, one of the most powerful ways that you can engage with your audience during the Facebook boycott is by addressing it directly. More than any other time in history, consumers care deeply about the values of the brands and businesses they support. Don’t be shy about those values. Explain to your audience why you’ve chosen to boycott Facebook, and do so in a genuine and straightforward way. Your audience will respond, and you’ll find an increase in loyalty, passion, and support among the individuals that matter most to your brand. Of course, this isn’t a reason for engaging the boycott— but it’s a powerful example of a positive benefit that comes from ethical action.