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Weinstein scandal’s PR lessons—using social to take a stand

by | Oct 26, 2017 | Analysis, Public Relations

Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence, Ashley Judd, Reese Witherspoon, Terry Crews…

Debra Messing, Anna Paquin, Evan Rachel Wood, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union…

America Ferrera, Alyssa Milano… and the list goes on.

In the beginning of October, allegations of sexual assault against Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein surfaced. Since then, the allegations continued to roll in from A-list celebrities sharing their stories, sparking a movement that shed light on the atrocious behavior of sexual assault.

Just over a week ago, Alyssa Milano started the hashtag #MeToo as a way for women to share their own experiences and come together in solidarity. This gave an opportunity for women (and some men) to unleash their own detailed stories of sexual harassment. It set the precedent for others to speak out.

What can we take away from this?

Social media has been a platform for other awareness campaigns, too: #BlackLivesMatter, #LoveWins, #SafetyPin, #KnowYourLemons, and more. If used effectively, you can raise awareness for issues you care about whether they’re political, environmental or social.

Weinstein scandal’s PR lessons—using social to take a stand

Social media is powerful

It gives people a voice and a platform to connect with like-minded people.

Hashtags are more than just #trends

It’s a way to spark a movement, take action and build awareness. Remember, a Tweet is just 140 characters, but with a hashtag you can make a wave. Recent analysis shows the hashtag #MeToo was mentioned over 1 million times on Twitter alone. The majority of those talking about #MeToo were female and based in the United States.

Pro Tip: Choose 1 or 2 hashtags. You don’t want your message to get lost and you want to make it easy for people to use it, too.

How do you get something to trend?

Clarify your message; make it clear what the cause is, why it’s important and how people can help.

Create shareable content. Put together a video, or use a high-res photo with vivid and bright colors. Make it engaging so that when others are scrolling down their newsfeed, it stands out. And, always try to include a link.

Connect with influencers who are passionate about the same values, and most importantly reach out to your friends, family and coworkers encouraging them to share it, too.

Lastly, keep tweaking the social media strategy until it works for your campaign. It’s a trial and error process.

Finally, the most important tip…

Remember that it’s ok to speak up, to say no, or as Meghan Trainor would say, “Thank you in advance, I don’t wanna dance (nope) I don’t need your hands all over me.”

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Julie Talenfeld
Julie Talenfeld is the president of BoardroomPR, , a full service PR and marketing firm based in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

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