07 Aug Women Supporting Women
The recent #ChallengeAccepted hashtag on Instagram has caused divisive reactions. The trend gained popularity when many female celebrities and influencers posted black and white photos of themselves with a vague statement about supporting other women. Part of the backlash came when users started to criticize these posts for taking attention away from the real cause which was started by Turkish women in order to raise awareness about femicide. Those who posted the black and white photo without knowing the original purpose were then called out for taking part in “slacktivism,” where participants support a cause but contribute very little in terms of meaningful action to engage change.
Executives on social platforms must understand the social media trends they are taking part in, so as to avoid any potential damage to their reputation. Instead, the key is to work towards creating positive changes. It is also important to keep in mind that taking part in trends does not have to be the only time that an executive speaks out about an important social issue. In fact, it is more beneficial when an executive continues to address these topics on a more consistent basis, rather than occasionally or only when it is trending as it comes across as more authentic and genuine.
This article will address the importance of an executive presence for women by looking at a few female leaders who are using their platforms to spread messages of inclusion, support for other female leaders, and amplifying other female voices.
Executives who Combine Activism with Motivating Content
Sallie Krawcheck, the CEO of financial company Ellevest, devotes her LinkedIn platform to highlighting gender issues and amplifying other female leaders.
For example, every Friday, Krawcheck attaches the hashtag #FinancialFeministFriday on a post to celebrate an influential female figure. She uses the post copy to include information about them, such as their title, professional background, and accomplishments. Krawcheck also includes why she personally finds them influential, highlighting individuals her followers may not have known prior to her post. These figures range from authors and politicians to actors and activists. Krawcheck attaches an image of the person she is highlighting and includes a short phrase on the graphic that sums up what they do to influence positive change. As seen in the example below highlighting climate policy expert Rhianna Gunn-Wright, users can see “Saving the World” underneath the image on the graphic.
Krawcheck frequently uses other social posts on LinkedIn to link to her company’s newsletter, entitled “What the Elle,” to discuss topics such as the gender pay wage gap and other issues that women in the workplace face. This helps emphasize her company’s brand in conjunction with discussing important social issues that directly tie into her company’s values.
Bozoma Saint John, the newly appointed Chief Marketing Operator of Netflix, uses her Instagram account to share a range of both professional and personal content. Recently, she helped champion a movement towards amplifying the voices of Black women in an event called #ShareTheMicNow.
In June 2020, 50 white celebrity women—including the likes of Brie Larson, Gwyneth Paltrow, and many other renowned figures—handed over their Instagram accounts to 50 Black women. This movement aimed to generate dialogue around systemic racism and gender inequality, and to use these celebrities’ large platforms to highlight more Black female voices. Saint John created the event in collaboration with author Luvvie Ajayi Jones; Alice + Olivia CEO, Stacey Bendet; and author Glennon Doyle.
Saint John, who herself has a large following of over 300,000 users on Instagram, promoted the event in multiple posts beforehand. Posting this promotional content helped raise awareness about the importance of the event, generating more audience engagement when #ShareTheMicNow took place.
Saint John also uses her Instagram account to share interviews and celebrate women leaders. For example, she posted a video interview with Mary Barra, who shed light on topics such as inclusivity within the workplace. She also used the caption copy to highlight Barra’s accomplishments and background. Bozoma Saint John uses her platform not only to develop her own brand, but consistently helps bring attention to other female figures as well.
Executive Presence for Women
Executives who focus their content on issues such as gender inequality are seen as more authentic compared to those who only use their platform to mention these social issues in passing or very infrequently. We always recommend that executives make a genuine effort when participating in discussing social issues online, as a lack of consistency will not resonate with their users.
One factor to consider is to post content consistently. A figure like Sallie Krawcheck makes it a point to highlight women leaders every Friday. Deploying a more consistent schedule when it comes to discussing a social issue is an effective way to communicate to users that the executive is clearly passionate about a certain topic, whether it is gender equality, racism, climate change, and so on.
As well, when using posts to highlight or bring attention to another executive in the post copy, be sure to make use of tagging and include the individual’s social media handle. This will help expand the reach of the post and help improve discoverability.
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