How to post about sensitive topics on social media

Shona Johnson
Relationship Manager
27 Aug 2019

When you manage social media for a charitable organisation, a lot of your time goes into creating posts about sensitive issues. It’s not always easy to know how to talk about these subjects appropriately, so we’ve put together a few pointers that can help you get on the right track.

Know your goal

Ensure that your message is unambiguous – before posting, consider what you want to get out of it. Are you posting to counter discrimination? Do you want to increase the use of your services or raise awareness for your cause? All of the above?

Make your aim clear before you do anything, and let it guide the tone of your post. You don’t want it to look like you’re just posting for shock value alone.

Consider Including action in these more sensitive posts. if you are trying to encourage donation – leave your fundraising page link in the post. If you are trying to raise awareness of your services, leave your helpline and access hours at the bottom of the post.

Use reliable sources

If you’re making weighty statements or using statistics to back up a point, ensure that they are coming from up-to-date and reliable sources. You don’t want to risk spreading misinformation and potentially harming your credibility as an organisation.

This approach also applies to sharing articles or other similar content. Ensure you thoroughly read everything and anything you share – it’s best to avoid supporting overly-biased content or tabloid articles, stick to more reputable sources.

Be considerate

Most of your audience may very well be acquainted with posts of a sensitive nature – but not everyone will be. Consider using trigger warnings at the beginnings of your posts, you never know who may be reading.

It’s also a good idea to check your tone of voice! Write conversationally, you don’t want to appear cold when discussing upsetting subjects. It’s also crucial that you use people-first language rather than labels e.g. don’t use terms like ‘a disabled person’, you should say ‘a person who has a disability’.

Strike a balance

It’s very important to convey the gravity of certain situations and issues, and a lot of the time there is not always a positive way to speak about them. However, consider trying to balance out your posts with a negative tone with some more positive posts. For example, rather than always homing in on the desperation of addiction, talk about recovery and how far the individual has come in their journey to recovery.

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