Adolescents, especially girls, can look just about anywhere in the media and find something that eludes to how they’re expected to look, feel, and act. And there’s hardly a publication or website that doesn’t portray nearly impossible ideals. Add social media to the mix and it can become overwhelming. While social offers a great opportunity to stay connected and share more with their social circles, it’s also adding stress. In fact, 52% of girls feel that that negative, posts, comments, videos or photos on social media hurt their self-confidence.
Brands have started to recognize the struggle young women face when it comes to standing tall and seeing themselves in a positive light in a world where online feedback can be harsh and unrelenting. Dove and Twitter recently partnered and launched the Speak Beautiful campaign to help build the confidence and self-esteem of young women and make social media a more positive place. 80% of women’s body-negative Tweets are directed at themselves—likely a result of social media judgement. Dove and Twitter are pushing for change by encouraging those who join the Speak Beautiful campaign to talk about beauty differently and actively refrain from judging others.
Other brands, like Under Armour—with its Gisele Bündchen I Will What I Want campaign—are adding their voices to empower those who have experienced negative online comments. In the Under Armour video, model Gisele Bündchen works out to a background of both positive and negative comments that were posted about her online, showing her strength in the face of sometimes-brutal online commentary.
The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
We all know social media offers plenty of benefits—both personally and for businesses. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to stay connected 24/7 and communicate as efficiently as we now do. It benefits customer service and can ultimately benefit your bottom line, so it’s a great tool. The negative side of social, however, rears its ugly head when it’s used to the detriment of others.
By now you may be asking yourself, “Can social media really have that much of an impact on how people feel about themselves?” The simple answer is, “Absolutely!” We’ve already talked about FOMO (The Fear of Missing Out), which affects 56% of social media users overall. And now, you’re learning about the impact negative online interactions can have on adolescents.
But there’s even more that’s affecting online youth. At impressionable ages, adolescents feel pressured by targeted advertising to live perfect lives, have perfect figures, and attain perfect jobs. They feel like success is measured in accumulated likes and shares, and they’re validated by being able to successfully pull off what’s made to look easy in carefully edited online tutorials. The list is endless. And the challenges are daunting!
Success in Positive Messaging
Brands that are celebrating individuals and focusing on reinforcing a positive self-image for everyone are succeeding in the marketplace. Positive messages are catching on, and more pointed messages from brands like Dove and Under Armour are driving home the fact that consumers are ready for more attainable and positive goals.
Both millennials and Gen Z gravitate to brands that are using their influence in the marketplace to convey authenticity and drive change in the world. They want to work for companies that give back, and they want to spend their money on brands that give back. So seeking out uplifting messages that promote a positive self-image for consumers simply aligns with the values these younger generations have adopted.
Brands like Patagonia, Tom’s Shoes, and Google differentiate themselves in the marketplace by giving back, and they’re not going unnoticed by younger consumers. In fact, societal impact—or how brands affect the world in a positive way—is quickly becoming as big a factor as price, quality, and service when it comes time to make a buying decision.
Social media has a huge impact on how and when people buy, as well as the ways consumers interact and see themselves. While there are businesses that make consumers feel like they have to live up to certain standards, the businesses that are building consumers up are seeing growth and popularity. However your dealership decides to make a positive and authentic impact, it’s sure to be a winner for today’s consumers.
Author: Joey Little
Joey Little serves as Director of Digital and Social Engagement for AutoAlert. An expert in customer experience management, he educates automotive professionals at speaking engagements across the country. With results-driven advice and proven industry knowledge, he assists dealerships in reaching their audiences and increasing business via their social platforms.