More Than Hashtags

June 10, 2020

We tell our clients all the time that hashtags are an important part of making their business visible in the marketplace. Hashtags are like traffic signals, pointing people in your direction.

As the leader of your business, you choose your hashtags carefully, wanting to send just the right message.

But of course, the hashtag is just the beginning of the story. It’s the first encounter…the start of the conversation.

Once the hashtag has drawn people to you, you must build a relationship of integrity, trust, and living up to your promises. It’s a long-term, continuous process and one that every member of your team must support.

If you want to continue a positive relationship with your customers, you commit to constantly listening and learning about their pain and their problems so that you can craft a solution that works.

You can’t just listen once and think you have all the answers. It doesn’t work that way.

In the past two weeks, no hashtag has been more visible than #blacklivesmatter. It has captured the attention of our nation and our world in unprecedented ways.

Business leaders in every industry have added this hashtag to their marketing and public materials to signal their support for the fight against racism.

That awareness is a good thing. And, just like the hashtags for marketing your business, using #blacklivesmatter is only the beginning of the process.

To make real change, we must move beyond the hashtag to deep listening and learning about what is really happening in the lives of black people in this county. Listening without defensiveness, push-back or counter arguments of “but what about….?”

And once we’ve listened and learned, we get to the real work of making things better.

This listening and learning can be uncomfortable. As a leader, you know how to have uncomfortable conversations. Go ahead and have them.

We know it might be tempting to think that conversations about systemic racism have nothing to do with your business. And on the surface, that might appear to be the case. But the truth is that these conversations are happening all around you and will affect every aspect of your business and your life.

We’ll be having these conversations in our own business and supporting our clients in doing the same. As business leaders we have so much opportunity to make a difference.

Let’s not let that opportunity pass us by. Let’s work together to move beyond the hashtag to create real change.

Go forth and do great things,

Martha & Chris