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How to Navigate Social Media During Uneasy Times

facebook instagram social media Oct 11, 2020

You know, I'm not one, I don't like controversy. I'm someone who, most

would say, I'm a people pleaser, believe it or not, but it doesn't mean I shy

away. I mean, my debate roots--state champion debater--my roots of being a

lawyer are not gone. They're just tempered. And so today we're going to get

a little deep. We're going to go down to those roots because we need to,

because, as you know, social media has started to misbehave, and it's going

to continue, and you need to know what that means for your business. How

do you conduct your business that is run by, powered by, marketed by social

media, in a world where people just can get nasty? I hate that word, but it's a



Am I talking politics? “Roxanne, you're not going there, are you?” I am, but

adjacent, not directly., “We're about to go here again. Here we come. Here it

comes.”  “What comes?”, you may ask. Well, if you recall about four, almost

four years ago, we lost our manners as a country. We stopped being nice

and polite to each other, and we started getting ridiculous on social media,

specifically on Facebook. I mean, Twitter, yeah, can be snarky, but on

Facebook we thought we were there with our friends from all the different

generations of our lives and stages of our lives, and next thing we knew we

were fighting with them. We were upset. It was just, it was a lot. And I'd like

to say that we have come a long way, baby, and we're going to behave this

next time around, but there is nothing, nothing, that would make me think,

there's no evidence from anyone in the United States of America that makes

me think that we are going to behave this time around. So what does that

mean for you? What does that mean for your business, and why am I talking

about it right now? Because, my friends, buckle up. You need to get ready

because if you're not ready, you could get cut at the knees or whatever they

call it and lose your vision, lose your focus, and lose your ability to grow your

business on social media. And I, for one, don't wanna see that happen. 2020

has already been quite an interesting tale. Let's get prepared for this next

stage. So why do I say that? Well, because I mean, again, proof positive, it

doesn't take long to look at your social media. You, everyone, everyone

listening, you could look somewhere on your Facebook and find something

or someone who's disappointed you by what they've said or the way they've

treated others in the way they're saying it. Trust me, I've been through it. I've

been going through it. It's an issue. And sometimes you don't even know

when you're going to step in it. So let's talk about it a little bit. 


Now, first and foremost, I want you to start by being prepared, be prepared,

and be prepared in the sense that you're ready, and you know that it's

probably going to happen. You're probably going to inadvertently, as one of

my Social Stories Members mentioned, you might interact with some

rattlesnakes. I actually interacted with some rattlesnakes a few days ago,

and I didn't even realize it was happening, didn't see it for two days, then

when I saw it, I got hurt. It hurt my feelings. I'm a sensitive person, and I

decided to take control of the situation. So I start by saying to you, it can

happen where you don't even know what's going to happen. It just happens.

So you're like, “Okay, Roxanne.” So I want you to realize that in this day and

age, you're likely to upset someone without even realizing it. Now I'm not

talking about being tone deaf. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking

about, with good intentions, with pure intentions, and really if someone

looked at it, something that is not controversial in any way, you could just

step in it. Let me give you an example. So I was at a conference, a virtual

conference, a couple of weeks ago, supposed to be in Toronto, but obviously

not traveling right now and not even allowed to fly to Toronto right now, I'm

on the do not fly list, as all Americans are because at the time of recording

this, we can't go to Canada. So this conference for everyone was virtual, and

it was a three day conference--microphone on, have your camera on, be

focused, and we had a lunch break. So I decided I was going to head outside

and take a walk. Now my dog, Baylor, has been quite ill this last month. It's

been tough. And so if I can be by her side at all times, that's where I'm going

to be. She's coming with me. So I decided to go for a walk. She was feeling a

little better. I felt good about taking her for a walk. Y'all, she's small, so she

sits in my bra when she walks--that's a walk for her. So I go to take a walk,

and I put on a mask. Why? Because I've chosen to put on a mask when I go

outside. And I thought I would do an Instagram Story really fast and just talk

about how I’m at a convention, had a break, taking a walk, what are you

doing? Okay. Now I thought, and most people commented and mentioned

cute little Baylor and my bra, okay? And that makes sense that is what

people would see cause she's so adorable. That's what you see. Now,

remember, I'm in a convention. So I’m finished with my walk, I go upstairs,

get back into the convention. And it's not for two more days that I see that

someone has decided to send me a message really berating me. Now I will

give this person the benefit of the doubt and say, maybe they were not

berating me, but you know, when things are written in, they're in capital

letters, it's a little bit, it feels berating. So the way I read it was a, “Do you

have to wear a mask alone and outside?” That enough chapped my hide.

Then they went on to say, “Or are you just pandering to your audience?” That

set me, like, hair on fire. I was hot. I was mad. I was offended. Like, how dare

they say that about me? I mean, y'all know I am not perfect. And I put my

imperfections out there for people to see, and, yes, I guess to judge as well,

too, on social media. Why? Cause I'm real. So for someone to say, “Are you

pandering to your audience?” because I wore a mask. Okay. And to attack

my decision to wear a mask--y'all the fact that a mask is an issue is like mind

blowing, but whatever, okay? I was not okay with it. And I was like, “Roxanne,

just leave this alone. You can either ignore it or you can talk or you can

answer it tomorrow.” I'm like, “No, you're not.” I should not have to put my

head to rest on the pillow with someone else's issues that I can honestly say

I didn't step in, in any way. Like I didn't decide to sit there and talk about

politics, and who I was voting for, wasn't voting for, or this or that, I didn't. I

was talking about a walk, and I’m in a convention. And so I wrote back, and I

won't go into the whole message back, but I made it very clear that last time

I checked, we were in something called a pandemic and having, and if you

listen to the podcast, you know, my cousin passed away from COVID earlier

this year, and I mentioned that as well. But I started by saying, “I don't have

to justify my decision to wear a mask to anyone. However, henceforth, my

cousin passed away from COVID. And if my choice to wear a mask can stop

someone else from perhaps getting sick, I'm okay with that.” That's okay. I

can do it. Man, I was at Equinox dancing with a mask cause they required

that. When the gyms were open, we had to wear a mask to work out, and I

danced in a mask that was required, and I was fine with it. So yeah, I can

walk around my neighborhood in a mask. So, and then I followed up with a,

“And I do not pander to my audience. I am my real imperfect self.” And then I

called it a day. Now what I did right there is I took back control of the matter

because here's the thing: people are not nice lately. They're not. And if you

let that sit with you, if I'd have let that sit with me, and I didn't say anything

back in that situation, I knew that was going to rest on my heart, and I

couldn't do it. And there are times where it's like, turn the other cheek and

don't say anything, but I had something to say, and I said it, and you know

what else I did? I moved that person over to a folder where I shall never see

their messages again. I didn't block them. I knew that I could have, but I did

that because I chose to make sure that I didn't get any more negativity that I

didn't want to be around. Okay, so let's go through that and why I talk to you

about that with this. 


First and foremost, like I said before, you have to prepare for the fact that

you may step into it, and you may not realize. Y'all, I didn't know. I don't have

kids. I didn't realize that back to school was an issue--now I know that, and I

didn't step in it--until my friends were commiserating with me about it. And

I'm like, “That's a thing?” This is a few months ago, but bear with me. I didn't

know that. There are going to be things that you're not going to know that

become hot button issues, but you're going to be like, “Wait, what? Mars is

an issue? Wait, I can't talk about Mars? I love that candy bar!” Just kidding! So

when that happens, when it's a unique and innocent thing, and you just hot

button someone who's being ridiculous, you need to remove that negativity

from you. If you need to say your piece, say your piece, make sure that you

cannot, if you've got to block people, mute them, whatever, do what you

need to do, and then get back to being you. Because what I want you to be

doing is this: I want you to be spreading your superpower. I want you to be

spreading Goodwill. I want you to be spreading positivity. Now, that's what I

want from you. Maybe if that's not your brand, then, then don't do that. But I

think if you're listening to this podcast, and you've been a listener, that is

your brand, and we need that more than anything out there right now. We

can get the negativity. We can find that. That's really easy. Man, we are

humans. We're really good at critiquing things. It is easy to critique. It is not

easy, especially in an environment like this one, to be positive and share that

positivity. But, man, don't you think we need it? So again, if that happens, if

you step in it, ask yourself, “What was the mission of what I was posting?

Was I putting good out there?” If you were, then you shrug that off. You keep

moving; you don't stop. And you remove the negativity. 


Now there are some things that you should stay away from, in my opinion,

just my opinion, and I'm going to go through those and some things I think

you don't get in there because what I don't want you to do is say, “Well,

Roxanne, I feel like I can't post at all. So I'm not going to post anything. Cause

I'm afraid.” Yeah. That's when your business is stagnant. We love social

media. It is free, and it's free marketing for our business. But if you're not

out there on it, you're not using that great skill. You're not using that great

asset that you have there, that tool, I should say. So what should you avoid?

Let's talk about what you avoid first. I might be captain obvious, but avoid

politics. Just avoid it. Now, I said this, “Oh, I remember back in my day I was

doing network marketing. Um, it was four years ago. People were being

ridiculous.” And if you can hear me, you're saying, “Yes, you're being

ridiculous.” And I got onto a large team page and said, “Y'all, let me tell you a

thing or two.” And I told them, I stand by it to say to their face right now, and

I pissed people off. What I said was this, this is my message, okay? I said,

“First of all, before you get butt hurt,” I didn’t use those words, but I'm

paraphrasing, “Now, one way or the other, I want you to know who I am. I

am a child of immigrants, American, who was a contestant on The

Apprentice, got fired by our president, Donald Trump, on TV, and I'm also

black. And guess what I don't do? I don't talk about politics on my social

media. Why? Because while everyone feels like, think about it, just little stuff,

a few things and go further, went to Baylor, the largest Baptist school in the

world,” and I just listed off a bunch of things where people could say, “Oh,

she's on my side. Oh, she's great. She's this. She said this; she must be on

my side.” It could be because back in the day, I wanted to be a Supreme

Court Justice. That was my dream--that was my dream--Sandra Day

O’Connor was my idol. I wanted to be the first black female Supreme Court

Justice, and I learned back then that a Supreme Court Justice should be

nonpartisan. And so then, at that point, I'm like, “I'm not talking about

politics because I need to be impartial.” And that has stuck with me, even

though I probably won't be a Supreme Court Justice, first or second or

otherwise. So I don't talk about politics, which means that I have friends who

believe everything, everything, and they feel like they can talk to me. And my

point about posting this, and I pissed people off on that, and to this day, I

don't know why, except maybe people don't like to hear good sense about it,

is, listen: Half of the country agrees with you, and half of the country does

not agree with you. And we know that this is an issue that divides families

and relations. So why, if you are trying to have a business and use social

media as your platform for business, are you going to get into a sticky

wicket? Now here's the thing. And I know things have changed. I said this

four years ago, things have changed in the sense of, there are certain things

that you're like, “Roxanne, that's a mountain I'm going to die on. And I'm

going to talk about,” and I want you to, I'm not saying don't. I mean, you

know, I paused Rox Talks for a whole episode and had a conversation about

race. So yes, there's mountains that I'm dying on. I'm there with you, but if

it's not a mountain you’re going to die on, then it is not worth talking about

on social media. The people you think agree with you, they don't all agree

with you, and people who don't agree with you, some of them do, and you

will upset someone. So if you're going to do it, be ready for it, but don't be

surprised if you decide to get all political and then you piss people off. Don't

be surprised. And we see a lot of it go around. I mean, I've seen people that I

respected, that have big teams, get out there and say hateful things that

make their team embarrassed, half their team embarrassed, to be part of

that team, and the other half are like, “YES! Thank you.” And it just made me

cry. It didn't just make me cry. It debilitated me for days because I'm an

empathetic person. That stuff hurts. I don't want to see that for you. So if it's

an issue that is not a mountain you're going to die on, you do not need to

pick social media to talk about it. I'm not saying don't talk about the issues.

I'm not saying don't talk about what you believe in, but is Facebook really the

best place? I mean, I gave you the example of that person who sent me that

message, and it hurt my feelings. Now, that person did not speak it. I read it

a certain way. And I took the caps to mean certain things. For all I know, that

person was being jovial and wonderful, but I didn't read it that way. And I

didn't get the chance to read it that way because that person sent it via

message text. Facebook is one dimensional, and that one dimensional

speak, and while it may come across--my mom, used to say, she still says,

“Roxanne, it's not what you say; it's how you say it.”--you do not get an

opportunity to get the “how” when you post it on social media. The “how” is

lost. And so it goes through the filter of the context of whoever is reading it,

and maybe they had a bad day or maybe someone just said something, or

maybe you triggered them. And next thing you know, friends are enemies.

People are unfollowing each other, and blocking them, and all those things.

And is it worth it? If it's not, then don't go there. Don't go there. And maybe I

pissed you off too. Let me know, you can email me

at [email protected]. I'll take it, give it to me. 


Okay, so politics is something that if you're going to tread, know you're

treading in it. Now, if you're posting something like, one of my clients, Mary,

was posting about women's suffrage and she's like, “Am I getting caught?”

Here's the thing: If you're posting about something, and you do not want

political commentary on it, you have every right to say, “No debate on this

post.” I do it all the time. “No debate on this post, people. This is not one for

this. I'm not going there. You know, I don't do that. Here's an observation,

and here it is.” Now, it doesn't mean I'm going to stop it, no, but it does let

people know, “That's not where you're going with this.” Okay? Okay. 


So, #1, you got #1, you may step in it and what you do to get balance it if you

do step in it. Number two, things to stay away from, the first thing being

politics. The second one is politics. The third one is politics. Listen, religion is

fine. You can talk about religion all you want now. And apparently masks can

get you in trouble, and perhaps schools. Let's talk about school because

that's a sticky wicket. Can I talk about it? Can I talk about it? There's drama.

There's things going on. Here's what I want you to know: When it's

something you're not sure if you can talk about, and you're like, “Is it okay

for me to talk about a mask?”, I'm happy to say that I posted a picture

recently, as well, at the Saved by the Max, the Saved by the Bell pop-up, they

had a socially distanced pop up, and we had our masks on, and no one has

given me a hard time yet, at least about that. Anyway, if you are concerned

that what you're going to talk about could get people a little wound up, what

I want you to do is this: Talk about it--and this goes to the dos. So the don'ts

are politics, politics, politics, and more politics. That was the don’ts. Some

things are not politics, technically, but they're politics adjacent. And you're

like, “I didn't mean to get there. That's not where I wanted to be.” Okay. 


So let's talk about what you can talk about. Nostalgia works really well. Talk

about things that make you nostalgic and that may make others nostalgic.

2020 has been a doozy. And so we are looking for those fun times, those

times where we remember them being so wonderful, things like, let me give

you some examples of posts that I've done recently that are nostalgic, that

go over like gangbusters. For example, the Saved by the Bell message that I

just commented on. That one, gangbusters! Another one is The Babysitters

Club. The Babysitters Club show came on Netflix, and they brought a new

rendition of it that is uber popular. Why? Because my generation, my

market, we remember that. We're all over that.  Another one is Supermarket

Sweep came on Netflix. Amazing. They're bringing back Supermarket Sweep, a

brand new one. I'm going to talk about that as well, too, because if you

remember, think of all the fun you could have on Supermarket Sweep! You're

all for it. That's amazing, right? Those are things, nostalgic things. If there is a

reunion, like maybe you're a One Direction fan, it's like, “The One Direction

reunion was awesome!” Nostalgia is something that brings people together,

and there's not a lot of conflict. Like I remember, and I loved the days when

the big issue was NSYNC versus Backstreet Boys. And as far as I'm

concerned, it's still and always will be NSYNC--love you, JC! So things that can

bring people back to nostalgia, a good place to be. 


Another thing that you can definitely talk about is you can create debate

over things that are not that life or death. You remember Molly Mahoney

was on the podcast a few weeks or a month, a few months ago, we talked

about, and she loves talking about the posts that you can all do. If you

haven't done it yet, do it, where it's, “Brussel sprouts. Yes or no?” See,

because like I said before, we love to give our opinions. We love to give our

opinions. So you literally put up a post, “Brussels sprouts. Yes or no?” And

everyone is going to give you their opinion. They're going to keep giving

weeks later, still their opinion. But you know what happened? People didn't

get mad or butt hurt. It's like, “Brussels sprouts, you either like them or you

don’t.” Yes, we feel very opinionated about it, but we're not going to dislike

you if you post it. It’s a safe place to be, to cause that engagement, to talk

about something else, right? Get people going. “Oh, here's a great recipe. I've

never tried it that way. Okay, maybe I’ll try Brussels sprouts.” Finally, do you

remember this episode of this show? The way there was hype about the

Brussels sprouts, go there. Okay? That's a good spot or a place like that. 


Another great thing to post about, and this is the big one that, in my opinion,

crosses the boundary when you're not sure, like you're like, “Golly, all that's

going on in my life is back to school. But I'm afraid to talk about school

because people might get upset. I don't know what to do.” Here's how you

talk about it, because you should be able to talk about things that are going

on in your life. Here's how you talk about it: You talk about it from your

personal experience without creating or putting opinion in it. What's your

personal experience with it? Tell us your story. If you're telling me your story,

I can't, without preaching, without giving me your opinion, I can listen to

that. And it's very, very interesting. And it's not like, “Oh, she must feel this

way about it. She must feel that way about it.” I have clients who are

teachers in the Social Stories community, and they're going through this, like

teaching virtually, remotely, and kids are remote. They have to be on

campus, all these different ways. Talking about that and how hard it is to

figure that all out and how, and that journey, that's something that does not

create debate or riot, it creates empathy. It lets people in on what's going on.

And it's something that is going on in their lives, so it's real world, and they

can talk about it. They're not like, “I've got to figure out something to talk

about.” So if it's something that you're like, “I don't know if I can talk about

this,” if you can talk about it from your personal experience, agnostically,

that's fine. And it's still agnostic to say, “This is hard.” When you start saying,

“I believe we should do this,” that is when it starts to get hard, but just

agnostically talk about it. 


The other thing I want you to know is when there is a comment that is going

South, you have a couple of choices. When it's going a little South, I'd ignore

it. Just ignore it. If it's going way South, hide it. If it's offensive, and you need

to block it, block it. But sometimes you can ignore it, and you can reward

good behavior. I do it all the time. If it's a post where things are like that, I

will like or love all the ones that follow what I want, which is no drama, and if

it's a dramatic one, I just don't respond to it. You don't get a love, you don’t

get a like. You don't get anything from me, no response. You'll be surprised--

that goes a long way and shows people naturally to stay off of the negativity

and stay on the positivity. 


Now these are not foolproof. You might go, “Roxanne, I tried to talk about

Brussels sprouts, and somebody told me that it was just like this candidate

for this race.” Well, I'm sorry to hear that. I cannot give you a hundred

percent foolproof, but these tools are going to help you to navigate it. What I

don't want you to do is to stop going. Don't stop moving. Keep on moving.

Don't stop. Because you stopping promoting what you need to be promoting

because of someone else's negativity is you allowing them to steal your

purpose, to steal your ability to make money, and to put your superpower,

your positivity out there. Now, a couple things I do want to add to that.

When you're doing that, when you're posting, and you're doing these things,

please, I said, positivity is the way to go, obviously, but here's what I find

when people are so afraid, they don't know what to post. Then they just post

about their business. If you've been listening to the podcast for any length of

time, you know, one of the worst things you can do on social media is be

that Flat Stanley. If you're only posting about your business, people don't

want to hear it. They're not interested. Then that's all your bad. I was like,

“Oh no, I'm going to scroll past that.” You’ve got to stop the scroll, and

stopping the scroll is showing different aspects of you. So you want to make

sure that you are talking about the Brussels sprouts, talking about your

experience, maybe back to school shopping, “Do you need a backpack this

year?”, whatever it may be that works for you. Just stay out of the places

where it can get dark really fast and where you don't want it to go there.

Trust me. I've been there. I've been there recently. Didn't want to get there,

but I got there. And so I tell you my cautionary tale, not for you to stop

posting, but for you to be prepared. For you to go, “Okay, it couldn't happen.

If it does, I know how to handle that. And I know how to keep posting, and

I'm not going to stop because this is where I'm supposed to be.” And, by

golly gee willikers, we need your sunshine. We need you to distract us with

Brussels sprouts. We need to hear what's going on in your life. We need you.

Yes, you. Specifically you. Don't think that you're not important because you

are important. So bring that positivity to this world, to your social media.

This is a great time. Now here's a positive thing about this: Because of 2020,

and because of the second half of 2020, people are gonna be online a lot.

They're gonna be online a lot. They're not gonna like everything they see, but

they'll be online a lot. That is good for you. You need to be online a lot as

well, too, because when you're talking about positivity and when you're

talking about things, they're not all about the hullabaloo, they're

appreciating that. They're going to see it. So seize the day, stay relevant, and

remember that at the end of the day, it's about your heart. It's about sharing

your heart, sharing the love, being positive through all of it. 


You're not behind. You're exactly where you need to be. And I, for one, I'm

so glad to be here with you. 

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