We see the power of social media with personal communication, brand awareness and politics, and on Wednesday, Jan. 25 we saw the power of social media for a cause.
On Wednesday I participated in Bell Let’s Talk Day, which aims to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around mental health issues. On this day, Bell donates 5¢ more to mental health initiatives for every Bell text, mobile and long-distance call, use of the Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat geofilter, view of the Bell Let’s Talk video on Facebook, and tweet and Instagram post using the #BellLetsTalk hashtag.
The college where I work hosted a Bell Let’s Talk event to raise awareness of mental health issues and increase participation in the Bell Let’s Talk social media efforts. Mental health is such an important topic in post-secondary institutions because college and university can be very stressful; there are so many social and academic pressures during this period in your life.
At this event, students and staff were encouraged to share #BellLetsTalk social media messages, enjoy musical performances, gain information about on-campus mental health supports, take some Bell Let’s Talk swag, and relieve stress by painting a canvas or riding an exercise bike. There was strong participation in the event and it was great to see everyone gather for a good cause.
“Mental health issues are often misunderstood and surrounded by stigma, but this initiative for dialogue and awareness is making it seem less taboo.”
But my campus were not the only ones participating in Bell Let’s Talk. According to the Bell Let’s Talk media release, there were more than 131 million Bell Let’s Talk interactions! How amazing is it that millions of people made the effort to show their support for mental health? Mental health issues are often misunderstood and surrounded by stigma, but this initiative for dialogue and awareness is making it seem less taboo; people are sharing their personal journeys with the world and their messages are being received with open minds and open hearts. It is beautiful to see how kind and caring the world can be!
“…the event may also contribute to improving Bell’s brand image”
On my social media feeds, Facebook friends changed their profile pictures to include the Bell Let’s Talk photo frame, and many shared status updates encouraging people to call or text them to help raise money for the cause. What I also noticed in these updates was messaging along the lines of: “regardless of your feelings of Bell as a service provider…” or “while I’m not Bell’s biggest fan…,” which I find interesting—in addition to raising money for a good cause, the event may also contribute to improving Bell’s brand image (a “greedy corporation” doing good might paint Bell in a better light).
I also read Instagram posts where people shared their personal mental health issues and encouraged followers to share their own as well, and I scrolled through countless tweets that helped make #BellLetsTalk a trending topic. I’m sure many of you came across this trending topic on your social media that day as well. According to the Bell Let’s Talk media release, Snapchat and Instagram were new partners to the cause this year, which helped it grow 4.6% from 2016. The end result, Bell Let’s Talk announced on Twitter, is a donation of $6,585,250.50 to mental health initiatives.
This visibility on mental health issues will help educate others and, I hope, end the stigma. I think for Bell as a communications company, this is the perfect cause to give to because talking about mental health issues and listening to those struggling is so important. And as a company with many negative customer reviews (ask around, how many of your friends have Bell customer service horror stories?), organizing an event to give back will certainly help improve their image.
Personally, whether Bell is donating to mental health initiatives because they genuinely care or because it’s a savvy public relations move, I’m just happy a powerhouse like Bell has taken on this important cause and is helping bring people together.
Do you think Bell organizes Bell Let’s Talk just for the sake of doing good or is it just a clever marketing move? (Or can it be both?)
— Social media posts —
Facebook: Canadians came together on social media to support Bell Let’s Talk, a conversation about mental health issues and a fundraiser for mental health initiatives in Canada. In “Bell Let’s Talk shows the power of social media to do good,” I discuss the event and the added brand benefits it may have for Bell. Check it out here: https://goo.gl/A3eX4P
Twitter: Did you support #BellLetsTalk? Let’s talk about the movement and the brand benefits it may have for #Bell https://goo.gl/A3eX4P