HOW TO INFLUENCE CHANGE THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA AND MAKE AN IMPACT
Most of us grow up with the dream of changing the world but as we get older, figuring out what that really means and how to actually “change the world” can be overwhelming. Here at Sidewalker Daily, we have an internal motto – “small change affects big change” – that we want to share with you in addition to providing you with some ideas on how to influence change using the power of social media.
The truth is, just by doing something within your reach can create small change and positively affect the lives of those around you…which to us, IS changing the world.
As world travelers and people who are constantly on the move, we want to take this motto on the road with us to have positive impact wherever we go. Whether it’s volunteering at a local non-profit in Togo or bringing school supplies to donate to children in Albania, there are tons of ways to give back to the communities we visit and also use your influence to inspire your followers and fans to do the same.
Let’s make a pact as a community to come together to show the positive effects of social media and how we can influence people to adopt the motto, “small change affects big change” so all of our efforts, collectively, will change the world!
When It Comes To How To Influence And Lead, Martinique Is At The Forefront Of The Movement!
Cue in Martinique Lewis, a leader in important conversations in our industry. From issues such as diversity to using influence to create change, she is making some serious moves and we’re excited to have her share her insight with our community! We asked Martinique to give our community some tips on using influence to impact change while traveling and also share examples of social change through social media…all from her personal experience!
So Here It Is, How To Influence Change Through Social Media By Martinique Lewis!
A wise man once said, ‘’You shouldn’t do work to be seen, but be seen doing work!’’
As influencers, we have an opportunity to make an impact in every country we visit. We use the word influencer so loosely but who and what are we really influencing? As guests in other countries, we have a duty not only to leave a place how we found it, but leave it better than how we found it. Traveling from country to country, we need to remind ourselves to deposit as much as we withdraw and a way to do that is through voluntourism and giving.
With the power of social media we can influence our followers to do good in every country they visit. We are leaders and leading by example means positively impacting our community at home and communities we have encountered abroad. If memes can spread like wildfire not even 3 hours after an event happens, so can our impact and ability to affect change and be the change we wish to see. So before leaving a place ask yourself, did I use my influence to make an impact?
As content creators, challenge yourself often to capture things your audience hasn’t seen. In a market where travel videos can be found on every social platform, all influencers should make it their priority to show others how they can be socially conscious when visiting desired destinations. Being socially aware and contributing to a place not only changes your perspective as a tourist, but the local community’s perspective of tourists in general. It also supports tourism boards working with influencers who might not have accepted influencer marketing as a means of brand visibility.
Jay Cole | @thatgirljaycole helping locals do a beach cleanup in the Garifuna community of Honduras.
Working in the industry as a diversity in travel consultant, I have the opportunity to work with travel brands and tourism boards on projects that promote tourism in lesser known locations. Targeting diverse millennials has been awesome as these travel groups have grown significantly in the past 3 years and the amount of dollars they spend in travel annually has increased. Not only have these trips encouraged travelers to add new destinations to their bucket lists, but they have also helped the economies of smaller destinations to be impacted greatly by the increase in visits.
My favorite experience was when I ran an influencer trip to the beautiful island of Roatan, Honduras in conjunction with Emmanuel Asfura of Island Journey Tours and Pristine Bay Resort. After planning out the seven day itinerary, we both agreed our giveback was needed in the midst of the scheduled water sports, amazing food, animal interactions and more.
A giveback was important to us because we wanted the Island of Roatan to know we supported them in every way possible! After researching different organizations we could donate to, Emmanuel and I agreed our giveback session was going to be with Arnaldo Auld K-8 primary school. We decided on this school after a student selling raffle tickets approached Emmanuel. When Emmanuel asked him why the school needed money the young boy replied, ‘’So we can buy socks.’’ Naturally this affected us as we realized how many things we take for granted. These students were in need of personal and school items and we knew we had to take action!
Before the trip, we sent out the itinerary to each influencer and included a section about the giveback. We also provided a list of items they could donate such as clothing and school supplies. The day of the giveback everyone was so excited to meet the kids and we were overwhelmed with the support from the influencers as they exceeded our expectations! Upon arrival we were able to give school supplies and clothing to those who needed it most.
Furthermore, for these students to have a visit from influencers they’ve seen on social media and TV was amazing! Not only did we give them the tangible things they desperately needed, we also gave them our time, our energy and our love. We spent about 3 hours at the school, playing, dancing and reading with the kids. Not everyone spoke Spanish but the language barrier was no issue. We all understood smiles and laughter and it was truly an experience that was life changing! People might feel like we blessed those students, but we were the ones blessed and learned many valuable lessons that day.
Influencers and students at the school giveback in Honduras.
With the power of social media, over 25 million people saw the impact we had on those students and asked how they could help. We couldn’t believe the amount of concern and the outpour of love all of our followers had for this primary school. They saw them using bottles as soccer balls and kicking them into goals with no net. They saw the lack of resources they had to effectively learn and they wanted to do something about it!
Because of their concerns, and desire to help I was able to visit two weeks later and gifted the school with new soccer balls, goals, bubbles, jump ropes and work books. When I entered the school to meet the principle he was in tears, he told me that when we came the first time he couldn’t believe people wanted to help and that we did in that capacity. So for us to show up again with more things let him know his prayers had been answered!
Some other notable influencer trips that included a giveback component was Jet Blue’s trip to the Dominican Republic in November 2018 where they invited influencers to help build structures and clean up a local neighborhood. Or the Travel Points Guy’s trip to Puerto Rico in January 2018 when he invited others to help host a clean up after the devastating hurricane.
Imagine if we all took this approach as influencers – we would change the way people take vacations and travel as a whole. Although it isn’t always easy to connect with people in need while traveling abroad, there are always blogs and resources to help you locate organizations and schools you can give back to.
Jenna Frumes | @jenafrumes donating school supplies at the school giveback in Honduras
5 Ways To Impact And Influence While Traveling Abroad.
If you’re looking for ways on how to influence change during your travels, I have a list of ideas to help you get started!
1. Donate clothes: Let’s admit it, we all have way more clothes than we need or wear! Whenever you’re on a trip always bring some extra clothes with you to donate. Gently worn clothes and shoes are ideal because someone can always use them. If you are unsure as to who to give them to, ask your hotel or tour staff. A lot of times the staff can take the items and deliver them to people in need.
2. Find a local school prior to your trip and donate school supplies: A lot of the conditions that some of our future global citizens learn in aren’t the best. Simple things like paper, pens and even jump ropes can make a HUGE difference. Not only are you supporting the students, you’re supporting the school staff who often use their own finances to fund classrooms.
3. Support the locals: Who doesn’t love authentic things! Whether it be a souvenir, food or memories, supporting the local economy feeds families and keeps money circulating through that community. Instead of eating at popular chains every night, dine at local restaurants. Visit the destinations market place and contribute to the artisans from that country!
4. Do a cleanup project: When visiting third world countries or places recently hit by natural disasters, they can always use the extra hands. Research organizations that serve as relief to the different neighborhoods in the destination. Building homes, beach cleanups, and things like trash removal can really help!
5. Volunteer at an animal sanctuary: This one is IMPORTANT! As influencers who love doing it for the gram, we have to be aware of the photos we post with animals. As much as we want pictures with them, always make sure that the places you visit are sanctuaries and not places that are treating the animals unfairly. For years, so many of us visited popular places not realizing the animals were sedated, but ask yourself ‘’would this animal be this calm in its natural environment? Are they walking around freely or are they chained? Are they being disciplined harshly when they don’t obey commands or are they treated with love? Do they look sick, discolored and lifeless, or healthy and full of energy? These are all key indicators that something is wrong!
One thing a lot of us don’t realize is that some zoos are actual rescue centers and you can volunteer in them! Like the Belize Zoo – they help nurse animals back to health from injuries and complications in the wild. They allow you to come in and help feed and bathe them. This allows you to learn about the animals and how you can help preserve different species.
Corinne Carr | @corinnecarrfit learning about wildlife at Gumbalimba Park in Honduras.
The key to all of this is documenting these experiences so everyone can see the impact you are making and be inspired to do the same. It’s also a great way to show the positive impact of social media!
Don’t forget to tag the places properly and include them in your blogs and vlogs. And also make sure you provide links for your audience to follow in your footsteps and help someone in need! Be unique in your delivery so people get excited and use your platform to encourage others to be the best tourist they can be on their travels.
I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes: ‘’Life’s most persistent and urgent question is….. what are you doing for others?’’ –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Jimmy | @justjimmyy_ with his new furry BFF in Honduras.
Let’s Make A Pact…To Make A Positive Impact!
At Sidewalker Daily, we truly believe that the influence of social media on society can create positive change and hope you were inspired by Martinique’s work. If you’re looking to improve your social media influence, we encourage you to take her suggestions to heart when traveling and find ways to give back along the way.
Making it a priority in your business to constantly improve your leadership and influence skills is just as important as landing brand partnerships. Why? Because the more we’re able to do with our influence as a community, the more accepting brands, tourism boards and companies will be to our industry and work.
Cheers to doing great things and making a positive impact on your local communities, the communities we visit and the lives of people around the world!