The Black Lives Matter movement has led many brands on social media to find better ways to amplify the Black experience, culture, and history in their digital content. And while this is only the beginning of what will be a long journey of learning and growth, there have already been marked changes in the social media content we expect from brands of all types and sizes.
For many of these businesses and plenty of American citizens, this year will be the first that they celebrate Juneteenth. Both on and off social media, you can expect to see a significant increase in recognition of the holiday.
If your brand is preparing to strategize ideas for celebrating Juneteenth on social media, learning more about the holiday and its significance is an important first step. From there, we’ll help you get started with a few do’s and don’ts for Juneteenth social media content, as well as a simple way to be more successful in the world of online marketing.
What is Juneteenth?
Every Fourth of July, Americans celebrate the historic day when the United States declared its freedom. However, on that day in 1776, not all Americans were actually free.
Black people were enslaved for another 87 years and would have to wait another two years for President Lincoln to end slavery with his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation officially. June 19, 1895, marked a pivotal point in history for Black Americans and our country as a whole.
Today, Juneteenth is still celebrated in commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. While Juneteenth is the oldest national celebration of Black freedom, and has long been a deeply important holiday within the Black community, many people have only recently learned its significance. Thanks in large part to the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as increased awareness surrounding the Black American experience, Juneteenth is finally receiving the mainstream recognition it has always deserved.
Why is Juneteenth important?
For generations, July Fourth has been one of our nation’s most celebrated holidays. However, for many Black Americans, their history as an enslaved people has understandably resulted in complex emotions surrounding what is known as America’s “birthday.”
In the Black community, it is Juneteenth that truly signifies freedom. And although it has yet to be recognized as a federal holiday, there are many advocacy efforts to change that sooner rather than later. Until then, a growing number of Black community members, advocates, leaders, and brands alike are honoring the occasion in their own ways.
How Brands Can Celebrate Juneteenth on Social Media
Juneteenth is an occasion to be celebrated, and there’s no better time to recognize the myriad of ways in which Black Americans have been a significant part of the country’s history and culture.
Many brands opt to use their platform to educate their online audience on the origin of Juneteenth and honor Black culture. From spotlighting Black businesses, creative people, and organizations to inviting Black contributors to participate in virtual Q&A on your channel, there are many ways to mark the holiday.
As you begin planning for Juneteenth on social media, here are a few do’s and don’ts to guide you along the way.
DO take the opportunity to educate your audience.
For both brands and citizens, it’s critical to consider the ways in which you seek information about Black culture and history. While Black Americans can certainly provide an unmatched perspective on these topics, it is absolutely not their responsibility to “teach” others about Juneteenth. Instead, individuals should find ways to educate themselves – and brands can help by providing engaging and accurate information.
Spend some time researching Juneteenth, then create content that can expand your audience’s understanding of the significance of the day. It’s an excellent opportunity to utilize your platform to better our society and demonstrate a commitment to important social justice causes.
DO find ways to amplify Black voices.
Black Americans have helped shape our society in so many ways, and yet there has long been a lack of celebration of their contributions. For Juneteenth, your brand can honor the holiday by doing your part to amplify the Black community.
For example, you might create a Facebook post about “10 Black Creative People You Should Know About.” Or, you could curate an Instagram Story series that highlights local Black-owned businesses, tagging each one so that your followers can find them online. Another option is to invite a Black content creator to do a “takeover” so they can speak to their own experiences within your industry.
DON’T use Juneteenth to promote your business.
Juneteenth is a day of celebration and historical significance, not a chance for brands to try to boost sales. Whatever you do, do not take advantage of the holiday to push promotions, products, or your brand on new and existing customers. Not only is it tacky, but it’s also disrespectful to the Black community.
In fact, it might not be a bad idea to put a pause on all promotional material (including sponsored posts and paid ads) for Juneteenth.
DON’T stop your efforts here.
There’s no doubt that June 19th can be an excellent beginning for your brand’s efforts to better support the Black community. However, it’s just that: a beginning.
Celebrate the holiday online, and then continue working to find new ways to support the Black community as a whole. From educating your team to workshopping ideas for amplifying Black voices year-round, there is plenty of work to be done.
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