Black History Month is an annual recognition of the history, achievements, and influence of the Black community.
But in 2021, it’s important for brands and creators to go beyond simply posting a Martin Luther King Jr. quote. Instead, it’s the perfect opportunity to educate your audience, uplift Black creators and businesses, and advocate for change.
In this blog post, we’re sharing 5 ways brands can celebrate Black History Month on social media:
Why Brands Should Celebrate Black History Month on Social Media
A Brief History Lesson
Since 1976, each president of the United States has designated February as Black History Month.
The ASALH dedicated its time to researching the achievements of Black Americans and other people of African descent.
In 1926, the ASALH sponsored a Negro History Week and chose the second week of February to recognize the birth dates of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
The goal was to inspire schools and communities across the United States to organize local celebrations, activities, and lectures in an effort to teach Black history as it had never been taught before.
Between 1926 and 1976, mayors nationwide issued annual proclamations to celebrate Negro History Week. By the 1960s, the week had transformed into a full month of celebrations and was signified by President Gerald Ford as a national observance in 1976.
The Importance of Celebrating Black Culture
2020 saw a resurgence in social activism and conversations about anti-racism, with many brands taking part. And Black History Month can be an extension of that.
But in order to create genuine connections with your audience, remember to support and collaborate with Black-owned businesses, community leaders, and creators year-round.
As you plan your Black History Month content, think about how it fits in your brand’s overall marketing strategy and how you can continue the conversation in the months to follow.
Relive our 2020 LaterCon session with Sonia Thompson about creating an inclusive marketing strategy:
5 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month on Social Media
Creator Spotlights and Q&As
History Lessons and Fun Facts
Amplify Black Voices
Advocate for Change
#1: Creator Spotlights and Q&As
Spotlighting Black creators, entrepreneurs, and Black-owned brands in your industry can be a great way to introduce your audience to people and businesses they can support.
Alternatively, create a carousel post series highlighting Black creators, their work, and why you find them inspirational.
TIP: Remember to set a budget aside when working with creators. It shows that you value their expertise and time, and it can lead to a long-term partnership!
#2: History Lessons and Fun Facts
History lessons are a great way to celebrate Black History Month on social media.
While most brands will think to spotlight Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks, we encourage you to be proactive, do your research, and go beyond the obvious choices!
If you’re an ice cream brand, for example, look into highlighting Alfred Craelle, who patented the ice cream scooper in 1897 after noticing the difficulties hotel waiters had serving ice cream.
Or, if you’re a small business, you could talk about Madam C.J. Walker, America’s first self-made female millionaire.
Work in the book industry? How about sharing books that spotlight Black fashion designers who helped shape the industry as we know it today:
#3: Amplify Black Voices and Pass the Mic
Want to use your social media platform to amplify Black voices in another way? Pass the mic!
Do weekly IGTV or Instagram Stories takeovers where Black creators, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders use your platform to spread their message and speak about their personal experiences.
Last June, singer Selena Gomez passed the mic, and let Black activists and educators take over her Instagram account (with over 200M followers!) to share their perspectives on what was happening in America:
Another way to amplify Black voices? Work on a campaign with a Black digital artist to create beautiful illustrations or videos.
For Netflix’s launch of its Giving Voice documentary, which follows students in an annual August Wilson monologue competition, they collaborated with illustrator Monica Ahanonu to create the documentary’s stunning artwork:
Black History Month is also a great time to sponsor an event created by a Black-owned business or creator.
This allows you to support their content and community without taking up too much space.
#4: Quote Posts
Inspirational quote posts are frequently shared on social media because they can drive engagement for brands and creators alike.
And for Black History Month, there are so many inspirational Black voices and leaders to spotlight:
You can also use quote posts as an opportunity to share what you’ve been doing as a brand since posting a black square in June 2020 and how that’ll continue in 2021.
Another way to leverage quote posts is by using them as discussion prompts. Posting thought-provoking quotes by Black voices can be used to educate your audience and encourage deeper conversations.
The Creative Collective NYC’s post generated hundreds of comments:
#5: Support the Community and Advocate for Change
Black History Month is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about local nonprofits and offer ongoing monetary support.
For example, during Pride Month in 2020, beverage brand Sunwink donated 100% of proceeds from their Hibiscus Mint Unwind tonic to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute in efforts to support the Black transgender community:
You can also use Black History Month to highlight an issue within your industry and share how you’re advocating for change.
If you work in the retail space, speak on the lack of Black-owned brands on store shelves, and what you are doing to address it. Take notes from Canadian book retailer Indigo who joined the 15 Percent Pledge last year:
This year, as you create content to celebrate Black History Month on social media, consider these tips! And hopefully, they’ll be a starting point for creating a more inclusive social media strategy in 2021 and beyond.
Ready to plan and schedule your social media posts and videos? Later makes it easy — get started (for free)!