Black History Month is an annual recognition of the history, achievements, and influence of the Black community.
But in 2023, 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, support Black creators or businesses, and advocate for change.
Keep scrolling to learn how brands can celebrate Black History Month on social media this year.
Why Brands Should Celebrate Black History Month on Social Media
#1: A Brief History Lesson
Since 1976, each president of the United States has designated February as Black History Month.
The origin of Black History Month can be traced even further back to 1915, when an organization called the ASALH, led by Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson was formed.
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.
Today, Black History Month is also celebrated in other countries around the world, including Canada (who also celebrate in February) and the UK (who celebrate in October).
#2: The Importance of Diversity in Marketing
Diversity in marketing is important to both millennials and Gen Z. And with huge buying power, these generations will drive spending habits in the years to come.
While celebrating Black History Month is a great step, supporting and collaborating with Black-owned businesses and creators year-round will help build genuine connections.
And don't forget that it takes more than just showing up on social media — your company culture matters too. Your brand should hold the same values externally and internally.
Want to create a more inclusive marketing strategy? Watch our Business of Belonging workshop with strategist Sonia Thompson.
5 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month on Social Media
As you plan your Black History Month content this year, here are five ways to show up on social media:
Creator and Business Spotlights
Pass the Mic
History Lessons and Noteworthy Facts
Advocate for Change
#1: Creator and Business Spotlights
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.
Create a carousel post series highlighting Black creators, their work, and why you find them inspirational.
Take a look at how Adobe spotlights artist Vanessa Brantley Newton for their #WomenCreateWednesday social media series:
And Refinery29’s Unbothered shares creators and businesses to support throughout the month:
#2: Pass the Mic
The idea behind "passing the mic" is to use your platform to elevate and amplify Black stories — in their own words.
Think of it as letting them take centre stage, while you support from the sidelines.
You can do this by hosting an Instagram Stories takeover where Black creators use your platform to speak about their personal experiences.
Or, you can take it a step further and hand over the reigns completely.
At Later, we passed the mic to Jam Gamble, Dante Nicholas, Brandon Smithwrick, and Jayde Powell to have a candid conversation via Later's Instagram Live about supporting Black creators (and businesses) year-round:
Remember: you don't need millions of followers to pass the mic! Use this as an opportunity to educate your community — regardless of its size.
#3: History Lessons and Noteworthy Facts
History lessons are a great way to celebrate Black History Month on social media.
While most brands might 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.
Likewise, a non-profit could share short clips about the Black pioneers who've inspired or advocated for their cause.
These history lessons can be done through feed posts, Instagram Reels, Facebook Stories, Instagram Guides, Twitter threads, YouTube videos, or even blog posts on your website.
DID YOU KNOW: Later offers discounts to non-profit organizations fighting against racism, and more. Get all the details and apply here!
#4: Quote Posts
Inspirational quote posts are often 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 leverage quote posts by using them as discussion prompts, like The Creative Collective NYC who generated hundreds of comments:
TIP: Create a carousel post full of thought-provoking quotes to educate your audience and encourage deeper conversations.
#5: Support the Community and Advocate for Change
Black History Month is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about local community initiatives and offer ongoing monetary support.
You can promote an exclusive product and donate a portion of the proceeds to a social cause, like Kotn:
Or, you can use the month to highlight an issue within your industry and share how you're pushing for change.
For example, take department store powerhouse Macy's who joined the 15 Percent Pledge — an initiative advocating for major retailers to allocate 15% of their shelf space to BIPOC-owned businesses:
Black History Month is an opportunity to raise awareness and connect with your audience on a deeper level.
And with a solid social media strategy, you'll be helping to create a more inclusive digital space in 2023 — and beyond.
Ready to plan and schedule your social media posts and videos? Later makes it easy — get started (for free)!