Is this your first year celebrating Juneteenth?
If so, you’re probably not alone.
As awareness of the holiday continues to increase, we want to help you better understand its history and how your brand can successfully celebrate Juneteenth on social media.
What is Juneteenth?
Most people are familiar with the celebration and history behind Independence Day. While the United States became free in 1776, Black people weren’t freed from slavery at that time.
In fact, Black people were not declared free for another 87 years. And even still, it took an additional two years beyond Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation for the last enslaved people to be freed in Galveston, TX.
June 19, 1865 – Juneteenth – is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
Why is Juneteenth Important?
When the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, slavery still existed in America. So the Fourth of July holiday can feel slightly tainted for many in the Black community.
Fans of ABC’s Black-ish may remember the “Juneteenth” episode from Season 4, which was pushed the holiday into pop culture and educated many about its importance:
Today, social activism is more prominent on social media than ever before, and awareness of Juneteenth has grown tremendously.
Though Juneteenth has yet to be declared a federal holiday, many brands have made a point to celebrate the holiday.
Twitter and Square CEO, Jack Dorsey, was one of the first to announce that his companies will be honoring Juneteenth as a company-wide holiday:
(June 19th) a company holiday in the US, forevermore. A day for celebration, education, and connection.https://t.co/xmR3fWMiRs
Since then, other companies like Nike, Buzzfeed, Lyft, and VSCO have also followed suit.
Starting this year, we’re making Juneteenth an official holiday at Lyft. It’s one step in our ongoing journey toward racial equality at Lyft, and in this country.— Lyft (@lyft) June 13, 2020
So, what’s Juneteenth? ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/DZjLbD8RBR
In addition to businesses acknowledging Juneteenth as an official holiday, many brands are also taking to social media to celebrate the date.
Never miss an important date on social media — download our free social media holidays calendar:
How Brands can Celebrate Juneteenth on Social Media
At its heart, Juneteenth is a day of celebration.
It’s a celebration of the journey and freedom of Black people in the US, and a great opportunity to acknowledge the many contributions that Black people have made to American culture.
In years past, you might have seen Juneteenth celebrations around your city. This year however, due to COVID-19, much of the celebration will likely take place online.
With that in mind, here are five tips for celebrating Juneteenth on social media:
Tip #1: Educate Your Community (As They May Not Be Familiar With the Holiday)
The first step to celebrating any holiday is understanding its history.
One way to do this is by educating your audience about Juneteenth. You could create an in-depth YouTube video, an IGTV series, fun and educational Instagram Reels, or even a carousel post driving traffic to a blog full of more information:
Using the day to give a short history lesson can increase awareness about why Juneteenth is culturally significant, and even prompt deeper discussions.
Tip #2: Spotlight Black-owned Businesses, Creators, and Community-led Organizations
Educating your community about Juneteenth is important, but you could also use this day as an opportunity to amplify Black voices, businesses, and community-led organizations.
Alternatively, coordinate having a Black influencer do an Instagram Stories takeover, where they speak to their personal experiences within your industry — whether that’s fashion, television, healthcare, or beyond.
You could even use it as an opportunity to spotlight non-profits or organizations you support, creating an opportunity for your audience to amplify their initiatives.
Need a head start in your search? Check out our blog post: 18 Impactful Black Creators to Follow on Social Media.
Tip #3: Use Hints of Red, Green, and Black in Your Juneteenth Graphics
These are the three colors of the Pan-African flag: a flag that symbolizes freedom and represents all people of the African Diaspora.
Even if you have a dedicated color palette for your brand, spend time finding ways to integrate these colors for your Juneteenth social media posts.
If you want to find out more, this Code Switch podcast from NPR dives deeper into the history behind the colors and flag.
Tip #4: Use Diverse Images and Stock Photography Websites
If you’re looking for images, head straight to the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History & Culture’s open access image library.
These historic images have been released into the public domain as Creative Commons Zero (CC0), meaning you can use, transform, and share the assets without asking for permission.
These websites specialize in telling culturally diverse and authentic stories, and can help you find high-quality photos for your Juneteenth celebrations.
Tip #5: Don’t Use Juneteenth As an Opportunity to Sell
Juneteenth is a celebration, an opportunity to educate your audience, and elevate Black voices. It is not the time to push sales.
Depending on your business, you may even want to pause paid-for ads and sponsored post promotions for the day.
If this is your first time celebrating Juneteenth on social media, use these tips as a launch pad for creating content surrounding the holiday.
Juneteenth is an opportunity to connect with your audience and raise awareness, but it shouldn’t be an event viewed in isolation. Consider how your content strategy supports diversity and inclusion every day, from the content you share to the creators you partner with.
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