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How Brands Can Celebrate Juneteenth on Social Media

Is this your first year celebrating Juneteenth? 

If so, you’re probably not alone. But thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, you can expect both brands and citizens to celebrate the holiday on, and off, social media this year. 

To help you better understand the holiday and how brands can successfully celebrate Juneteenth on social media, we asked social media strategist and photographer Dante Nicholas to share his knowledge on the day!

What is Juneteenth?

Most people are familiar with the celebration and history behind the Fourth of July. However, when 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 2 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.

Check out this video by Inside Edition on the history and importance of Juneteenth: 

Why is Juneteenth Important?

In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s more important than ever to know the history of Juneteenth. 

When the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, slavery still existed in America. So the Fourth of July holiday has always felt slightly tainted for many in the Black community. 

Fans of ABC’s Black-ish may remember the “Juneteenth” episode from Season 4, which was a major step in pushing the holiday into pop culture and educating people about the importance of Juneteenth:

Though Juneteenth has yet to be declared a federal holiday, many people in the Black community and many brands alike are making a point to celebrate the holiday this year. 

At Later, we’ve added Juneteenth to our free downloadable holidays calendar — so every brand and social media manager has a reminder to celebrate the day.

 
Plus, many brands are taking steps to celebrate the day. Twitter and Square CEO, Jack Dorsey was one of the first to announce that his companies will be honoring Juneteenth as a company holiday from now on, in efforts to help instill a sense of pride in his employees.

Since then, other companies like Nike, Buzzfeed, Adobe, and VSCO have followed suit:

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. It’s a great opportunity to remind all Americans of the many contributions that Black people have made to American culture. 

If it were a normal year, you might see festive celebrations around your city. But, due to COVID-19, much of the celebration this year will be taking place online. And with that in mind, your brand should use this opportunity to respectfully celebrate Juneteenth!

Utilize the day to not only educate your audience on its origin, but to also celebrate Black culture! 

Use your social platforms to put a spotlight on Black-owned businesses and Black-led community organizations. If you’re a fashion brand, create a “5 Amazing Black Fashion Influencers to Follow” list, utilizing each social channel’s unique features to create a cohesive campaign that varies per channel.

 

A fun and interactive idea could be to host a virtual Q&A event (Instagram Live, Facebook and Instagram Rooms, etc.) with a Black influencer or community organizer in your industry. 

Alternatively, coordinate having a Black influencer do an Instagram Stories takeover, where they speak to their personal experiences within your respective industry — whether that’s food, beauty, healthcare, or anywhere in between.

Amplifying Black voices is now more important than ever, so these actions will be an easy and respectful way to celebrate Juneteenth in 2020.

Tips for Celebrating Juneteenth on Social Media

So, now you’re ready to start strategizing some Juneteenth content! Here are a couple of quick do’s and don’ts to help you get started.

DO: Use Hints of Red, Green, & Black When Creating Juneteenth Graphics 

These are the 3 colors of the Pan-African flag: a flag that represents all people of the African Diaspora and symbolizes freedom.

Even if you have a branded color palette for your brand, please spend time finding ways to integrate these colors for your Juneteenth social media posts.

DO: Use the Smithsonian’s Free-to-use Image Library 

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), so that means you can use, transform, and share the assets without asking permission from the Smithsonian. 

You can also use the general Creative Commons image database to find images to use in your content.

When it comes to modern stock photography, look into Black-owned stock photo sites like TONL

A lot of times, it can be hard to find high-quality and diverse stock photos on well-known sites. Sites like TONL are changing that by specializing in telling culturally diverse and authentic stories through their stock photo library. 

DO: Educate Your Audience (as They May Not be Familiar With the Holiday) 

But, remember to also amplify Black voices and businesses if it makes sense for your brand to do so!

A caption could be started off with the following: “Happy #Juneteenth! One of the most sustainable ways to support the Black community is to amplify Black voices. With that said, here are 5 Black-owned businesses that you can support today!” 

DON’T: Use Juneteenth as an Opportunity to Host a Sale for Your Business 

No one wants to be that brand who becomes a hashtag for the wrong reasons!

Remember this is a celebration and an opportunity to educate and elevate Black voices — now is not the time to push sales on your community. 

You may even want to pause paid-for ads and sponsored posts promotions for June 19th. 

DON’T: Stop Here! 

Use this as a launching pad for learning more about the history of Juneteenth and how your brand can better support the Black voices in your industry!

If this is your first time celebrating Juneteenth, spend time with your team workshopping more ways you can support your Black community year-round. 

If you’d like to learn more about Juneteenth, check out this awesome interactive tour put together by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. 

To help kick-off celebrations, here are a few of my favorite Black voices that I think you should all follow on Instagram!

#1: Power Pump Girls, Inc.

#2: Curious Tribe

#3: The Creative Collective NYC

#4: Yasmine Bedward

 

#5: DevanOnDeck

Hopefully, this brief history and few tips have given you some inspiration and insight to kick off a Juneteenth social strategy this year! 

For more guides and tips on creating social media content and strategies, sign up to the Later newsletter! 

 

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Written By

Dante Nicholas

Dante is a social media strategist & photographer based in New Orleans, LA. He’s helped develop and manage social campaigns for dozens of clients. You can connect with him on Instagram @allthingsdante.

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