Social Media Marketing Blog

How Brands Can Celebrate Juneteenth on Social Media

By Dante Nicholas
Updated on June 8, 2022
6 minute read

Tl;dr: Juneteenth is not a commercial opportunity.

Published May 11, 2021

Juneteenth is an annual celebration that marks the freedom of Black people in the US.

But before rushing to post on June 19, it's important to understand the history of Juneteenth — and what it really means for your brand.

Guest writer and social strategist, Dante Nicholas, shares five ways to celebrate Juneteenth on social media, as well as a brief history lesson, below.

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What Is Juneteenth?

Most people are familiar with the celebration and history behind Independence Day.

But while the United States became free in 1776, enslaved Black people weren’t freed 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, Fourth of July celebrations 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 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.

And with Juneteenth now a federal holiday, many brands have started to acknowledge the day — with some having made statements as far back as 2020.

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.

If you decide to celebrate Juneteenth as a brand this year, it's important to first take note of what you're doing internally.

Does your workplace reflect an inclusive and diverse environment? Or do you have more work to do? If you're an American brand, do your employees get the day off?

Once you've answered those questions, here are five tips for celebrating Juneteenth on social media:

  1. Educate Your Community

  2. Spotlight Black-owned Businesses and Creators

  3. Use Hints of Red, Green, and Black in Your Juneteenth Graphics

  4. Use Diverse Images and Stock Photography Websites

  5. Don’t Use Juneteenth As an Opportunity to Sell

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 Instagram Live series, 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 can also use this day as an opportunity to amplify Black voices, businesses, and community-led organizations.

An interactive idea could be to host an event (virtual works too!) with a collection of businesses or influencers.

Alternatively, pass the mic to Black creators for Instagram Stories takeovers, where they speak to their personal experiences within your industry — whether it’s fashion, television, healthcare, or beyond.

You could even spotlight non-profits you support, creating an opportunity for your audience to also donate or amplify their initiatives.

TIP: It goes without saying, but any creator or business you work with should be paid for their time, expertise, and work.

Need a head start in your search? Check out our blog post: 30 Impactful Black Creators to Follow on Social Media.

Tip #3: Use Hints of Red, Green, and Black in Your Juneteenth Graphics

The Pan-African flag is a symbol of freedom, represents all people of the diaspora, and has three main colours.

Even if you have a dedicated color palette for your brand, try 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.

When it comes to finding more diverse stock photography, Black-owned stock photography sites like Nappy, TONL, and CreateHER Stock are also great resources.

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 Juneteenth-branded products.

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 about the holiday.

It's 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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