How to Plan a Pride Campaign on Social Media
June is Pride Month, which means collective voices from across the globe are coming together to support and honor our LGBTQIA+ community.
As a brand, Pride Month offers a chance to celebrate, show support, and raise awareness of LGBTQIA+ rights on your social media channels.
For small businesses, knowing where to start or how to give back without a huge budget can feel difficult, but it’s important to know that Pride celebrations are not just for the mega-brands.
Every social activation (big and small!) goes a long way in challenging dated perceptions and raising awareness.
With COVID-19, social distancing, and the Black Lives Matter movement happening simultaneously, creating a virtual, inclusive, and safe community space on social media is more important than ever.
In this blog post, we want to encourage all businesses to get involved and give back for Pride Month. We’ll be covering the deeper aspects of planning and managing a Pride campaign on social media for your brand — and your wider social community — regardless of your budget or reach!
Pride Goes Virtual for 2020: How Brands Are Navigating COVID-19 for Pride
With social distancing in place to combat the spread of COVID-19, Pride 2020 is set to be reinvented in the virtual space.
And brands, businesses, charities, and organizations are rising to the challenge with plenty of innovative movements to bring Pride communities together, despite being apart.
Last June, over 5 million people came together in New York City to celebrate World Pride, while also commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
And while IRL events like the iconic Pride Parade may be placed on hold this year, it opens up creative opportunities to bring fundraising and awareness drives to social media.
Not only does this cut the cost of a Pride activation campaign, but more importantly it makes it accessible to everyone — which is exactly how Pride should be.
Speaking to Elle, CEO, and founder of gender-neutral clothing label The Phluid Project, Rob Smith explains that “celebrating virtually affords us the opportunity to use digital and social media to be intentional about visibility and representation across our entire community.”
Globally, brands are softening their approach to “Pride products” and merchandise this year, and instead shifting their focus to virtual events.
Skincare brand Kiehl’s has dropped Pride-themed products completely and is instead focusing their efforts on bringing their community together in 2020.
Kiehl’s is planning an Instagram Live dance party with LGBTQ+ ambassadors as part of a partnership with LGBTQ+ non-profit The Trevor Project, to which it is donating $100,000.
The brand is also hosting digital discussions with LGBTQ+ advocates throughout June.
One of the first virtual events to mark Pride was Black in Space: A Virtual Black Pride Experience held on May 21. The five-day event celebrated the diversity and resilience of Black LGBTQ+ communities — all held virtually with 85+ artists (including ASL interpreters) contributing to this experience.
But support for the Black Lives Matter Movement, Black Pride, and the LGBTQIA+ community does stop there. Across the US, Pride organizations plan to address the current protests against racism and police brutality, as well as honoring the black activists who shaped Pride’s history.
New York, San Francisco, and LA are just some of the cities dedicating virtual events to supporting Black Pride this year.
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NYC Pride is proud to announce a virtual Rally on Friday, June 26, from 5pm – 8pm. Join us and our partners at @glaad and @thetaskforce as we stream live on Facebook and YouTube. Link in bio to learn more and register! . Hosted by trans journalist Ashlee Marie Preston (@ashleemariepreston) and trans actor Brian Michael Smith (@the_brianmichael), join the community as we rally together to take a stand against police brutality and discrimination. . The first Rally occurred one month after the Stonewall Riots in June 1969, when 500 people gathered for a “Gay Power” demonstration in Washington Square Park, followed by a candlelight vigil in Sheridan Square. . . . #thefuturerallys #thefutureis #lgbt #lgbtq #lgbtqia #queer #bi #gay #lesbian #nyc #newyork #newyorkcity #nonbinary #nonprofitorganization #charity #fundraising #pride #pride🏳️🌈 #nycpride #newyorkpride #nypride #gaypride #lgbtpride #instagay #instaqueer
Similarly, the monthlong virtual Pride celebration, Proudly Resilient, launches this month. Hosted through live stream panelist speakers, Proudly Resilient will touch on a variety of LGBTQ+ topics, from conversations on racial violence to discussions about the future of the LGBTQ+ community in sports.
In some cases, adds Smith, virtual Pride will bring festivities to those who haven’t had access to it before.
“If you are a non-binary kid in rural America, you’ll be able to experience Pride the same way as everyone else for the first time,” says Smith. Making virtual gatherings and events more important than ever before.
There’s no denying that both brands and charitable organizations are coming together to bring Pride celebrations and awareness events to the virtual space.
And with a host of new social media features — like Instagram Live Donations, Facebook and Instagram Messenger Rooms, and the worldwide rollout of the Instagram Stories Donate sticker — and a whole new platform, TikTok, to take advantage of, there’s even more ways to make your celebrations virtual.
@sethobrienrainbow brows ##makeup♬ GOOBA – 6ix9ine
So as a brand on social media, you have a real opportunity this year to make a difference.
To help you take your virtual Pride celebrations to the next level, we’re sharing our top tips, gathered by the wider Later team, community, and network:
Tips for Planning & Running a Successful Pride Campaign on Social Media
We’re sharing the top tips we’ve learned from members of the LGBTQIA+ community (both here at Later and beyond!), the brands and businesses on Instagram that we love, and the wider charities and organizations working year-round for the cause.
Here are our top tips for running a successful Pride campaign for your brand and community on social media:
Tip #1: A Successful Pride Campaign on Social Media Starts with Education
While Pride is most definitely a celebration, a successful Pride campaign should have education and awareness at its core.
It’s easy to forget (amongst the glorious glitter and rainbows!) that Pride Month is celebrated in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan — a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.
So as a brand, it’s important to take this time to not only celebrate Pride, but to also raise awareness and improve education on the Pride movement.
And that awareness starts within your company and can spread much further with the right kind of Pride content on social media.
For example, influencer @TyFrench dedicated his Instagram feed last June to educating his audience on the meaning behind the Pride flag:
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HAPPY PRIDE MONTH 🏳️🌈 ❤️ leading up to this month, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what pride means to me. And one of the thoughts that crossed my mind was why is the rainbow flag a symbol of pride? I quickly found out it’s because the colors reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. And did you know the original creator of the flag had a different meaning for each color? Red on the Pride flag stands for LIFE. The color of blood and fire. Red is assertive, daring, determined, energetic, impulsive and aggressive. #pride #tyfrenchPRIDE🏳️🌈
Over the course of two weeks, Ty created his very own rainbow on his Instagram feed, with each post telling the history of the Pride flag, and what Pride means to him:
Similarly, social movement Love Has No Labels, used their Instagram channel to promote acceptance and inclusion of all people across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and ability.
For Pride 2019, @lovehasno_ created dedicated Instagram feed posts to help followers better understand Pride Month, and provided resources to help people better educate themselves on the cause, and support those of the LGBTQIA+ community:
It’s important that at this early stage of planning your campaign that you and your team take the time to get clued up on Pride Month and start to conceptualize a campaign that is rooted in improving awareness and education amongst your community.
Instagram also took a strong stance on education and awareness last year with their #UntoldPride campaign.
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It’s Pride Month – officially! 🌈⚡️🦄 – and Aaron Philip (@aaron___philip) has a message for young LGBTQ+ people: “Take care of each other and keep growing. This is your world and everywhere is your space,” says the 18-year-old fashion model. “Soak it all up.” This June, we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community by sharing stories of #UntoldPride. “Pride to me means acknowledging the roots and history of our community and holding space to collectively uplift and take care of one another,” Aaron says. Follow along this month and beyond as we shine a spotlight on people who are making a difference just by being themselves, and check out @lgbt_history to see even more stories of #UntoldPride. Photo of @aaron___philip by @ohmakeda
With the goal to help their Instagram audience reflect, connect, and share what it means to be LGBTQIA+, the #UntoldPride campaign is collaborating with charities, creators, artists, athletes, and many others from the LGBTQIA+ community.
In New York, Instagram also partnered with @lgbt_history to dig into the rich LGBTQIA+ history of the city.
Instagram curated 10 installations to highlight the lesser-known historic pioneers, places, and movements that have paved the way for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Tip #2: Ask Your LGBTQIA+ Staff to be Involved in the Campaign
Inclusivity starts from within your business, so it’s essential to have your Pride campaign be led by your LGBTQIA+ team members!
Regardless of whether they’re part of your marketing team or not, invite them to be involved — it’s a great opportunity to have real voices raising awareness for a cause that is close to their hearts.
Plus, their passion and understanding of the Pride movement will be a huge asset in the decision making process on how you decide to communicate with your social audience.
Check out how @marinelayer celebrated their LGBTQIA+ staff members last year:
Don’t have any LGBTQIA+ staff members? Reach out to your friends, customers, or community members to get them involved!
Later has been celebrating Pride since we’ve launched, and throughout the years we’ve asked our LGBTQIA+ teammates for insight, input, and inspiration.
Whether that was crowdsourcing and brainstorming ideas, or being the face of our @latermedia’s Instagram Stories posts, we asked for help from our Later teammates every step of the way. (hi Tyler (@tylorlukas), Exequiel, and Sam (@withwyrd), thank you!)
When we spoke to our friends, colleagues, and peers in the social media world, everyone had a similar feeling towards Pride campaigns — when they’re led by members of the community, you can really focus on the important Pride stories, and better understand what the movement means to them.
Wishing to remain anonymous, a friend and peer of Later told us that:
“The best content I’ve seen puts queer people within the company, or associated with the company (like vendors, partners, influencers, etc.), front and center and lets them say what matters to them.”
So it’s time to bring teams together for Pride and have your LGBTQIA+ colleagues take the reins for this important cause!
Tip #3: Tell Stories From Your LGBTQIA+ Community
You have a powerful platform at your hands — your Instagram profile regardless of its size is a wonderful place to share your LGBTQIA+ community’s stories and journeys.
For example, outdoors and adventure company REI created a dedicated Pride campaign to help LGBTQIA+ adventurers, tell their stories.
Alisson Xavier (@alisson) was part of REI’s LGBTQ+ Adventurers campaign and shared his story on Instagram Stories:
When it comes to sharing stories and authenticity online, John Colucci, social media strategist in Seattle recommends:
“Be authentic in your approach to the #Pride content you choose.
Go beyond the Pride flag and center it around the word “pride” itself. I like hearing people’s stories of their Pride journey, so perhaps you have some co-workers or customers who want to share a quick testimony of what Pride means to them.”
Last year, Verizon took a heartfelt and meaningful approach to celebrate Pride — their digital campaign featured real stories of people coming out to their relatives and showing how difficult those conversations were:
As brands and business on social media, the more voices and stories we share, the more awareness we can build.
And these real-life stories last in the memories of our readership a lot longer than adding a rainbow emoji to a caption. So it’s time to go deeper and share more meaningful LGBTQIA+ community stories to show your support.
Tip #4: Always Aim to Give Back to Pride Charities and Organizations
Pride is a time to give back to the charities and organizations that are doing great work for LGBTQIA+ rights and awareness.
So if you are planning on creating and selling a product for Pride month, make sure you always dedicate a percentage of the proceeds to a charity that means something to you, and your LGBTQIA+ community.
For example, health and wellness company Dosist, donated 25% of net proceeds during Pride month last year to local LA LGBTQ+ organizations.
Similarly, underwear brand MeUndies (a Later customer!) has been a long-time supporter for LGBTQIA+ rights — last year, MeUndies created its Pride collection in association with DJ and EDM producer GRiZ, an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community:
From every pair sold, $1 was donated to Miley Cyrus’ non-profit Happy Hippie Foundation.
If you don’t have a physical product, there are other ways to support the cause.
Think about hosting or taking part in LGBTQIA+ events, or donating to local charities doing work in your business’ home town.
You could also consider taking part or aid funding for charity events, especially for Pride, like sponsoring local LGBTQIA+ athletes in sporting events or offering free or discounted rates to non-profit charities doing good work for the LGBTQIA+ community.
If you are a non-profit charity, Later offers a 50% discount on an annual subscription for our paid plans! Get in touch with us here to find out more and join the Later family — we’d love to help you continue doing great charitable work!
Tip #5: Let Inclusivity be at the Core of Your Campaign
As a brand or business online, it’s our responsibility to make all people feel safe, seen and heard.
For that reason, inclusivity should be an active mission as part of your Pride campaign, and for your future marketing efforts too.
Aim to have better representation on social media for your community — that means including people of all marginalized or otherwise underrepresented voices.
Regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or other differences, if your marketing efforts focus on inclusivity, you’re on the right track to helping build a wider-community for your brand, business, and safe-space for your followers.
Check out how REI aimed (and succeeded!) in giving a wonderful platform to all people during Pride month:
Regardless of race, sexuality, gender, age, size or shape, REI has built a community of inclusive adventures via their social marketing.
But, this mission shouldn’t just be for Pride — use this month as a catalyst for the future.
Consumers want to see more inclusive marketing campaigns (in fact, inclusive campaigns are proven to be more effective in increasing sales and brand awareness).
And if you really want to reach, represent, and support your diverse community, it’s time to make active shifts towards better inclusive marketing year-round.
Bre Thomas, a freelance social media strategist, told Later that: “It’s less about what you need to do for Pride today and instead, how are you supporting LGBTQIA+ folks year-round?
If you’re gonna talk the talk (by hosting a specific Pride Month campaign) you need to walk the walk and integrate and represent LGBTQIA+ people and their stories in all facets of your marketing from January to December.”
Take for example Fenty Beauty — what started out as Rihanna’s mission to deliver makeup for all women, her beauty brand has turned into its own movement and safe space for all people of color, race, sexuality, and age:
It’s a great example of how inclusivity should (and must be) the new norm with social marketing — everyone is actively, and continuously represented year-round, not just for Pride.
Josh Machiz, Head of Client Engagement at Nasdaq, explains that “we [Nasdaq] have a responsibility to serve as an example and foster diversity and community throughout our platform.”
While not a social media campaign, the Nasdaq’s annual LGBT Leaders Conference is a continued demonstration of their commitment to equality and diversity in the workplace.
“By hosting an incredible group of LGBTQIA+ corporate professionals, we help to lead the business community by example, showing that Nasdaq and our companies care about LGBTQIA+ people and are committed to creating inclusive workplaces where they can thrive and move up the corporate ladder.”
Another great social movement to promote inclusivity is @findthemonbumble — they have created a beautiful on-going campaign and Instagram feed that celebrates New York’s most inspiring residents:
By showcasing the real people, real voices, and real missions of their Bumble community year round, the brand has created a wonderful platform for those that might otherwise have been under-represented online:
Tip #6: Collaborate with Influencers to Spread Awareness
Collaborating with Instagram influencers is a great way to reach new audiences and spread awareness for your Pride campaign.
Plus, when you work with an influencer that is part of the LGBTQIA+ community, you’re teaming up with someone who is a real voice for your mission. It all comes back to tip #1 and #3 — when you share real stories, you’re building a more inclusive, educational and safe-space platform for your followers!
Actress and trans rights activist Cox acted as a wonderful and empowering spokesperson for the campaign, and highlighted the important #TransIsBeautiful movement to both her, and H&M’s wider social community:
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"Stay true, stay you." Every day I have to take time to reaffirm the truth of where I am in the moment. That truth must not be suppressed, numbed or denied but acknowledged and accepted. It's not always pretty but it's the truth, my truth. Some days I do it better than others. Progress not perfection. … For every item purchased, 10% of sales from @hm s pride collection will be donated to the @free_equal campaign, which supports fair and equal rights to members of the LGBTI+ community. … #TransIsBeautiful #hmpride #HMxme #sponsored
Similarly, @brooksrunning supports their LGBTQIA+ community by teaming up with inclusive run clubs and collaborating with influencers, like @davecoast, to support their LGBTQIA+ followers, fans and athletes.
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When I was a closeted (and often confused/frustrated) teen, I would go for a run to clear my head. This habit has endured and whenever I’m feeling stuck, I find myself going out for a run today. I’m proud to be a @brooksrunning athlete (for so many reasons ♻️🌈🏃🏻♂️) and I’m excited to introduce you to their #RunProud collection, where proceeds are donated to LGBTQ+ running clubs across the country. (I’m truly overjoyed to know these organizations exist 🙌🏻). So, when someone invites me out for a jog during #pride month, be on the lookout for this gorgeous 🏃♀️. #runhappy
When you work with an influencer for your Pride campaign, you’re not only creating a greater opportunity to spread awareness, but you can also reach more people to raise funds for your chosen LGBTQIA+ charity. And that’s a double-win for the campaign!
Tip #7: Protect Your Audience from Offensive Language on Instagram
While you’ve been working hard on your campaign and sharing the celebrations during Pride, it’s important that you also safeguard your community.
Unfortunately, unsolicited hate can be posted on social media, and while reporting and deleting offensive comments that appear on your feed can help, it’s often at the risk of it already being read by your audience.
To help protect your audience from offensive comments, you can use the Instagram comment moderation tool to help you completely block bigotry terms or language.
Here’s how to do it:
- From the Settings tab in your profile, click on Privacy.
- From here, tap on Comments.
- Under Filters, turn on “Hide Offensive Comments”
You can also turn on “Manual Filter” where you can choose which “trigger words” or phrases that you wish to block.
While this will help you block offensive comments from appearing on your feed, we’d also suggest spending more time reviewing and regulating the comments on your Instagram posts during your Pride campaign.
5 Ways to Celebrate Pride on Instagram
Feeling inspired and ready to create some great content to celebrate Pride on Instagram? We bet you are!
Here are some of our favorite ways to show support and raise awareness for the cause:
Go Live for Pride
Parades might be canceled this year, but Pride certainly is not!
On June 27, Pride organizations around the world will come together for Global Pride 2020, a 24-hour live-streamed event on Facebook featuring musical and artistic performances, speeches from activists and campaigners, and addresses by public figures.
In a timezone-hacking feat, the aim is to coordinate the Live stream so that local Prides — from Sydney to San Francisco — will have 15 minutes of their own based on their time zone.
Along with Facebook, there’s no denying that Instagram Live has become a real asset during social distancing and COVID-19.
As one of the best ways to connect with your followers, Instagram Live is a direct, transparent, and authentic way to host Pride celebrations — especially as your audience can submit their comments and questions in real-time!
And the good news is that there’s been huge improvement to Instagram Live features over the last couple of weeks to accommodate the challenges of COVID-19.
In his Live address, Mark Zuckerberg explained how important live video can be for connecting with others. And the numbers certainly don’t lie: Instagram Live has seen a 70% increase in use.
Given this surge in live streaming, Instagram has announced several new features for Instagram Live, including the ability to watch and comment on live videos from your desktop and a new button that allows you to upload your Instagram Lives directly to IGTV when you’re done.
And best of all? You can now donate to or create your own fundraisers on Instagram Live!
When you donate via an Instagram Live, you can use the new “I Donated” sticker in Instagram Stories. When you use the sticker, your story will be added to a combined Instagram Stories post for your followers to see and hopefully join in on the fun!
This shared Instagram Stories post will appear at the front of the line in your Instagram Stories feed on your Home page — that’s prime real estate to give a shoutout to a good cause.
Instagram also announced that 100% of the money raised through the donate function goes directly to the nonprofit — unlike a lot of fundraiser platforms, Instagram is not taking a cut from the donations.
Now you can create and donate to fundraisers on Instagram Live. ❤️ All money raised goes to the nonprofit.
Donate and you'll see a new “I Donated” sticker in stories. Use it and your photo/video will be added to a shared story where friends can see how you’re giving back 💫 pic.twitter.com/RIKRP93XSY
— Instagram (@instagram) April 28, 2020
So what do you get when you combine the powers of all these Instagram Live features? An accessible and interactive platform to host fundraising events with your whole community is a safe virtual space!
It’s time to schedule your first Live!
Note: Comments posted to Instagram Live streams cannot be reviewed or deleted. Therefore, if you feel the need to safeguard and protect your community from potential hate, you can disable comments on your Live. Just follow these steps to adjust your settings.
Use Dedicated Pride Instagram Stories Templates for Your Content
If you want your Pride campaign content to stand out from the crowd, and the rest of your feed, think about using dedicated Pride Instagram Stories templates.
With a special design that celebrates Pride, you’ll quickly and easily be able to create content for your stories campaign.
Check out the pre-made Instagram Stories templates that apps like Unfold have created especially for Pride:
Or you can create your own Pride-style posts for Instagram Stories using design apps like Over or Canva! Think about including elements like the charity you’re supporting’s logo, the Pride flag, and the rainbow text to help send out your message.
Use Pride-related Hashtags in your Captions
Hashtags are great for getting more eyes on your content — in fact, posts with hashtags get 12.6% more engagement than posts without so if you want to spread the word, it’s time to start using Pride-related hashtags.
Amid the global pandemic, new hashtags are taking center stage for Pride 2020, like #PridePledge.
Influencer and LGBTQ+ advocate Ashlee Marie Preston launched the #PridePledge. The aim is to encourage large corporations to reallocate their annual LGBTQIA+ Pride budgets back to the community to help sustain LGBTQIA+ groups and individuals impacted by COVID-19.
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Just because Pride festivals all across the country have been canceled, doesn’t mean that support of the LGBTQ community should be canceled as well. Please sign and share this @changedotorg petition I’ve created, asking corporate pride sponsors to consider reallocating earmarked funds from their “Pride Festival” budget toward vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community who’ve been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. 🤝❤️ To sign, visit my insta stories and swipe up!🙌🏾 . . . . . #PridePledge #Pridemonth #Pride #LGBTQ #Trans #Transgender #Queer #Bi #Gay #Lesbian #NonBinary #gendernonconforming #prideparade #pridefestival #newyork #LA #LosAngeles #Miami #LasVegas #SanFrancisco #Orlando #corporategifts #corporate #allies #gaypride #covid19 #coronavirus #activism #petition
Last year, Instagram highlighted Pride-related hashtags with rainbows!
While it’s yet to be seen if 2020 will follow suit (or if Instagram has something new up its sleeve!) it helped bring awareness to the prominent and most popular Pride hashtags.
For example, hashtags such as #lgbtq, #bornperfect, #equalitymatters, #accelerateacceptance, or #pride2020 that the LGBTQIA+ community use to share and connect with each other.
Here’s a handy infographic to help you when you’re next writing an Instagram caption for your Pride campaign:
Use the Donation Sticker to Raise Funds for your Favorite Charities
If you’re raising funds for an LGBTQIA+ charity this year, think about using Instagram’s Donation sticker to drive more awareness and raise critical funds.
Previously, the Donation sticker was only available in the US — but Instagram has made moves to roll it out worldwide!
The Donation sticker in Instagram Stories, combined with Instagram Live donations is a fire combo for raising awareness and much-needed funds for your charity or organization of choice this Pride season!
TIP: If you don’t have access to the Donate sticker, you can always provide a swipe-up link to a site where your followers can donate.
Create Instagram Stories GIFs for Pride
Did you know that you can create your own GIFs for Instagram Stories?
If you’re feeling creative this Pride month, it’s a great opportunity to design, create and share your Pride GIFs with your audience on Instagram Stories.
Plus, you can direct your followers to search for your GIFs and use them in their own Pride stories to share their support!
Check out how Bravo designed and created these great Pride stickers to raise awareness and celebrate the event with their followers:
There’s no doubt that creating and leading your own Pride campaign on Instagram is a worthwhile cause.
Hopefully, these tips have helped inspire and lead you to create something wonderful to celebrate and honor Pride month this year, and for many campaigns in the future!
This year, Later is raising awareness for The Trevor Project — a non-profit focused on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQIA+ youth. If you would like to support their work, please follow the link below. Thank you!