The new year is well underway, and we’re now celebrating the beginning of Black History Month. If you have a social media presence for your company, you may have thought about how to show up in observance. If you haven’t quite figured out the best way to do so, just keep reading ahead. Today, SEM Nexus is covering four great ways to celebrate Black History Month on Instagram as a company.
The Origin of Black History Month
Today we accept Black History Month as an annual tradition, something that officially began in 1976 with the recognition of President Gerald Ford. But the celebration actually began back in 1915 with Carter E. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland. These two men came together to create the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, in order to research and highlight the achievements of Black Americans and all Black people with African ancestry. Ten years after its inception, their group sponsored a National Negro History Week in February, which inspired communities across the country to create their own celebrations as well. This led to different mayors recognizing Negro History Week and then Black History Month after the Civil Rights Movement. And over time the celebration evolved into what we know now – a full month dedicated to honoring the contributions and achievements of Black historical figures in US history.
How to Celebrate Black History Month on Social Media
While it’s easy to recognize why Black History Month is important to acknowledge, it can be difficult to think of ways to do so that go beyond the same old generic Instagram posts. Here are four great ways to be active on social media.
Highlight Black Leaders in Your Field/Niche
This is one of the best ways to celebrate Black History Month via social platforms is to help recognize people who might not otherwise be widely appreciated. Whether your focus is digital marketing, technology, finance, or entertainment, you can be sure that there are contemporary Black trailblazers in your field that you can lift up.
How should you highlight the Black creators and leaders in your field? Take advantage of Instagram’s carousel post feature in order to put a face to the name and then dive into their accomplishments and contributions to the niche. You can even organize a series in which you feature a different thought leader or contributor each week.
Share Black History Facts that Go Beyond the Basics
Another way to celebrate Black History Month is to help educate your audience about the intersection between Black history and the history of your niche. This will help you to stay on brand even in celebrating the holiday as well as keep you from sharing the same common facts that people likely already know. Your audience will appreciate the insights that add insight and give them a new perspective and appreciation for DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) efforts.
If you’re a content creator, you might highlight the way that TikTok’s popularity largely stems from the Black content creators on the app who inspired a fascination with dance trends. If you’re in finance, you might highlight some of the first CEOs to do things like head Fortune 500 companies or create businesses that continue to permeate culture today. If you begin researching ahead of time, you’ll likely be surprised at the amount of information you find.
Center Black Voices in Your Social Media Content
If you’d like to go one step further, you can actually reach out to Black voices in your field in order to allow them to be front and center on your platform in their own words. This is known as passing the mic, and the method has been growing in popularity on Instagram recently. Having people do an “Instagram takeover” so that they can be in charge of their stories is a great way to model an inclusive culture. Not only does it limit the opportunity for misunderstandings or misrepresentations, but it also shows people that your organization is dedicated to giving Black people the opportunity to take up space where they haven’t been able to in the past. Your company could explore the possibility of partnering with influencers in your niche in order to achieve a mutual boost of recognition for both parties. Instagram’s new collab feature makes this incredibly easy to do. And the great thing about passing the mic is that it’s something you can do year round – you don’t have to wait for designated times like Black History Month or Hispanic Heritage Month to go out of your way to celebrate diversity in your area of occupation.
Share Your Company’s Long Term DEI Plans
As mentioned above, Black History Month is an important time to reflect and celebrate the ways Black Americans have made an impact, but it’s not the only time that your company should be thinking about its relationship to People of Color. If you’re already thinking about how you can adequately celebrate Black History Month on social media, then chances are that diversity, equity, and inclusion are important to you and that you want to carry out those principles year round. If your company is building or already has a DEI strategy, this month is a great time to share about it! Doing so can help your audience hold you accountable and alert potential Black and POC collaborators to the fact that you’re committed to holding space for them at the table.
Make this Black History Month Count
Black History Month is a great time to inform people and to connect to your audience on a personal level. With a precise social media strategy and premeditated effort, you can take your recognition of the month from a single simplistic celebration post, to a full month of thoughtful recognition that your audience will value and respect.