June 2 saw the world come together on social media to show solidarity for #BlackoutTuesday in support of Black Lives Matter and the campaign for justice for George Floyd, the latest victim of racist police brutality.
Both individuals and companies either did not post or posted black squares with the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday in an unparalleled coming together across all social media platforms worldwide. Other post numbers were significantly down and supporters of #BlackoutTuesday had 28 million posts on Instagram alone. This transferred into 15 million people signing the petition for Justice for George Floyd.
The idea, initiated by the music industry, was that by pressing pause on regular social posts, people were able to share articles, podcasts, documentaries, films, music, books & resources that others could learn from to support anti-racism. Links to petitions and places to donate were also shared so that people could be proactive and directly support the ongoing fight against racism.
There’s a lot we can learn from #BlackoutTuesday. It showed the power of social media in bringing people together. We’ve seen other recent instances too, with the Thursday clapping for the NHS and frontline workers and flooding timelines with rainbows. Many people I know in the industry have been doing 25 press-ups every day to raise awareness about Post Traumatic Stress, anxiety, depression and suicide. Social media works at all levels – personal, local, regional, national, and international, which makes it an effective medium for messages.
However, many companies got caught out mixing sales messages with support. We saw the backlash towards people and brands, some of which were large international corporations, perceived to be jumping on the #BlackoutTuesday bandwagon, for personal or commercial gain.
It’s not worth risking the reputation of your business. Choose to be kind, positive and inclusive on social media. What we can take away from this is that anything posted on social media with your company should always be true to your company values.
Balls2 Marketing will be continuing to support BLM. Stay tuned online.