Social media holidays have become all the rage for marketers, offering a way to engage with events like National Blueberry Day or Take Your Dog For A Walk Day. Unfortunately, in an era where there seems to be a new “holiday” every day, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) holidays are getting lost for many in the marketing mix.
We see countless examples of companies who inappropriately use important DEI events like Black History Month or Pride Month as marketing tools or ploys, and as marketers, it is obvious when this messaging is performative, or even sometimes offensive. However, DEI holidays can be a great opportunity to share information on important causes, build a stronger brand identity, offer support and connect with consumers when done correctly.
In this blog post, we will give you tips on how to properly engage with DEI holidays via social media and marketing.
Understand Your “Why?”
Before you start planning marketing and external communications surrounding DEI holidays, it’s imperative to understand your goals and desired outcomes from doing so. Because DEI holidays all have a rich, unique history that directly affects often marginalized groups of people, recognizing these events should have a deeper purpose for the company than to simply be a social media post.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself before posting about DEI holidays:
- Does this post align with our company’s DEI efforts day-to-day?
- Can we offer anything to the conversation beyond recognition?
- Do we, as a company, have a rightful place in this conversation, or can we allow other voices to be heard over ours?
- Do we understand the history and impact of this holiday or event?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you should probably rethink posting. You can elevate others’ posts by reposting, or sharing helpful resources for your audience to learn more about the event.
Plan and Prepare
It might seem like the best way to show inclusion would be simply to include every DEI holiday in your communications, however, there are thousands of religious and cultural holidays each year. How do you decide which holidays to recognize?
At the beginning of each year, list every holiday and event throughout the year and narrow down the list to include only the holidays that you can purposefully recognize.
Planning your DEI calendar ahead of time allows you to be proactive in your planning so that you don’t miss any important holidays or reactively post about holidays just because others are posting about them. Asking employees what holidays they recognize is a great way to include everyone and ensure that you are recognizing holidays that might not have been on your radar before.
Add Something to the Conversation
As you are planning DEI communications, ensure that you are including voices that are affected. Whether it be an employee, a stakeholder, or an outside consultant, including those that you aim to represent in your planning is the best way to ensure that your DEI messaging is uplifting and representative of their actual experiences.
Here are some ideas for how you can engage with DEI holidays beyond a recognition post:
- Link to local events for the holiday
- Provide lists of non-profit organizations that support the cause
- Spotlight or interview employees about their experience
- Share government or other credible educational resources
- Share why the cause is important to the company
- Share where your company is in its DEI journey—and be transparent if you still have work to do!
Ensuring that you are purposefully engaging with DEI holidays in your marketing efforts will lay the groundwork for greater authenticity and will greatly benefit your online presence.