This week on social media, it's all about showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, muting white voices, and amplifying the black voices that so often get silenced, both online and offline.
If you're a brand or individual unsure of how to support the movement and the end of racism, here are some pointers.
1. Don't use the #blacklivesmatter hashtag
This hashtag is used to disseminate key information about protests and to share important footage of police brutality towards black people. By using this hashtag on your post sharing resources/ a blacked out square, you're erasing this information and flooding #blacklivesmatter with a sea of irrelevant information. It's dangerous, and it's a massive don't.
2. If you're white, mute your content
This week is about stopping with the skincare posts, the jewellery posts, the mood-board posts. It's about drawing attention to the most important issue of our time, and any other content dilutes this message. Branded content can wait. Shots of your chai latte can wait. Protecting the rights of black people cannot wait. Use this time to learn, to educate yourself, to work out how you can do better in your daily life when it comes to being actively anti-racist. Make sure you've turned off:
👉🏼your scheduled posts,
👉🏼and anything else automated.
3. Watch your words
Racism is sadly nothing new, and neither is police brutality towards black people. By saying you're shocked about the events in America, you're saying that you're so privileged that micro aggressions towards black people aren't even on your radar.
4. Share resources
If you can't find the right words, share the words of someone who can. Share resources and actionable ways people can educate themselves and support the movement. Examples include:
Email templates for writing to your local MP/ mayor
Petitions to sign
Where to donate
Which black artists/ authors/ creators to support on Patreon
Documentaries people can watch to educate themselves
Great black influencers to follow
5. Don't add to the burden on black people
Don't put emotional burden on black people. It's on white people to do the work, so don't start messaging black influencers and thought leaders asking for advice, suggestions or resources. Google it. The same goes for putting question boxes on your Instagram stories and asking people to share resources. Do the work yourself as a brand, or as an individual.
6. Share your actions going forward
It's about what you do, not what you say. How are you as a business going to become more diverse going forward? What kind of anti-racist activities are you going to include in your daily life? Detail these for your audience - they want to know. Don't do a Zara: the fashion brand posted on Instagram, yes, but it was vague and without depth. Don't do a Topshop and not post anything at all. It's not enough to say you're actively fighting racism when your employees are 99% white.
7. Diversify your feed
How many non-white people do you follow on a personal and professional level? If your timeline is black square after black square this week, that means one thing: you're not following enough non-white accounts.
If you don't know where to start, try this list: