By Paula Edgar and Stefanie Marrone

June is Pride Month, which offers companies of all kinds a unique opportunity to celebrate, show support and raise awareness for LGBTQIA+ rights on their social media channels.

Businesses of all kinds and sizes can get involved, raise awareness and give back for Pride Month regardless of their budget or reach.

While Pride is most definitely a celebration, an impactful Pride campaign should include education, awareness and center around people.

Celebrating Pride and showing your support for the LGBTQIA+ community is not a trend— and it shouldn’t be treated as such.

Here’s how to create and implement an impactful and genuine Pride Month social media campaign at your company.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Pride Month social media planning

Before you dive head-first into planning your corporate Pride initiatives, it’s important to get a wide range of employees involved in the planning process.

If your company has an LGBTQIA+ affinity group or diversity committee, collaborate with them or if you don’t have a group, consider convening a committee of employee volunteers of diverse backgrounds to serve as a sounding board and to provide their input as your plans begin to take shape.

Please note: these volunteers should be compensated for their time and efforts in some meaningful way (vacation time, bonuses, gift cards etc.). While it may be too late to do this for this year’s campaign, activate or assemble the group now for your 2023 initiative.

Don’t: Exploit social initiatives and conversations as a means to reach business goals.

Celebrating Pride and showing your support for the LGBTQIA+ community is not a trend— and it shouldn’t be treated as such.

If you’re simply posting rainbow-branded imagery (rainbow washing) during the month or posting about your commitment to the cause without having any real initiatives or actions to back it up, you’re just paying lip service to and perhaps exploiting yet another social initiative. Make sure your company can really walk the walk before you talk the talk. Performative allyship can backfire, alienating your employees, your clients, recruits and others.

Remember that everyone (employees, clients and the general public) is watching what you post online, even if they don’t actually like or comment on it.

Do: Ask yourself why you’re supporting this initiative and have a clear purpose.

Before publishing Pride-related content, ask yourself, are we actually adding value to this conversation? What are we hoping to gain from inserting ourselves into this conversation? What are our motivations? Is our company an actual safe space or inclusive environment that includes active and engaged allies?

Remember, Pride Month should not be about your business goals. You also don’t have to have accomplished all of your LGBTQIA+ related inclusion goals to commemorate Pride, but your efforts should be more than surface level.

Do: Support LGBTQIA+ initiatives year-round.

If you don’t already take steps to support the LGBTQIA+ community year-round, take the opportunity to discuss doing so with management and staff before Pride. June is only one month out of the year, a month where it’s arguably the “most acceptable” to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. To be a true ally, it’s important to show this level of support year-round. Work to ensure that your company’s policies and practices are inclusive and address the needs of your LGBTQIA+ employees.

In addition to internally focused actions, consider how your true commitment can be reflected externally. There are many organizations to which you can donate and volunteer. Solicit voluntary feedback from your LGBTQIA+ employees and clients to ensure that they feel involved and included in the process.

Do: Educate yourself and those around you on the origins and history of Pride Month.

Pride Month has a rich, political history that companies often fail to understand and recognize as they participate in Pride Month. 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.

Not only is Pride a time to recognize the progress that’s been made since the Stonewall Riots, but it’s just as important to acknowledge how far we still must go as a society, particularly considering recent efforts to overturn or narrow the progress that has been made. A successful Pride campaign should have education and awareness at its core.

Do: Make education and awareness the core of your campaign.

Ideas for content for your Pride Campaign can include educating your followers on the meaning behind the Pride flag, using posts to tell the history of the Pride flag, and what Pride means to your employees and run their answers in Q&A posts.

Another idea is to create posts to help followers better understand Pride Month and provide resources to help people better educate themselves on the cause and support those of the LGBTQIA+ community.

In addition, spotlighting members of the LGBTQIA+ community is a helpful way to educate your followers and to amplify the contributions of individuals.

No matter what you choose, create a campaign that is rooted in improving awareness and education amongst your community.

Do: Let inclusivity be at the core of your all campaigns.

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.

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. It’s less about what you need to do for Pride today and instead, how are you supporting LGBTQIA+ folks year-round?

Do: Put your money (and time) where your mouth is.

Instead of treating Pride like a marketing campaign, put your efforts toward an activity that will positively impact the LGBTQIA+ community.

While monetary donations can be helpful, volunteering at community events or spending time with LGBTQIA+ advocacy organizations can be more impactful for your employees.

Consider hosting or taking part in LGBTQIA+ programming and donating to local charities doing work in your community to support LGBTQIA+ initiatives.

Do: Use the right hashtags to be discovered

  • #lgbtqia
  • #lgbtqpride
  • #lgbtqhumanrights
  • #equality
  • #pridemonth
  • #loveislove
  • #pride

Every organization that wants to support Pride on social media can find a way to do so, we challenge you to do it in a way that is authentic, genuine, and impactful to your brand and most importantly, to your employees and your clients. The world is watching you, so challenge yourself by doing the right thing.

Paula T. Edgar, Esq. is CEO of PGE Consulting Group LLC, a firm that provides training and education solutions at the intersection of professional development and diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Paula is an engaging keynote speaker and facilitator, conducting live and virtual presentations for clients across industries using her Engage Your Hustle™ method. Paula develops customized programming, and her areas of diversity expertise include unconscious bias, inclusive leadership, and allyship. Her professional development skill set includes personal branding, relationship building and mentor/sponsor best practices. 

Connect with Paula on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, sign up for her email list and follow her latest writing on the #PaulaSays Blog

Stefanie Marrone advises law firms of all sizes, professional service firms, B2B companies, recruiters and individuals on the full range of marketing and business development consulting services designed to enhance revenue, retain current clients and achieve greater brand recognition. She also serves as outsourced chief marketing officer/marketing department for small and mid-size law firms.

Over her 20-year legal marketing career, she has worked at and with a broad range of big law, mid-size and small firms, which has given her a valuable perspective of the legal industry. Connect on LinkedInTwitterYouTubeInstagramsign up for her email list and follow her latest writing on JD Supra.=