Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard that the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage late last month, marking a significant change to a law that many fought against for decades. Individuals and companies alike celebrated the decision with rallies, parades, and speeches. Many public companies and government entities, including the White House, lit up with rainbow hues to demonstrate their support of the monumental decision.
Facebook even created an app to overlay your profile picture with a rainbow image, and in no time at all, News Feeds were full of people changing their pictures. Likewise, #LoveWins began trending on Facebook and Twitter as people announced their happiness with the high court’s decision. I liked and favorited many of the posts I saw on social media. And although I 100 percent agree with the decision to legalize same-sex marriage, I didn’t change my picture, nor did I post about it.
I have always supported same-sex marriage, personally, but I’ve never been one to post about it publically on social media. To do so after the Supreme Court decision would have made me feel like I was appearing to jump on a bandwagon topic—one on which I hadn’t had much to say about before. I also didn’t want my show of support to be a flash in the pan. I’m just one person, with a few hundred friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter. But if you are running social media for a public company or organization, this is something you should consider before you post your support on your business Facebook page or Twitter account.
Now that the Supreme Court decision is a few weeks old, and the parades of Pride Month in June are over, what should your brand do to appropriately express support for marriage equality?
Ketchum, Inc., suggests that marketers ask themselves some key questions before making the rainbow hue a permanent (or recurring) fixture in your social media marketing plans.
- Has your company or organization been a long-time supporter of marriage equality? If your organization has a history of supporting LGBT rights and marriage equality, then sharing #LoveWins posts and creating your own is a natural extension of your current position. However, if the marriage equality conversation is not one in which you’ve regularly participated, you may be at risk of meme jacking.
- Have you discussed your efforts with your LGBT employees? Failing to engage your employees most affected by the court’s decision may make your own team feel alienated, or worse, exploited. Make sure you have reached out to those individuals.
- Have you assessed what well-known LGBT friendly brands are doing? There’s no shame in following the leader sometimes. Take stock of what the leaders in this conversation are doing and then craft your own messaging.
- Is your company committed to this cause for the long haul? Making a single post in support of marriage equality on the day of the court’s announcement may ring hallow if you never speak publicly about the issue again. If you’re company wants to take a stance on marriage (or any issue), remember that it must be for the long term. There’s no taking it back unscathed!