Celebrating pride on Facebook

July 9, 2015 1:40 pm Published by

How brands are using social media to make a statement

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could not ban same-sex marriages. The decision was a landmark one, which triggered strong responses everywhere – not least on social media.

Unless you’ve gone cold turkey on all social media platforms you will have noticed a rainbow flag on Facebook or a Twitter #LoveWins hashtag.

The launch of the Facebook ‘Celebrate Pride’ filter feature let users give their profile picture the ‘rainbow treatment’. A number of political institutions and brands including The White House, Uber and Budweiser changed their logos to show their support for marriage equality.

The ruling also dominated Twitter, with over 10 million tweets celebrating the decision. Hashtags #LoveWins and #GayMarriage proved the most popular. The hashtag #LoveWins was used almost 5.5 million times in 24 hours, according to Topsy, a social analytics site.

Of course it’s not at all unusual for people to respond to current events via social media – most of us are used to friends and family voicing their opinions on social. Brands: less so.

Normally corporations avoid jumping on social issues, with brands remaining noticeably apolitical online. However, after the recent Supreme Court decision, household names like Ben & Jerry’s, Macy’s and BuzzFeed all celebrated the news online.

Yet not everyone was happy with Facebook’s rainbow-coloured profile pictures, and a recent Guardian article notes how the gimmick “successfully put Facebook’s equality credentials in the spotlight.”

This is down to the fact that the site has a real-name policy, which rejects some aliases or adopted names, including those used for privacy by the LGBT community.

But, like it or not social media is a quick way for brands to tap into the public domain, even if they don’t have a squeaky clean reputation amongst certain communities. It’s one of the only ways brands can project a unique voice and communicate with their audience.

In a social media landscape dominated by cat videos a social media trend that makes a powerful statement about inclusion and support – be it a hashtag or rainbow filter – is what we should hope to see more of.

*Research sourced from social analytics tool Tospy

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This post was written by Hope Simmonds