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December 19, 2023

Crafting Social Media Posts for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Maddy Hager

The Dos and Don’ts of Posting on MLK Day: Your Ultimate Brand Guide

When a national holiday like Martin Luther King Jr. Day (MLK Day) rolls around, you may be wondering what kind of social media or blog post your company should create or if your brand even should post. After all, being a part of the conversation on MLK Day is a great opportunity to stop and remember an amazing man’s life, legacy, and vision. But too often, brands lack a well-thought-out vision when it comes to creating social media content around the holiday.

So, how can your organization craft messaging that treats Dr. King and the holiday in his honor with respect, all while making a real impact?

When Creating Content for MLK Day Goes Wrong, It Goes Really Wrong

There’s nothing inherently wrong with a brand creating holiday-themed content around MLK Day. But, from misinterpreting popular quotes from the Civil Rights leader to disingenuous posts, it’s easy to fumble even the best attempts at posting timely and relevant content.

Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, and St. Patrick’s Day are great opportunities for social posts about your brand. But for holidays that carry a more serious cultural significance, treat your message with care. Or, as we like to say, handle it with kidglov(e)s!

When holidays or other sensitive topics aren’t handled well, the results can be disastrous. There are plenty of examples of MLK Day tweets which range from the offensive to the downright puzzling. Rather than create a PR nightmare that will be forever immortalized by screenshots and negative chatter, you can also consider sitting the holiday out, like Canon did for 9/11 back in 2013.

To Post or Not to Post on MLK Day

Just like any sensitive topic, the decision to engage as a brand on MLK Day should align with your organization’s mission and values. Unsure about the appropriateness of a post? Refer to our blog post covering three essential questions for companies contemplating engagement on social issues. Once you’ve assessed your alignment, consider the following Dos and Don’ts for contributing positively to the MLK Day conversation.

Dos and Don’ts for Crafting Thoughtful MLK Day Posts:

  • Don’t use the holiday as an opportunity to sell something. Treat the holiday with the seriousness it deserves and stay away from tactics like offering discount codes or attempting to connect Dr. King to a product or service.
  • Do examine your company’s mission or values. If it aligns with the ideology of MLK Day, there may be an opportunity for you to create a post that feels genuine and shows a clear connection to your brand. Consider highlighting the ways your organization is giving back.
  • Don’t feel as though you must post something. It’s easy to create a quick, throwaway post and hit send. However, your audience will spot this a mile away and may even call you out on it.
  • Do explore the many great ideas of Dr. King, such as racial justice, nonviolence, healthcare, education, and economic equality. Consider how your organization may be helping to further one of these causes and highlight your efforts in a post.
  • Don’t treat people of color in your organization as tokens by highlighting them solely for MLK Day.
  • Do work with your diversity, equity, and inclusion committee or appropriate employee resource groups to ensure your messaging is intentional and honors Dr. King’s legacy.
  • Don’t say, “Dr. King gave his life for X, Y, and Z.” He was assassinated. It’s important to recognize the difference.
  • Do shine the spotlight on others. One of Dr. King’s most famous quotes is: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” Consider donating to or highlighting an organization like those we’ve linked below.
  • Don’t make light of important topics or trivialize people. This is a good rule of thumb all the time, but it’s especially important when posting about MLK Day. Many of the inequities Dr. King fought against are still happening, and a message in poor taste runs the risk of casting your organization in a bad light.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

There are many ways your brand can remember Dr. King and honor his memory through effective messaging. And you can speak out with your actions too.

Consider reviewing your company’s policies to ensure they are equitable for every employee. You could also consider supporting Dr. King’s legacy by donating to The Martin Luther King Jr. Center For Nonviolent Social Change.

If crafting a MLK Day message feels challenging, KidGlov is here to help. Our team of experts can ensure your messaging resonates and leaves a changemaking impact.

Want to learn more about Dr. King or the holiday honoring the man? Here are a few resources to help get you started:

KidGlov is a boutique, full-service, advertising, branding and content marketing agency and certified B Corp, with offices in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, specializing in nonprofit marketinghealthcare marketingfinancial services marketingsocial impact marketing, and purpose-driven businesses.