Magnificent, marvellous, magical and momentous…it’s Mardi Gras!
An exciting time of year, to have fun and celebrate diversity and pride of the LGBTQIA+ community! The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of the most fabulous, fun-filled celebrations however, it is important to acknowledge its not-so-colourful history and impact within social media marketing.
The disapproval the celebration faced in its early beginnings in comparison to today’s international recognition is an inspirational testament. Those who bravely paraded and fought for their gay, lesbian, trans and all rights, monumentally altered societal acceptance of diversity.
Social Media Marketing x Mardi Gras
Social Media Marketing is the opportunity to be the voice for diversity, inclusion, equality and social justice through embracing culture, content, creativity and social networking. It allows our LGBTQIA+ community to connect and collaborate allowing isolated and regional communities the opportunity to voice their concerns around the barriers they face with like-minded individuals.
Influencer Marketing x Mardi Gras
Today’s influencers are using their voices to generate awareness on important issues. Influencers across social media platforms are effective in promoting, representing and respecting the community in which they are from.
Aussie LGBTQIA+ influencers such as The Veronica’s sister Lisa Origiliasso, SIA and Troye Sivan actively promote their support through their posts shared and social movements, in which they represent and support.
Equal representation of all individuals is imperative in educating, promoting diversity and social equality. It’s important to remember how we can support the LGBTQIA+ community beyond a rainbow photo and a witty caption.
When creating content, ‘nothing about us without us’ are words to remember, by partnering with members of the community to be involved in the research, in front of the camera and providing feedback on content. Real human stories and information should be shared in our content to keep it authentic and inclusively spread awareness.
Furthermore, we can show our support through donating to organisations such as Minus18 and the Equality Project that are changing the lives of youth in Australia and providing support for the community.
How social media platforms are considering inclusivity
Facebook and Instagram have proactively worked with Sydney Mardi Gras and the LGBTQIA+ health organisation, ACON, on constructing over 50 hashtags in relation to the celebration. Some include, #MardiGras2020, #WhatMatters, and #LoveWins. Returning for 2021 are the rainbow hashtags, since being established in 2019. When an Instagram Story uses one of the LGBTQIA+ hashtags, the ring around a user’s profile photo will develop into a rainbow gradient, drawing attention to, and encouraging the engagement of the LGBTQIA+ community. From #SydneyMardiGras to #SydneyRainbowCrossing, Facebook and Instagram have also teamed with headspace to launch a new initiative ‘Not Always Glitter’, supporting wellbeing for the LGBTQIA+ community and combatting issues of discrimination and inequality.
Also on Facebook, an animation of a rainbow heart will appear on users’ screens every time someone shares a ‘Happy Mardi Gras’ post. A star falls out of the top of the screen and into the rainbow heart, revealing a rainbow flag. LGBTQIA+ Australians and their allies use Facebook and Instagram to express themselves, share their experiences, make connections and create support.
As Tik Tok is increasing in popularity, LGBTQIA+ individuals have created a safe space for others in self-expression and promoting social equity. The use of Tik Tok’s algorithmic For You page and hashtag use, such as #JoinOurFloat allows individuals to unite and create a collective space for the expression, whilst marketing the Mardi Gras event. The support through social media platforms uplifts the imagery of diversity and inclusivity online, providing a learning opportunity for spreading awareness and understanding.
Through social media, these organisations and influencers use their platforms to lift awareness, share information and raise funds. Throughout the year we must stand together and show our support for diversity to extend the conversation beyond this Mardi Gras festival. As leaders of change on social media, we have the opportunity to make noise and be the voices of this movement.