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How Brands Can Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month on Social Media

Brittany Garlin

May 12, 2022

How Brands Can Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month on Social Media

Is this your first year celebrating AAPI Heritage Month? If so, you’re probably not alone. Awareness of inclusive national days and months is continually increasing, and brands are looking for ways to celebrate with their customers the significant days most important to them. 

What is AAPI Heritage Month?

A recent study found that anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. The past few years have been tremendously tough on the Asian community, this month marks a time to acknowledge and recognize the many contributions made by people who identify as AAPI.

AAPI Heritage Month | Vista Social

May was chosen as the month to celebrate Asian Americans’ and Pacific Islanders’ Heritage based on two monumental dates for the United States: May 7, 1843, and May 10, 1869. 

May 7th, 1843 was the date when the U.S. first welcomed Japanese immigrants into the country. And May 10th, 1869 is when the first-ever U.S. transcontinental railroad was completed which had significant contributions made by the AAPI community. The first U.S. transcontinental railroad was a major development for the American West as it cut travel time from months to just shy of a week.

Why is AAPI Heritage Month Important?

African American Civil Rights activities paved the way for the AAPI social movement in the 1960s and 1970s. The umbrella term “Asian American” was not even widely adopted until the ’60s, when different Asian ethnic groups banded together in solidarity.

Brand DEI | AAIP Heritage | Vista Social

Today, 64% of consumers worldwide will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue. Social activism is more prominent on social media than ever before, and awareness of AAPI Heritage Month has grown tremendously. 

Consumers, especially younger demographics, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and people with disabilities, are recognizing and rewarding brands that foster diversity, share their values, and support causes that promote social equity.

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How Brands and Agencies can Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month on Social Media

AAPI Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and amplify the Asian and Pacific Islander community. 

“We can’t talk about AAPI Heritage Month without mentioning the trauma that the Asian community has gone through over the past few years,” says Madelyn Chung, founder and Editor-In-Chief of the Asian-Canadian media platform, @RepresentAsiansProject.

“I think that’s why more than ever, it’s really important to use this month to highlight and celebrate the Asian community. It’s important to amplify all of the contributions, the great people who paved the way for us, and those who are making us proud.”

With that in mind, here are four tips for celebrating AAPI Heritage Month on social media:

  1. Follow and Learn From AAPI Accounts
  2. Educate your community 
  3. Use Diverse Images and Stock Photography Websites
  4. Spotlight Asian-owned Businesses and Creators

Tip #1: Follow and Learn From AAPI Accounts

If this is your brand’s first time celebrating AAPI Heritage Month, then it’s best for you to diversify your social media following, learn from AAPI accounts, and understand the history.

Once you have educated yourself and your team, you can successfully uplift and support the AAPI community in a way that will make an impact. 

Follow and Learn From AAPI Accounts | Vista Social | Malavika Kannan

3 Inspiring AAPI Accounts to Follow Today:

  • Ai-jen Poo | @aijenp: Ai-jen Poo is a labor activist and grassroots community organizer. Her work focused on elevating the voices of essential workers, domestic workers, and underrepresented populations. Ai-jen Poo is the co-director of Caring Across Generations, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and is the recipient of the 2014 MacArthur “Genius” Award
  • Malavika Kannan | @malavika.kannan: Malavika Kannan ensures that all voices in even the most marginalized communities are amplified. She puts young women of colour at the forefront of her organizing efforts. While she was still in high school back in 2018, Malavika Kannan founded a youth-focused online initiative called Homegirl Project. Additionally, she dedicated her time to working with several notable grassroots organizations, including March for Our Lives and the Women’s March. Oh — and on top of creating an online initiative while she was in highschool, she also published a fantasy novel, The Bookweaver’s Daughter, when she was only 17 years old.
  • Simran Jeet Singh @sikhprof: Simran Jeet Singh is dedicated to using his voice to advocate for Asian American equity and justice. He’s addressed national audiences to spread awareness about racism and violence against the Sikh community. As a South Asian activist and educator, Simran Jeet Singh is committed to disseminate the harmful misrepresentation of the Sikh community. He has given multiple speeches at the White House to bring awareness to and celebrate Sikhs and Asian Americans in the United States.

Tip #2: Educate Your Community

After your brand (and the marketers managing your accounts) have started learning more about the AAPI community, it’s time to share that knowledge with your audience!

Educating your followers about AAPI Heritage Month can be done through an IG story series (or Instagram Reels), a roundup of the top AAPI-owned businesses in your niche, or a scheduled carousel post to drive traffic to a blog post or landing page with more information. 

AAPI Heritage Month | Algonquin Books | Vista Social

Use this month to spread awareness of the AAPI community and the contributions that they are making. Now is the time to amplify their voices by using your network to acknowledge and celebrate them.

Tip #3: Use Diverse Images and Stock Photography Websites

Diverse Images | AAPI Business | Pexels | Vista Social

As marketers, we understand the importance of getting to know our target audience. A lot of our key messaging and content comes from psychology and the behaviors of others. 

Long gone are the days when you could make some content around a feeling you had that it will do well. Now, we rely on key insights and data collected to ensure that our bottom line goals are successfully achieved. So, with that being said, let’s dive into some stats.

7 Eye-Opening Inclusive Marketing Statistics for 2022:

  • 70% of Gen Z consumers are more trusting of brands that represent diversity in ads. 
  • 38% of consumers, in general, are more likely to trust brands that do well with showing diversity in their ads.
    • This percentage is even higher among specific consumer groups including Latinx+ (85%), Black (79%), Asian/Pacific Islander (79%), LGBTQ (85%), millennial (77%), and teen (76%) consumers. 
  • 64% of audiences in the US, UK, and Brazil said they would like to see more diversity.
  • In more than 90% of the simulations run by Facebook, diverse representation was the winning strategy for ad recall lift. 
  • Brands with the highest diversity scores see an 83% higher consumer preference
  • 40% of all Asian Americans can be found in three Designated Market Areas (DMAs) – Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
  • Asian Americans are a powerful consumer base with $718 billion in buying power that is expected to reach $1 trillion in just five years, equal to the 18th largest economy in the world.

With this knowledge, it’s important to evaluate if your current content is reflective of all of the different customer personas within your target audience. There’s no doubt that the AAPI community is part of that audience, and your brand has a responsibility to ensure that your target audience is represented in your content.

Tip #4: Spotlight Asian-Owned Businesses and Creators

Educating your community about AAPI Heritage Month is important. But, if you need some guidance or are worried about saying the wrong thing, pass the mic to someone from the AAPI community. 

Podcasts from AAPI Creators | Vanity Fair | Vista Social

Amplify Asian voices by allowing them to shed light on the cause through your company channels. 

Interactive AAPI Influencer Ideas for Your Social Media:

  • Let an AAPI creator take over your social media stories.
  • Host a virtual event (Instagram Live, Facebook and Instagram Rooms, etc.) where the AAPI influencer is the host.
  • Ask for a quote from AAPI creators, customers, or employees. 

you can host a social media takeover on your stories, do an interview for your blog, or ask customers (or employees) from this community to share a quote.

Your brand could also use your channels to spotlight shortlists of AAPI businesses and creators relevant to your industry. By doing so, you’re creating a resource for your followers to share and thus, harnessing the true power of social media through social currency.

Moving Forward

AAPI Heritage Month is not a time for your brand to jump on the bandwagon and add this national month to your content calendar to receive a boost in engagement. 

May provides you with a full month to learn from AAPI accounts and understand the history. This paves the way to have more diverse conversations and open up new perspectives to better serve ALL of the people in your target audience.

Don’t forget to look internally too — is your brand or agency doing its part in creating a forward-thinking and inclusive culture? 

Now is the time to do good. As marketers, we have a unique privilege. We have access to influential brands communication channels that has a significant impact on society. You have the choice to to act as a force for good, or squander that privilege.

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