How Brands Are Using Social Media To Talk About The Elections

It’s less than a 100 days until the Presidential election occurs, and we wanted to check in with brands to see how they’re using their social media channels to promote getting out the vote campaigns. While it wasn’t necessarily a frequent topic of conversation among brands, of the 485 Top Advertiser Brands we looked at between June 28 – July 28, 2020; we did identify some key strategies for how these brands are using social media to encourage the audience to do their civic duty and participate in the November 3 elections. 

Strategy #1: Framing Voting As Empowering 

ABC generated 683 responses around a July 4th Instagram video post in conjunction with the nonpartisan I am a voter.® movement promoting voting and civic engagement, which reminded people of all the races at stake this November, along with a prompt to register to vote and sign up for election reminders. It’s worth noting that the CTA included the full URL to the I am a voter.® website, even though Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links in posts. Even without a live link, it’s easy enough for users to cut and paste the link. 

Tying the act of voting to a holiday like Independence Day, reinforces how patriotic individuals can impact change, and such a strategy makes sense both in general and also around upcoming holidays like Labor Day.     

Strategy #2: Celebrity Advocacy

“Our voices matter. Our votes matter. Local officials are the ones that set the laws in your community.” John Wall on the importance of local elections and voting. #NBAVoices

Posted by NBA on Saturday, July 4, 2020

Hearing a respected public figure talk around the need to get out and vote sometimes helps brands grab the audience’s attention in a way, a more generic message wouldn’t. For instance the NBA received 817 responses around a Facebook video where John Wall talked about the importance of voting in local elections. Getting a familiar face to speak from the heart about why voting is important to them will help drive home the point for the social media audience. 

Strategy #3: Reassure About Safety 

New guidance from the CDC says the best ways to minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread during the November elections are…

Posted by AARP on Monday, July 13, 2020

Unlike any other election in recent memory, because of the coronavirus, people could literally be risking their lives by going to the polls. The AARP received 1,934 reponses around a Facebook link to a post addressing those issues, sharing the latest CDC recommendations for voting safely in the November elections. Especially with older voters, explaining how voters can participate on Election Day with the minimal risk to their health is valuable information that brands can share. 

Strategy #4: Speak Directly To Your Employees 

Between June 28 – July 28, 2020; the U.S. Army shared 3 posts about how service members can vote via absentee ballot which averaged 7,403 responses per post. These types of brand posts serve two types of functions; giving employees invaluable information about how they can vote abroad while also illustrating to customers and potential employees that voting is something that your brand values. 

Strategy #5: Celebrate The 19th Amendment

There were 3 social media posts between June 28 – July 28, 2020 by the United States Postal Service that generated 1,536 responses advertising stamps commemorating women getting the right to vote. While selling stamps is a tactic pretty specific to the Post Office, using the history of voting rights to motivate people to vote in the present day, is a social media strategy that’s relevant to a much wider range of brands.   


Social media is a big part of how brands stay part of the cultural conversation and as we get close to November, the election is going to be more and more what everyone is talking about. By urging the social media audience to take part in the Democratic process, brands can stay top of mind, while also contributing a public service. 

Want more analytics based insights about best practices for brands on social media? Request a Demo Today! 

Week 3 Data Around Brands Embracing “Stop Hate For Profit”

With many brands pausing their Facebook and Instagram ad spending during the month of July to protest the use of hate speech, ListenFirst continues to monitor how the boycott is impacting the social media ecosystem.  

Following up on the data we shared last week, here are our top findings for the week of July 13-19, 2020:

Methodology: Looking at the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands from the ListenFirst Data Co-op launched between July 1 – 19, 2020 compared to the indexed number of Facebook and Instagram ads brands launched between July 1-19, 2019. 

Finding #1: Brands Have Stuck With The Boycott 

Through the third week of July, brands continue to participate in the July boycott of buying Facebook ads. Between July 13-19, 2020 brands shared -72.05% less new ads on Facebook and Instagram compared to July 13-19, 2019. That’s consistent with what we’ve seen through the entire month, as during July 1-19, 2020 there were -74.26% less new Facebook and Instagram ads compared to the number of new Facebook and Instagram ads during those 19 days during 2019.

Finding #2: The Real Time Conversation Around #StopHateForProfit Slowed, Except Around Disney 

Around the news that Disney, Facebook’s biggest advertiser during the first half of the year, would be suspending their Disney Plus and Hulu ads on Facebook, there were 5,477 Tweets mentioning both Facebook and Disney between July 18-19, 2020 with 237 Tweets mentioning the #StopHateForProfit hashtag specifically. The phrase “Well Done” appeared in 11.52% of those Tweets.

However other than additional companies opting into the pause on paid,  the July boycott was far more talked about on social media before it started. There were 68,743 Tweets mentioning the #StopHateForProfit hashtag between July 1-19, 2020 which was a decrease of 53.96% from the 149,315 Tweets mentioning the hashtag between June 12 -30, 2020.

Methodology: Looking at the volume of new posts 485 Top Advertisers posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr between July 1-19, 2020 compared to July 1-19, 2019

Finding #3: Advertisers Are Not Increasing Organic Posts During The Boycott  

There were 31,599 posts that Top Advertisers shared on social media between July 1-19, 2020 which was a -22.36% decrease from the volume of posts they shared during those 19 days in 2019. Brands are not sharing more organic content on social media, to try and make up for the loss of reach, now that they’re running so many less Facebook and Instagram ads.  

Methodology: ListenFirst Social Engagement measures the volume of post responses (likes, reactions, comments, shares, retweets, replies) and fan growth on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram around 485 Top Advertisers brands during July 1-19, 2020 compared to July 1-19, 2019.  

Finding #4: The Return Of Sports Is Starting To Lift Organic Engagement 

While social engagement around Top Advertiser brands had been down –17.97% during July 1-12, 2020 compared to July 1-12, 2019; there was actually 22.10% more social engagement around those brands during July 13-19 in 2020 compared to 2019. That turnaround was largely about Instagram specifically, as there was 22.63% more Instagram social engagement around Top Advertisers brands during the past week compared to July 13-19, 2019.

The NBA, which made up 20.58% of all Top Advertiser social engagement on Instagram between July 13-19, 2020, had a social engagement score of 21,420,835 during that time, which was an increase of 52.7% from the NBA’s Instagram social engagement score during July 13-19, 2019. Meanwhile, the NFL which accounted for 7.53% of all Top Advertiser social engagement on Instagram between July 13-19, 2020, had a social engagement score of 7,831,968 during that time which was a 34.13% increase from the NFL’s Instagram social engagement score during July 13-19, 2020. Around NBA activity in the Orlando restart bubble heating up and around the NFL revealing which players are getting a 99 rating in the upcoming Madden 21 video game; sports both real and simulated is starting to generate more engagement on social media.    

Want more information about how ListenFirst can help your brand monitor trends around Facebook, Instagram and the rest of social media? Request a demo today!

5 Takeaways From How Brands Celebrated Juneteenth On Social Media

Juneteenth was first celebrated as a holiday in Austin in 1867, and was first officially recognized as a state holiday by Texas in 1980. However, the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests advocating for social justice have raised multicultural awareness of Juneteenth to an unprecedented extent this year. 

This sea change is quantifiable at a brand level. For instance on June 19, 2020, 352 of 1,100 social media posts shared by S&P 500 brands were Juneteenth related. In comparison on June 19, 2019 only 4 out of 1,551 posts shared by S&P 500 brands on social media mentioned Juneteenth. There were also noticeably less posts this year than last, as brands have pulled back on sharing their usual content to dedicate space for supporting racial justice.

While there’s no pre-existing playbook for what type of messaging around the holiday resonates with audiences we were able to identify 5 key takeaways from what Juneteenth brand content connected the best this year. 

Brands That Averaged The Most Responses To Their Juneteenth Social Media Posts

RankBrandAverage Volume Of Responses To Juneteenth Related Posts# of Juneteenth Related PostsExamples
1NFL52,8016Sample Post
2NBA34,90650Sample Post
3Facebook30,0428Sample Post
4Sephora22,1851Sample Post
5Netflix17,9151Sample Post
6Ulta Beauty14,9712Sample Post
7Old Navy12,8442Sample Post
8US Navy10,8303Sample Post
9Delta Air Lines8,3141Sample Post
10Twitter6,2151Sample Post

Methodology: Looks at the average numbers of social media content responses on posts by either S&P 500 Brands or Top Advertisers (485 brands) mentioning Juneteenth on June 19, 2020. ListenFirst Content Responses measure the Likes, Shares, Comments, and Retweets a post gets on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube.

Insight #1: Sports Leagues Generated The Most Responses To Their Juneteenth Posts 

On June 19, 2020, the NFL was the brand that generated the most response to its Juneteenth related social media posts, with those 6 posts receiving on average 52,801 responses.  Meanwhile the NBA had the second highest total, with its amazing 50 Juneteenth related social media posts shared on the day averaging 34,906 responses.

The NFL announced that it would be shutting down league offices in commemoration of Juneteenth while the NBA highlighted the social justice protesting efforts of its players, among its many other Juneteenth related posts. Athletes like Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, and Stephen Jackson have been at the forefront of speaking out against police brutality, and their activism lends authority to the leagues they’re associated with.

Any brand can speak to Juneteenth and events that speak to social justice in general, but for the audience to pay attention at any scale, that needs to be part of a longer term conversation. 

Insight #2: It’s Okay To Explain What Juneteenth Is 

When brands post about Independence Day, there’s no need to explain what the Declaration of Independence was. Similarly, posting about Thanksgiving doesn’t require a historic recap about Pilgrims. However, when a lesser known holiday becomes more prominent, it’s okay for brands to help fill in the blanks because much of the audience is hearing these facts for the first time.

This year many brands stood out in talking about Juneteenth just by explaining the basics. For instance, Facebook received 291,566 responses on a post explaining how the holiday commemorates how enslaved people in Galveston, Texas first learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865, while also offering 19 ways to celebrate. Meanwhile Microsoft received 4,652 responses on a Twitter thread fleshing out the history of the holiday while also offering resource ideas for further learning.    

While it’s a serious subject, comedy can still be deployed in those explanations. For example, Netflix generated 17,915 responses on a Tweet that started a thread explaining Juneteenth that used The Office’s Michael Scott’s to illustrate how many white Americans think slavery ended with Abraham Lincoln before explaining the more complicated actual answer.

Insight #3:  Use Your Platform to Amplify Black Voices

Due to what it’s commemorating, Juneteenth is a holiday where the social media audience needs to hear from Black voices not allies, and some of the most successful brands in posting about Juneteenth made sure that’s exactly what the messaging was. Social media platforms themselves understood that point as Twitter shared a Twitter Voice Note from Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi on why Juneteenth is especially meaningful this year which generated 6,215 responses. Meanwhile Facebook received 5,342 responses on a video of the cast of Black-ish being interviewed about their musical Juneteenth themed episode.

Other notable examples include Sephora using Instagram Live for a conversation with Black activists, scholars, and partners; the announcement of which generated 22,185 responses, while Maybelline received 18,453 responses on a post announcing a Instagram Live event where a makeup artist would be offering up makeup tips for deeper skin tones.

Insight #4: Real Holidays Mean Time Off 

Did you know National Hot Dog Day is July 22? You probably would if you were getting the day off for it. There are plenty of fun and frivolous holidays that don’t merit getting a paid vacation day, but the ending of slavery in this country was an immeasurably important moment in our nation’s history that deserves more reflection than just sharing a GIF.

Many brands reaffirmed the importance of Juneteenth by sharing on social media how they’re giving their employees the day off for the holiday. For example, Adobe received 380 responses to a Tweet announcing its employees would be out of the office for Juneteenth to take time for reflection and advocacy while BB&T Bank announced it was closing at 2pm on Juneteenth in a Facebook post that received 10,382 responses. U.S. Bancorp and Fifth Third Bank are other financial institutions that closed early for the holiday.

ListenFirst also gave our employees Juneteenth off so our team could commemorate Black history and culture through celebration, education, and reflection.

Insight #5: Brands Used The Opportunity To Share Additional Relevant Resources

The abolition of slavery didn’t magically erase racial inequlity in this country and many brands used the occasion of Juneteenth to share additional content and resources that spoke either to that struggle and/or provided a better understanding of the Black experience in America. For example, Amazon received 9,024 responses on a Facebook post that shared online learning tools and resources, including Black employee recommendations on films, TV shows, and books. Similarly, Hulu generated 5,389 responses on its Juneteenth watchlist while Gerber got 1,128 responses on a Facebook post showcasing amazing accounts featuring Black educators, mothers, and creators.


While Juneteenth might be a new topic for brands, it is a subject that the social media audience was receptive to talking about. For example on June 19, 2020 S&P 500 brands averaged 2,473 responses to their Juneteenth related posts compared to an average of 2,208 responses per post so far this year. Hopefully this enthusiasm will lead to even more brand engagement around Juneteenth next year.