In the wake of the protests and conversations around systemic racism and inequality that George Floyd’s death ignited, Black AT&T employees took to their own social media platforms to express their thoughts. The company then amplified these responses on its own social channels.
Following Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, AT&T decided to not put out any new social content for two weeks. During this time, the company discussed its longer-term social strategy. Returning to simply posting about new products and services didn’t feel right, said Brandi Briggs, AT&T’s director of social media.
“When something happens in the world that impacts one of our core values, we have to take a stand,” she said. “One of our core values is to stand for equality.”
While many other corporations released statements from their CEOs, Briggs and her team decided to highlight voices from employees. Since 2016, AT&T has held an internal program called Dialogues of Understanding, in which employees of different races, ethnicities and nationalities gather together to discuss the differences, challenges and commonalities in their lived experiences.
“That was something that was internal to AT&T,” Briggs said. “We thought it would be a natural progression to take the initiatives and make it public.”
In reaction to Floyd’s death, many employees posted personal reactions and concerns on their own social media platforms.
Briggs and her team reached out to some of these workers to see if they’d be comfortable with AT&T sharing their messages on its social platforms. For the month of June, it posted these responses, deciding to exclusively amplify Black voices.
“The Black community had been underrepresented for a long time,” Briggs said. In this moment, “we have people’s attention; they see the pain we are going through.”
“I am a proud Black woman. Always be your authentic self — it’s the best gift you can give to this world!” – Mary pic.twitter.com/BhEF5pF95V— AT&T (@ATT) July 7, 2020
“As we continue seeking justice and equality in this global coalition, we need more and more allies from all different backgrounds. As we raise our voices to bring about change, we need each and every vote.” – George pic.twitter.com/v7drDjJDKm— AT&T (@ATT) June 15, 2020
AT&T decided to extend the campaign beyond June, sharing a few posts each month from employees on its social channels. As the movement evolved, so have the posts from employees. What started as reactions and calls to action has shifted into workers sharing resources and the actions they’ve taken in response to Floyd’s death.
“The creative behind it was started by employees,” Briggs said. “Everything was employee-driven.”
Across AT&T’s Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn channels, campaign posts garnered three-times the impressions and two-times the engagements of all diversity initiatives the company put out in the last year combined. Out of all the responses to the posts, 92% were positive.
The videos posted as part of the campaign generated 67% more views, on average, than videos throughout the last year. Content posted in June also led to a 50,000 increase in AT&T’s social followers.