On October 21, 2015, social media platforms worldwide were buzzing with chatter about the “Back to The Future” franchise. It was the day Marty McFly, the movie franchise’s beloved protagonist, arrived in the future in “Back to The Future II” (1989). This celebration named “Back to The Future Day” garnered over 6 million engagements on Facebook and hundreds of thousands of Tweets.
“May the Fourth”, a day commemorating the treasured “Star Wars” franchise’s “may the force be with you” quote, is celebrated annually every May 4th. Although this day was observed by many long before it made its way into the social media realm, it certainly took off with various social media platforms in recent years. In 2016, “May the Fourth” day racked up over 159,000 Facebook engagements and thousands of Tweets. These celebrations are referred to as social media holidays. Other social media holidays include “National Donut Day”, “World Wildlife Day”, “Employee Appreciation Day”, to name simply a few.
So, is participating in a social media holiday helpful or hurtful to a brand?
In a simple answer, participating in a social media holiday can be exponentially beneficial to a brand. If a brand uses a campaign in connection with a social media holiday or culturally relevant event, that particular campaign can see more attention drawn to it than ever before. Brands have much to gain when partaking in holidays, as there is a plethora of opportunity for reach. Also, brands rely on events of this nature to become engaged with them in addition to the event. On top of that, brands who partake in holidays make themselves look approachable and their audience tends to capture a more personal atmosphere from them.
It is vital to mention that although joining in on observing a social media holiday can be promising, it will work best if it is connected to the brand and their product.
Making sure a campaign aligns well with the holiday is of best practice (i.e., Subway and National Sandwich Day). It is advised to stray from the urge to promote something that has no viable connection to a brand or product, as using a holiday to stimulate engagement should be for creating a conversation with an audience, not distracting customers. A Sprout Social customer survey unearthed that when brands share irrelevant information, 41% of people will unfollow the company on social.
If celebrating National Donut Day doesn’t seem viable or extraneous, consider a social media campaign that celebrates a milestone event. If an organization has a long history or an interesting history in any way, it’s a great alternative to post about that instead of paying homage to an unsuitable holiday. Commemorating fascinating or distinctive moments in a brand’s history is a formidable, favorable idea in general.
It is highly recommended to use a trusted source for information regarding holidays and events of any kind, like Chiff.com. Here’s a “Hashtags & Holidays” calendar to get any organization moving in the right direction. In addition, checking Google Trends is a useful tool to grab a better hold of major trend spikes during the year in a particular brand category. It is also a great way to decipher when to join a holiday celebration via social media.