The Dos and Don’ts of Celebrating the Holidays on Social

Social Media Marketing


I’ll be the first to admit that I love celebrating the holiday season, or really any holiday for that matter (yeah, even the made up ones like national fro-yo day). But as a brand marketer, I sometimes cringe when it comes to holiday planning meetings, because we’re forced to find the right holiday tone for our brand — often somewhere between overly cheery and overwhelming, and being called The Grinch for not doing anything. Then, we have to pick the right platform, whether or not a special offer should be included, contests, content, etc. You can see how it can quickly spiral out of control and we end up losing the real meaning behind the holiday (lest you forget the true reason for celebrating my beloved national peanut butter cookie day). To help you, I’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts for brand marketers looking to celebrate holidays on social media.

Do: Be Relevant

Who is your audience? What are they celebrating? How can you help them celebrate it better (i.e. a discount code or giveaways)? What’s your angle into that conversation, if any? As a laptop vendor, I could come up with a months’ worth of graduation and back to school social media posts, but I probably couldn’t find a relevant way to celebrate National Pickle Day. I like to practice something called “Edutainment,” a combination of educating and entertaining your audience on social media. The most memorable posts entertain and educate your fans. When choosing what holidays to celebrate on social, use the ‘Edutainment’ filter to determine what you can and should do.

Don’t: Think Only Domestically

If your brand has a big international presence, keep that in mind for any holiday. If you choose to celebrate a domestic holiday, make sure your copy is still relevant to your international audience. For example, if you want to create a post celebrating Thanksgiving in the USA, make sure that your copy is still global in nature (i.e. We’re thankful for our employees, customers and followers, today and everyday!)

Another way to think about this concept is to celebrate international holidays relevant to your brand and use it as a teaching point to educate your fans about how like-minded people are celebrating in another country. For example, if your company sells candles, create a post to educate fans worldwide about how girls in Sweden wear a crown of candles to celebration of St. Lucia’s Day on December 13th. When it comes to sourcing content and creating campaigns — think globally!

Do: Consider Your Best Performing Social Channels

If your best performing channel is LinkedIn, then a hashtag contest might not be the best campaign investment. Your content and campaigns should be tailored to your audiences preference of platform and content. So, if  you’re going to celebrate random holidays, like National Lumpy Rug Day, make sure it’s a good fit for each platform and that the copy matches the tone and style your audience expects — this may mean only publishing on some of your social platforms, or not all.

Don’t: Saturate Your Network

We’ve all seen examples of brands that have gone too far in creating holiday social posts. Sometimes this happens when a brand overreaches and focuses its attention on a trend or holiday that doesn’t pertain to their brand persona or product. For holiday posts, you want to be careful that it is not an overwhelming experience for your audience. In order to avoid this, consider your audience — their general sentiment  about your posts, what you usually post, how often you usually post — and use that as a guide to determine if a celebratory or commemorative post would be incongruous.

Think about it this way – remove your ‘corporate hat’ and consider whether what you, as an ‘average Joe’ would like if that message was coming from your competitor. If not, then you should probably skip it. It’s more than ok to not say anything about a holiday if you don’t think it’s right, or if you’re unsure.

The main takeaway I’d like you get is that you don’t *need* to celebrate every holiday under the moon. If you do, then you’ll fall into the content trap of creating posts that aren’t relevant; therefore, they are less likely to be shared, and more likely to turn off your audience. Not everyone is aware of or celebrating National Water a Flower Day, but most people celebrate New Year’s Eve or Day.

How do you determine which holidays are a fit for your brand? Do you have any Dos or Don’ts to add to the list? Please share them in the comments below.