In planning social content around holidays, think fewer, bigger and better
Every day is a holiday, or so it may seem if you’ve scrolled through your newsfeed or checked today’s trending topics. Look hard enough and you’ll see that almost each day marks a different pseudo-holiday, whether it’s celebrating our favourite foods (National Grilled Cheese Day), iconic movies (Star Wars Day) or downright silliness (National Nothing Day).
It’s not just foodies and Jedi fans celebrating these occasions; brands, big and small alike, add to the festivities, seeing these days as an opportunity to showcase their personalities, engage customers and promote products in unconventional ways. Unlike statutory holidays, it’s easier for a brand to capitalize on and potentially “own” these pseudo-holidays, but is it the right thing to do?
While I love a good party as much as the next person, sometimes a brand needs to RSVP no, and here’s why.
Though some brands, such as Oreo, have become known for their quintessential way of celebrating occasions – like the rainbow-stuffed cookie for Pride – many more falter by joining a party they weren’t invited to in the first place. Before getting out the social media confetti, ask yourself (or your content creators) the following:
- Will it increase customer advocacy?
- Will this content be unique to my brand?
- Will it drive business results?
- And last but not least, WHY?
While these criteria ring true every day, it’s particularly important to consider them before celebrating social media holidays. If you’ve ticked one (or more) of these boxes, use the following principles to get the party going.
Find the white space. Brands created 35% more content for social in 2015 than the year prior, according to TrackMaven research, but with more content, the average engagement rate actually decreased by 17%. Why? Because there’s only so much one person can consume.
Being in your fans’ social media feed is like an exclusive party invite. If you’re an irritating guest, you’ll get ignored or, worse, you won’t be invited back. Facebook’s algorithm serves up content users are most likely to deem relevant, and therefore engage with it. The less engaged your fans are, the less likely Facebook is to show your future content in its newsfeeds.
So how do you stay on the guest list? Instead of trying to fill all the calendar squares, choose your subject matter strategically by creating fewer, bigger, better pieces of content. For example, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association leverages social media holidays that pet owners naturally gravitate to. Holidays like ‘Love Your Pet Day’ are opportunities to incorporate their message at a time when fans and followers have their fur babies top of mind.
Hit a brand bullseye. Fans and followers can ferret out a phony, so before getting into holiday mode make sure that it checks out with your brand. Using the questions above will help gut-check your ideas, and ensure they are aligned to your brand voice and content pillars.
In celebrating Pancake Day, one company decided to create pancake-art portraits of its followers and celebrities, and sharing them on social networks as short videos. Sure, this was wonderfully creative, but the company behind the campaign was a cellphone manufacturer. Other than taking #foodporn photos with your smartphone, the connection between the two is tenuous at best. While your followers might love their pancake portraits at first, it won’t likely result in much once the party is over. This isn’t to say that holidays should be off the table – or off the calendar. Put yourself in your consumers’ shoes to evaluate whether or not the connection is there, or you’re trying to force it. Don’t see a holiday that works for you? Venture out and create your own, mobilizing your audience to legitimize the day.
Make an impact. To stand out on crowded holidays, celebrate in a way that will leave an impact. Use rich content formats, such as GIFs and videos, to show off your fun side and win the hearts of consumers. Quintly, a social analytics tool, found that video content received 62% more engagements than photo posts.
To celebrate the fourth of July – a very noisy and cluttered holiday – Lowes opted for a Vine video, using an assortment of hand tools to make hardware fireworks. The result? Almost a quarter of a million loops and more than 6,900 likes. Moreover, the celebration was true to the brand, while subtly showcasing its products.
While every day could be a holiday, we can all use a night off. Done right, holidays are a fun way to embrace days that your consumers love to create genuine connections. But leveraging any odd holiday to produce content can get old quick – for you and your fans. So, cheese brands, feel free to take off Star Wars Day, but be there in full “force” when Grilled Cheese Day rolls around. By liking and following, your fans have given you invitations into their newsfeeds; never forget just how valuable that invitation is.
About the Author:
Erin Cochrane is a Consultant at Argyle Public Relationships. A member of the consumer marketing and digital teams, she loves creating influencer strategies, developing quirky content for social – and cats!