From National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day to National Look Up at the Sky Day, social media has become saturated with holidays.
For small business owners, it can be tempting to follow every trend. But before you start posting away, learn to approach each social media holiday post with intention and strategy.
Holidays can be an opportunity to create meaningful moments between brands and audiences on social media. But with so many holidays to choose from, where should you focus?
Establish Brand Guidelines and a Social Media Calendar
At my marketing studio, Tote + Pears, we think of branding in terms of how it makes people feel and how our clients will be remembered. A brand is a reputation. It's your audience's perception of your business, and social media is a powerful tool for shaping that perception. By showing up in social media spaces, your business can connect directly with your audience (customers, employees, and vendors), building loyalty and boosting conversion rates.
But before you start posting photos, stories, and quote cards, you'll want to develop Brand Guidelines that outline how your brand will look, sound, and behave online.
Brand guidelines outline your mission, culture, and values and contain rules for what the brand says and how it says it. This includes how to use your logo, fonts, colors, and photography. What does the brand visually look like in a social feed? What does the brand stand for beyond its product or service? How will your business communicate that in a human way?
Consistency is key to leaving a lasting impression. If you don't have brand guidelines yet, you may want to consider hiring a branding agency or freelancer to create them.
Next, it’s time to think about the content that you'll post on your social media platforms. That's where a social media content calendar can be helpful. This is an overview of the content you’ll post on social each month, describing the topics covered, the platforms they'll be posted on, related links, and the visuals (videos, graphics, etc.) for each post. Holidays are often used as a starting point to help generate ideas.
How to Choose Holidays for Your Social Media Calendar
Once you’ve built your brand guidelines and social media calendar, now you’re ready to take the following steps to ensure you have a clear vision and purpose year-round.
1. Align with existing projects.
Start by reviewing any campaigns you’re planning to run this year. Is there synergy between these projects and any social media-friendly holidays? This can determine new deadlines or when to deploy or repurpose a particular campaign.
2. Audit your audience.
Next, identify your audience for each platform and note their goals, behaviors, and interests. Celebrating causes and moments your followers care about can be more powerful than posting every holiday. Consider quality over quantity.
3. Pick relevant holidays.
Then, list the social holidays that align with your brand guidelines. People buy from brands they feel in step with, and social media content should feel as authentic as possible to maintain trust.
Use careful judgment when posting about holidays commemorating historical events or paying homage to specific communities, religions, or ethnic groups. Always ask yourself why your brand should chime in and do your research before planning a post.
4. Brainstorm opportunities in advance.
Let social media holidays inspire a robust social media calendar for the year. Generate ideas that can elevate a cause or campaign launch pegged to a holiday. A good rule of thumb is to select one or two monthly holidays that speak to your audience. But remember, don’t force it.
No matter the holiday, ask yourself: Will it resonate with my audience and boost the brand? Once you’ve followed the process above, you’ll be able to decide with confidence.