On social media, every day seems to be a holiday. As the Social Media Manager for Sprout Social, I’ve witnessed plenty of brands engaging in a wide variety of the “national days” that pop up throughout the year.
From Cheese Lovers Day to Read a Book Day, there really is an occasion for everything. So, to kick off 2016, I’ve decided to highlight some of my favorite #HashtagHolidays in a downloadable PDF and handy work calendar file, which I hope will be helpful to other social media managers like myself.
As you begin to populate your publishing calendars with these Hashtag Holidays, I’ve also compiled a few best practices for brand alignment and audience engagement. Check out my tips below, and feel free to add any of your own thoughts in the comments section at the end. Now let’s get started!
Plan Ahead & Know Some Dates Fluctuate
The nature of social empowers brands to engage with their audiences in an organic and spontaneous way. That doesn’t mean, however, that a lot of thought and planning shouldn’t go into joining a national day conversation. The same process behind creating preplanned content for holidays such as New Year’s or high-profile events such as the September 2015 Blood Moon should be applied to Hashtag Holidays.
— Pete Zaroll (@totinos) September 28, 2015
Start by sharing Sprout’s Hashtag Holidays calendar with your team, which will enable your organization to plan and produce content months in advance.
Note: As you peruse the dates on our calendar, you’ll notice that some events are consistent from year to year (e.g., #ScienceFictionDay), some pop up quarterly (e.g., #GetToKnowYourCustomersDay), and some occur, say, on the first day of a certain month (e.g., #NationalDayOfUnplugging). The work calendar file—designed to integrate with iCal, Google, Outlook and more—will have the most up-to-date information, through 2020.
Research Before Engaging
Always look into a national day before participating, and know that brands can pay to play in this space. For example, according to The New York Times, The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum paid $1,500 to have Jan. 7 officially listed on NationalDayCalendar.com. There’s no harm in that tactic, of course, but you’ll want to ensure you’re not engaging in a date that may be owned by a competitor.
Media outlets can also invent Hashtag Holidays to help drive awareness to specific initiatives. In 2010, Mashable invented Social Media Day to “celebrate social media’s impact on global communication.” The media source points to its national day through campaign efforts such as sponsored meetups and events, digital toolkits and, of course, a dedicated hashtag (#SMDay), which is naturally included on our calendar.
Note: Sprout’s Hashtag Holidays calendar is built primarily around engagement indicators: Brands are either already participating at a high rate, or there appears to be a solid opportunity for brands to step in and really own a certain social space. I tried to provide a good mix for organizations of all shapes and sizes.
Keep Your Brand & Audience in Mind
While there are many national days floating around out there, that doesn’t mean your brand should jump on all of them. As with any other social post, it’s essential to keep your brand and audience in mind. Don’t force it. Participate in the days that naturally fit.
Organically Engage With Other Brands
Hashtag Holidays give brands the opportunity to organically engage with other brands on Twitter. These impromptu interactions help humanize a brand through a more fun and personal voice.
The playful exchange below between the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on #NationalOldStuffDay is a great example of how a national day played a role in turning the Panthers’ preplanned content into a conversation.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) March 2, 2015
Act as an Advocate for a Good Cause
Sure, there are plenty of lighthearted national days out there. But a lot of days are also dedicated to a greater purpose. National days provide an opportunity for your brand to act as an advocate and raise awareness for the causes you believe in.
— Coldwell Banker (@CBtweet) December 3, 2014
Stay Cognizant of Current Events
Due to the sheer volume of celebratory dates, there’s bound to be some overlap between Hashtag Holidays, federal holidays and world events. It’s important to be aware of what’s happening in the world before posting on social. This is especially true for national day content planned ahead of time. For example, Tweeting about #NationalWineDay while ignoring Memorial Day might not be the best idea for American brands.
Happy National Wine Day Everyone ??? pic.twitter.com/L4pizA7obU
— FashionweekNYC (@FashionweekNYC) May 25, 2015
Help Us Celebrate
What are some of your favorite #HashtagHolidays? Are there any days you think certain brands should avoid? If so, why? Tweet us @SproutSocial, or share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Darryl Villacorta: Darryl is the Social Media Manager at Sprout Social. He has a background in digital media and loves all things related to tech, social media and video. Outside the office, his favorite things include acting, songwriting and writing teleplays.
@mfromthesfbay It is this year! Unfortunately enough. :\ Early hugs on Friday!
Do you have any social media metrics that show uptick during these National Days? If so, I would love to hear more.
@Paul We will definitely consider writing this data report, great idea! In the meantime if you are looking for specific holiday's metrics you can find them in our Twitter listening report! Here's a link to 30 days on us if you're interested: http://bit.ly/2dZx7B5
This calendar is great. One thing I tell people is to pick niche holidays that relate more to their industry. I always point to Star Wars day where a lot of people plan posts but the conversation is too noisey. Rather than picking the more popular holidays, plan for the smaller ones where you have a greater chance to stand out. I put together a piece on this and hope you find it interesting. I linked up this page there :) Thanks for making this!
@Andrew Mucci All valid points, Andrew! Thank you for taking the time to give it a read.