There are hundreds of national, international and world hashtag holidays. Before #NationalMargaritaDay or #NationalPuppyDay—or even social media—nonprofits and global agencies worked to educate and increase understanding of some of the world’s and nation’s most pressing issues with awareness days and months.
From as early as the 1900’s, organizations began creating holidays such as International Women’s Day or World Health Day to build support for and connect people to causes impacting those across the globe. Organically, these holidays have evolved as social media became a driving channel for people to communicate with one another. From #NationalPancakeDay to #WorldBrailleDay, it’s clear that consumers want to connect with other people and brands around their shared interests, and hashtag holidays serve as opportunity to do that.
Our list includes a combination of celebrated & industry-specific hashtag holidays, as well as a few atypical options. We’ve compiled them into a downloadable PDF for quick reference, as well as a Google Calendar with even more hashtag holidays to add to your own calendar. Click below to check these out:
And, if you aren’t sure which hashtag holidays are going to resonate best with your audience this year, this article covers a quick plan to help you listen, strategize and streamline your approach. Let’s dive into the steps you need to take to prep your hashtag holiday strategy!
Step 1: Choose relevant hashtags
Relevance is core to a brand’s success with hashtag holidays.
As brands have jumped on board the hashtag holiday train, it is not unusual to see your favorite companies post on almost every holiday imaginable, regardless of whether it is relevant to their business or not. This is one of the biggest missteps a brand can make when engaging with hashtag holidays. By missing the relevant connection to their brand and/or posting reactively, marketers may see some likes come through, but the true benefit to the brand is lost.
For brands that choose to include hashtag holidays as part of their marketing strategy, it is important to take a step back and remember why they are so highly engaging in the first place—connection.
Planning around holidays that have the most relevance to your brand will help ensure your content resonates with your audience and taps into the emotional connections they are looking for from these holidays. In this section, we’re going to give you some tips on choosing relevant hashtags.
Hashtags and brand
Branding is more important than ever on social media these days as major platforms like Facebook have billions of users. For years, businesses have talked about a need to “cut through the noise” and stand out in a feed. This is no longer enough. Today, what makes you stand out is your ability to listen and connect on a human level.
Your brand’s values are a critical element to both engagement and customer loyalty. This is particularly true with millennials, who we found prefer brands that are honest and socially responsible.
Marketers shouldn’t just wait around for the holiday to come and then jump in; instead, the hashtag holidays they celebrate should be an extension of the content that is already being produced. For example, 23andMe focuses on unearthing the stories your genetics tell, including connecting people with long-lost family members or relatives they never knew they had.
Therefore, when #NationalSiblingsDay rolls around, it is not only on brand, but more engaging and meaningful, when they highlight some of their favorite stories their customers have sent them about reuniting or finding their siblings. The message from the hashtag holiday isn’t used simply for the social post, but layered into their entire marketing strategy from social to their blog to their email marketing.
Here are a few tips to ensure you’re picking the right hashtag for the right reasons:
- Research the holiday, don’t just fill your content calendar. Make sure the holiday aligns with your brand, values and most importantly, the values of your audience.
- Make sure your posts are respectful of underrepresented, marginalized, and/or oppressed groups. Don’t appropriate culture.
- Ensure that your brand’s actions back up your Tweets. For example, a social campaign celebrating International Day of the Girl could be a great fit for a brand that’s made a concerted effort to increase the number of women in leadership roles—but it might not be the best fit for a brand whose marketing plays on gender stereotypes.
Hashtags for your audience and niche
A Sprout Social survey discovered 41% of people tend to unfollow brands that share irrelevant information on social. This insight is vital to a company’s profit, especially since 57% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands they follow. What’s more, over half of consumers (53%) are likely to consider brands that are transparent on social for their next purchase, making it essential that you are open with your audience and engaged with their interests.
We used Sprout’s Listening to identify which days and which tags were the most popular. While we’ve already applied these findings to the hashtags in our calendar, your audience might be different from ours. Additionally, you can use the same approach to find the most relevant topics for your social content outside of hashtag holidays.
Learn more about the powerful features of Sprout’s Social Listening to find out how these insights can inform your brand strategy and campaigns.
Don’t overdo it
In addition to minding your relevance, you want to make sure your holiday efforts aren’t overkill. You don’t need to post 10 times per day or post for every single hashtag holiday—which is another great way to lose followers and damage reputation. At most, focus on one per week or just a couple per month. Better yet, focus on the holidays that are most meaningful to you as a company and to your audience as people, and the cadence should even out from there.
Step 2: Give your audience what they want
It’s important for a business to listen to their customers and to stay aware, and even ahead, of their needs. Listening tools can help you zero in on what’s matters most to your market.
Listen to your audience
You don’t have to guess which holidays your customers want you to post about. Sprout’s Advanced Listening measures the conversation around your brand, influencers and categories to provide you with insight into how you can connect with your audience on the things that they care about and that tie your brand and its fans together.
Not only will insights from Advanced Listening help you identify which hashtags resonate with your audience, but it also gives you unprecedented access to critical qualitative context as to why.
As you get even more specific with your audience personas, you can also filter demographic data to identify content that resonates with targeted niches within your audience and tailor your hashtag holidays accordingly.
Step 3: Measure hashtag performance
You’ve got your content planned and your hashtags picked, but how do you know if your efforts paid off? Brands still struggle to track and measure performance when it comes to social media. But there are ways to ensure you’re not wasting time with certain hashtags.
It pays to visualize how your campaigns fit amongst the rest of your content strategy and for a lot of businesses, that includes hashtag holidays. Additionally, you’ll need a tool to understand the share of voice across various brands, product lines or even your competitors.
Using Sprout Social’s reporting suite, it’s easier to measure the relevance and power of your hashtags. Dig deeper into your hashtag analytics and set a literal measure for success. You can do this by benchmarking your best hashtag holiday from a year prior and setting new goals around that performance.
Using Sprout’s hashtag analysis will help you optimize your performance for each hashtag holiday campaign. If you’re posting from Sprout on our mobile app, you can also optimize your Instagram hashtags with suggestions that highlight popular hashtags as you type.
Share your story
Once you’ve analyzed your hashtags and have chosen the tags that are most relevant to your brand, it’s time for you to write and schedule posts. Take care with your copy. This is your moment to share why you care and how this hashtag holiday connects you to your audience.
Scheduling will save you tons of time, and help you visualize and better plan your hashtag efforts. For example, with Sprout’s Publishing suite, you can view a daily calendar. This way, you can ensure you aren’t overlapping major holidays or getting your hashtag holidays too close to others you’ve decided to use.
It’s also a great way for you to collaborate with teammates. For example, you might decide which holidays to use and populate your scheduler with the hashtags and post copy.
Then, you might hire a professional photographer to take photos of you and your team, or a graphic designer to provide some custom images for you to share—you can pop these into your asset library later when the images are ready.
Step 4: Make sure your posts are optimized
Don’t stop with optimizing your hashtags. To give your holiday tags the best chance of connecting you to your audience, you’ve got to create meaningful posts and content. Make sure you’re including images, videos, and other formats relevant to your following. This is your chance to “meet the audience where they are at.” Let’s take a look at some examples and best practices.
- Images and video are imperative. Consumers are interested in a wide variety of content formats from brands on social, but the common thread is that they prefer content to be strongly visual. Over half (58%) of people surveyed for our 2018 Sprout Social Index prefer visual-first content, with graphics, images and produced video taking the lead. Social marketers agree, listing “more video content” as the key ingredient to success on social. This is particularly true on highly visual platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
- Have fun and use holidays to experiment with content! Include “behind the scenes” content or spend time planning more produced work. For example, you might show employees in your offices eating pancakes on #NationalPancakeDay, or use a beautifully shot image of the pancakes before your employees dig into them.
- Echo the holiday throughout your online presence. You can carry your holiday shenanigans into other elements of your online presence, like your social media profiles or even your company’s website.
Take this post and take advantage of the list of holidays — relevant, popular hashtags can dramatically improve your ability to connect your brand with people and ultimately, increase social engagement.
Keep track of 2019’s hashtag holidays with our PDF quick reference to the top holidays, or add our Google Calendar to your own to keep track of an even bigger list of hashtag holidays.
What are some of your favorite hashtag holidays? Tweet us at @SproutSocial or share your thoughts in the comments below.