Social media holidays provide exceptional organic reach. But are you using these holidays consciously?
There is a social media holiday for every occasion – official and unofficial, local and global, charitable and fun. And while social media holidays increase your brand awareness, it is equally important to pick and choose your celebrations.
Every social holiday has a unique trait – too much of which can confuse your audience. So, attempting to associate your brand with every up and trending holiday hashtag can damage your brand personality.
So, Pancake Day or Presidents Day – you have to choose based on the brand story you want to tell.
As a brand that wants to stay in the spotlight, it’s tempting to hop onto every new trending hashtag. But is it worth it?
In this guide, you’ll discover:
- What social media holidays are
- Why social media holidays matter for your brand
- The most popular social media holidays
- How to keep up with social media holidays
What are Social Media Holidays?
Social media holidays, or hashtag holidays, are specified days when you celebrate a particular event on social media. These holidays are not only restricted to official holidays but also extend to celebrations of many unofficial events like Pizza Day. For example, Domino’s increased their engagement by 15% with the celebration of #NationalPizzaDay:
— Domino's Pizza UK (@Dominos_UK) February 9, 2017
Holidays provide your brand the perfect opportunity to emotionally connect with your audience and humanize your brand.
A strategic holiday strategy can be priceless in attracting your ideal customer by celebrating events of their interest.
Why Social Media Holidays Matter for Your Brand
Social media holidays can help your brand in more than one way. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Humanize your brand
Research shows that 87% of consumers would buy from a brand that supports issues they care about. And social media holidays let you show your concern and support for specific causes, which humanizes your brand. Moreover, you can establish a more personal and warmer connection with your audience.
Develop your brand personality
The holidays in which you choose to participate will set your brand personality. Making use of this, you can strategically join events that you want your brand to be associated with. For example, if you need to position your brand as quirky and cool, you can participate in corresponding themed holidays.
Strengthen your community
While holidays are one of the best times to sell, a well-made and well-executed holiday social media strategy will also build and strengthen your community.
People love to have a purpose, and the feeling of being part of something bigger than just buying a product will encourage them to come back again.
Increase engagement with your audience
Holiday-themed posts give your audience space to interact with you, which might not have been possible otherwise.
People share what they resonate with. And they love to spread the holiday spirit. For example, a post on Friendship Day will receive many comments and shares since people will share it with their friends:
View this post on Instagram
Promote your products or services to boost sales
If you have a product or service that’s difficult to market, you can use holidays to help you promote them. For instance, you could:
- Find a way to make your products or services part of the celebration.
- Create an offer aligned with the holiday.
- Host a giveaway or contest.
The Most Popular Social Media Holidays
There is a holiday on social media for everything. Here’s an extensive (but not exhaustive) list of the most popular social media holidays:
International days (of)
Let’s have a look at holidays celebrated across the globe.
- International Cat Day #InternationalCatDay
- International Mother Language Day #IMLD
- International Women’s Day #EachforEqual
- International Day of Happiness #InternationalDayofHappines
- International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination #RacialDiscriminationDay
- International Dance Day #InternationalDanceDay
- International Jazz Day #JazzDay
- International Workers Day #IntWorkersDay
- International Firefighters Day #InternationalFirefightersDay
- International Day of Families #FamilyDay
- International Children’s Day #ChildrensDay
- International Yoga Day #InternationalYogaDay
- International Day of Friendship #DayOfFriendship
- International Youth Day #YouthDay
- International Lefthanders Day #LefthandersDay
- International Day of Charity #CharityDay
- International Literacy Day #LiteracyDay
- International Day of Peace #PeaceDay
- International Coffee Day #InternationalCoffeeDay
- International Podcast Day #InternationalPodcastDay
- International Day of Nonviolence #InternationalDayOfNonviolence
- International Day of the Girl #DayOfTheGirl
- International Day for the Eradication of Poverty #EndPoverty
- International Day for Tolerance #ToleranceDay
- International Students Day #InternationalStudentsDay
- International Men’s Day #InternationalMensDay
Happy #InternationalMensDay to all the male allies around the world who support women, defy gender roles, fight gender-based violence & stand up for equality. @UN_Women invites everyone, everywhere, to support #GenerationEquality. https://t.co/9DkJpsxvFB pic.twitter.com/9ZrbYcMSN9
— United Nations (@UN) November 19, 2020
- International Day of Persons with Disabilities #IDPWD
- International Mountain Day #InternationalMountainDay
- Universal Children’s Day #UNChildrensDay
- World Hello Day #WorldHelloDay
- World AIDS Day #WAD
- Microwave Oven Day #MicrowaveOvenDay
- Human Rights Day #HumanRightsDay
- World Kindness Day #WKD
- World Diabetes Day #WDD
- World Vegan Day #WorldVeganDay
- World Food Day #FoodDay
- Global Handwashing Day #GlobalHandwashingDay
- World Mental Health Day #WorldMentalHeathDay
- World Vegetarian Day #WorldVegetarianDay
- World Statistics Day #StatisticsDay
- World Animal Day #WorldAnimalDay
- World Rabies Day #WorldRabiesDay
- Read a Book Day #ReadABookDay
- World Environment Day #WorldEnvironmentDay
- World Book Day #WorldBookDay
- Earth Day #EarthDay
— Hyundai Motor Group (@HMGnewsroom) April 22, 2020
Here’s a list of the national day of various countries:
- New Year’s Day #NewYearsDay #HappyNewYear
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day #MartinLutherKingJrDay
- George Washington’s Birthday #WashingtonsBirthday
- Memorial Day #MemorialDay
- American Independence Day (Fourth of July) #FourthofJuly #July4
- Labor Day #LaborDay
- Columbus Day #ColumbusDay
- Veterans Day #VeteransDay
- Thanksgiving Day #Thanksgiving
- Christmas Day #ChristmasDay #MerryChristmas
- Boxing Day #BoxingDay
- Bastille Day #BastilleDay
- Saint Lucy’s Day #StLucysDay
- Canada Day #CanadaDay
- Australia Day #AustraliaDay
— Deadpool Movie (@deadpoolmovie) July 1, 2018
Celebrate these sports events for a target audience interested in specific sports:
- FIFA World Cup #FifaWorldCup
- Olympic Games #Olympics
- The UEFA Champions League #UCL
- ICC Cricket World Cup #CricketWorldCup #CWC
- Wimbledon Tennis #Wimbledon
- Tour de France Cycling #TourdeFrance #TDF
- Rugby World Cup #RWC #Rugby
- Formula One Racing #F1 #FormulaOne
- NBA Finals #NBA #NBAPlayoffs
- The Masters Tournament #TheMasters
- New York City Marathon #NYCMarathon
- IAAF World Championships #IAAF
- Hockey World Cup #HockeyWorldCup
- The Asian Games #AsianGames
- Commonwealth Games #CommonwealthGames #commonwealth
- Stanley Cup Playoffs #StanleyCup #StanleyCupPlayoffs
- Super Bowl #SuperBowl #SuperBowlSunday
— Pizza Hut (@pizzahut) February 3, 2019
Movies and TV series releases
Movies and TV series are the easiest way to identify your audience’s interests. Monitor hashtags by release dates of upcoming popular series and movies. Here are some of them:
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker #Skywalker
- Wonder Woman 1984 #WW84 #WonderWoman1984
- Stranger Things (season 4) #StrangerThings4 #StrangerThings
- Tenet #Tenet
- Godzilla vs. Kong #GodzillaVsKong
- Money Heist (season 5) #MoneyHeist5
If your target audience is youth, targeting these holidays will be helpful:
- Burning man #BurningMan
- Tomorrowland #Tomorrowland
- Electric Forest Festival #ElectricForest
- Lollapalooza #Lollapalooza
- La Tomatina #Tomatina #TomatinaFestival
- Glastonbury Festival #Glastonbury
- Oktoberfest #Oktoberfest
- Carnival in Rio de Janeiro #RioCarnival
- Summerfest #Summerfest
- Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival #Coachella
— H&M (@hm) April 15, 2017
Your audience must have their go-to award shows. Here’s a list of the most popular ones:
- The Nobel Prize #NobelPrize
- Tony Awards #TonyAwards
- The Booker Prize #BookerPrize
- The Academy Awards or Oscars #Oscars
- British Academy Film Awards or BAFTA Film Awards #BAFTAS
- Cannes Film Festival #CannesFilmFestival #Palmedor
- The Pulitzer Prize #Pulitzer #PulitzerPrize
- The Grammys #Grammys
- The BRIT Awards #BRITs #BRITAwards
- The Golden Globe Awards #GoldeGlobesAwards#GoldeGlobes
- Emmy Awards #Emmys
- The MTV Video Music Awards #VMAs
How to Keep Up With Social Media Holidays
As the vast list of holidays shows, some are evergreen while others are topical. So, to ensure you keep up with both types of social media holidays, integrate these two approaches:
Take a proactive approach
Some major events occur every year on a fixed date. These holidays matter for your audience and demand a special place in your social media holiday strategy.
Taking a proactive approach involves planning for such holidays, allowing you enough time to create a powerful brand story. For such preparation, follow this 6-step proactive approach:
- Identify important holidays for your brand
- Manually add them to your social media calendar
- Analyze previous campaigns
- Generate ideas
- Craft a story that connects with your audience
- Create stunning visuals
1. Identify important holidays for your brand
You can celebrate anything and everything. But should you?
No. Doing so will harm your brand.
Decide strategically what holidays are important for your brand by asking these questions:
- What is the theme of the holiday?
- What is the holiday celebrating?
- How did this holiday come into being?
- Who primarily celebrates this day? Are they my ideal customers?
- Does my product/service relate to it in any way?
- Do I support the cause?
- Is it something I can connect to personally?
For example, even NASA celebrated #NationalPuzzleDay because it resonates with their brand:
Today is #NationalPuzzleDay! 🧩 One of the major puzzles in astrophysics is the expansion rate of the universe, also known as the Hubble constant. Completely understanding the universe’s expansion might require new laws of physics: https://t.co/qg8Q0dcmCd pic.twitter.com/8UznUUvjm7
— Hubble (@NASAHubble) January 29, 2020
2. Manually add them to your social media calendar
Once you have a list of holidays you want to associate your brand with, add them to your social media calendar.
“Anytime you want to be involved in a holiday with your brand, definitely start thinking about it at the beginning of the year,” says social media strategist Audrie Segura.
Holiday seasons are overwhelming, and it’s easy for things to slip by. To ensure a smooth holiday campaign that generates huge profits for your organization, plan ahead of time. Manually adding holidays to your calendar can make it easier.
Alternatively, you can use Loomly to plan every social media holiday in one place with just one click:
You can plan all the significant events of the year and eliminate the risks of last-minute planning.
3. Analyze previous campaigns
Every major campaign needs a detailed analysis before planning. And holiday posts are no different. To make it an absolute success, perform an in-depth analysis of previous campaigns of your competitors and yourself to map out:
- The time frame of the campaign. This will depend on the type of holiday you choose to participate in. Is it a one-day event, or goes on for several days? When will you start and end the holiday campaign?
- The platforms on which you’ll execute your strategy. Not every type of content works on all platforms.
- The frequency of your posts through the holiday campaigns. How many posts are you planning to do for this event? How will they be spread out?
Analyze the type of content that worked (and didn’t work).
4. Generate ideas
Now that you know what works and what doesn’t, let your creative juices flow and jot down all the social media post ideas that come to your mind.
On D-day, social media will be overflooded with holiday posts, with every brand doing its best.
So, how do you stand out?
By using authentic and unique social media ideas around a central concept.
If it seems too much work, it’s because it is! But Loomly eases the task for you by giving you holiday post ideas by the day:
You can see the relevant events even when scheduling a post for your desired date. Not only this, but Loomly also shows you popular, topical hashtags around which you can create a post:
You can save your time searching for topical hashtags and spend it on strategizing instead.
5. Craft a story that connects with your audience
After selecting a central idea for a holiday, craft a story that flows seamlessly and connects with your audience. A compelling story grabs your audience’s attention and connects on an emotional level.
Take your time to do this and make sure it integrates with your holiday CTA. Take inspiration from Starbucks and their use of different formats of content:
Along with this, make sure you include posts that allow audience engagement. Some ideas for such posts include:
- Irresistible holiday packages/deals
- “Limited Time only” offers
6. Create stunning visuals
According to Twitter, tweets having images and videos receive a 35% and 28% boost respectively in retweets. And holidays are the perfect time to put this into practice.
Use stunning visuals to attract and hold your audience’s attention and stand out from the crowd. Take an example from Refinery29 on #MakeAFriendDay:
View this post on Instagram
They stood out from the crowd with their use of vibrant colors and garnered over 13 thousand likes!
If it’s an important day, you can also change your profile theme to match that of the holiday. For example, many brands changed their logo in support of Pride Month, including Converse:
Take a reactive approach
While proactive approaches work well for fixed events, audiences often develop a new hashtag based on topical events. To keep up with such events, you can integrate these three reactive approaches in your hashtag holidays strategy:
- Follow the news
- Monitor social media trends
- Watch your competitors
1. Follow the news
There’s no need to fear topical events. To connect with your audience in real-time, you need to keep a tab on current events.
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC
— OREO Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
2. Monitor social media trends
It helps you remain aware of your audience’s changing sentiments and interests. But it can be tiresome. Plus, if not performed meticulously, you can lose out on lucrative moments.
To prevent this, Loomly gives you suggestions of trending hashtags based on your copy along with the recent stats of the hashtags:
3. Watch your competitors
Getting busy in content creation and other logistics during holidays is common. But no matter how busy it gets, make it a point to monitor your competitors’ activities.
If your competitor is receiving engagement on a certain kind of post, learn how those posts target your audience.
Social Media Holidays in a Nutshell
Social media holidays provide you the opportunity to create a brand story that attracts your ideal customers. You can use these events to target specific identities that resonate with your brand.
Social media holidays help you:
- Humanize your brand
- Develop a brand personality
- Strengthen your community
- Increase engagement with your audience
- Promote your products and services to boost sales
To keep up with social media holidays, combine proactive and reactive approaches to reach your audience at the right time.