How to Post Authentically for Holidays as a Brand
There is, quite literally, a holiday to be celebrated every single day. Sometimes multiple a day. So as a brand, which ones do you post for? Should you have a graphic ready for National Ice Cream Cake Day? And what should you say – if anything? It can be confusing to keep up every holiday within the calendar year, and it can even be nerve wracking when posting about holidays you don’t celebrate yourself as you don’t want to get anything wrong – brands face serious scrutiny and criticism these days, and you can even cause serious harm to communities if you misrepresent a sacred and important holiday.
Does all this have you thinking you should never say “Happy Father’s Day” on your Instagram stories ever again? Don’t worry! With some well-intentioned research and the right people in the room, you can make sure your brand celebrates every holiday the fun and appropriate way for everyone.
What holidays should you post for?
Did you know that October 17th is National Clean Out Your Virtual Desktop Day? We bet you didn’t. Should your brand post about it? Probably not. The holidays you post about as a brand should be always relevant to what you do as a brand, so unless you specialize in computer software, there’s no need to scramble to get an entire social media package together to remind everyone to finally move that random file that’s been sitting on your laptop desktop to the recycle bin.
This rule has some exceptions, though. As a brand, you should always strive for inclusion by celebrating any federal holidays within your country of origin/country where your consumers are located, as well as any major identity-based holidays or months.
For example, if you’re based in the U.S., it would come off as disrespectful to not post in celebration of the 4th of July (or Independence Day, as it is officially recognized – a point we’ll get to later in the dos and don’ts section of this blog), a federal holiday which most employees have off in honor of.
It’s also important to be aware of any new or now-widely accepted holidays. In the U.S., Juneteenth National Independence Day was recognized in 2021. Also in 2021, Canada made official its National Truth and Reconciliation Day. Just because these holidays are new doesn’t mean they’re any less worthy of being recognized!
Identity and religious-based holidays are also worth posting for as a brand, especially if you have a large amount of clients, customers, or team members who celebrate it – but again, it’s always better to make everyone feel welcome and included by posting about them, but if you feel you’re unable to be authentic about it because you don’t know enough or simply because you don’t think it’s right for your brand, then it’s better to err on the side of caution.
What exactly should you say?
In order to post authentically about a holiday, what should you even say in the post? Should you say anything at all? It largely depends on the holiday.
For something like Father’s Day, a sentence or two in the caption of your post about wishing a happy holiday to all different kinds of dads suffices. For holidays that signify something with a greater weight to it – like Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for example – might require some further context in order to make your post be as authentic as possible. Sticking with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day example, incorporating a quote from him as well as reaffirming why it’s important to recognize and celebrate the day would be appropriate as well.
For identity-based holidays or months, like International Women’s Day or Asian American and Pacific Islander History Month, it would be very meaningful to have some of your team members who live every day of their lives with these identities explain why these holidays are important to them and how they celebrate.
This shows your audience that these holidays aren’t just an opportunity to get likes on an obligatory post made out of a forced attempt at inclusion on behalf of your brand, but rather are days that have a real human element behind them by showing the people who actually celebrate and have knowledge of these days.
If you’re posting about holidays that originate outside your country of origin, it will come off as more authentic if you also try to include the proper name of the holiday and appropriate greetings in the traditional language spoken in the region where the holiday comes from or is celebrated.
When posting about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (sometimes traditionally spelled as Chanukah), you might want to say “Chag urim sameach”, which means “happy festival of lights” in Hebrew. Sharing these traditional greetings are not only a sign that your brand has done its homework, but it also may teach your audience something new as well!
Some simple dos and don’ts for holiday posting as a brand
Want to be as authentic as possible when posting for holidays? Here are some dos and don’ts that are sure to have your brand posting like a pro when it comes time to celebrate.
- Do your research before posting – it’s gonna be awkward for everyone when you get something wrong, so try to eliminate the possibility of that happening by making sure all your facts are correct before hitting the “post” button. “Chinese New Year” and “Lunar New Year” are both common phrases to see among brand posts, but “Lunar New Year” is more general and refers when the New Year is celebrated in countries – mostly East and South East Asian – where the calendar is based off of the lunar one, while “Chinese New Year” is the proper phrase for the Lunar New Year celebration exclusive to China.
- Use the correct or colloquially-known name for holidays – Independence Day is the proper name for what most people call “4th of July”. Both are fine to use, but the latter is more well-understood among most Americans.
- Prioritize DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) efforts – these days, DEI work is more important than ever. If you have the resources, consider bringing on a Diversity Officer to your team to help with things like being authentic as a brand during holidays that celebrate marginalized peoples. If this isn’t possible, ask some of your fellow team members and colleagues if they celebrate the holiday you plan to post about and if they’d feel comfortable sharing their knowledge on day.
- Engage with your audience – ask your audience to share how they celebrate the holiday in question in the comments section.
- Be tacky for the sake of inclusion – people can usually tell, and it’s not a good look. Want to change your brand’s logo to rainbow for Pride Month? Unless your brand is seriously committed to supporting LGBTQ+ rights year-round, maybe don’t. “Rainbow washing” or “rainbow capitalism” are terms used to describe when brands change their logos to rainbow colors or otherwise indicate LGBTQ+ inclusion during the month of June with little or no actual outward action behind it.
- Post about a holiday you know nothing about – again, people can tell. It’s just inauthentic and rude to pretend to celebrate something when you don’t know what it means.
- Celebrate every random holiday – if your brand isn’t ice cream related, don’t post about National Ice Cream Day. If we’re being honest, nobody knew that holiday existed anyway.
- Treat it as an opportunity to make it about your brand – Christmas is great. Go ahead and wish people a merry one! But we don’t need to hear about how your brand is running a special Christmas sale on a day that should be spent with family or practicing religion.
Is your brand ready to celebrate the holidays authentically and in style? Then visit us at Power Move Marketing to request a quote! We nail the brand every time and have a variety of services that are sure to fit the vision you have for your brand.
Author: Louise Irpino