4 simple rules on social media awareness days
If you've ever worked in digital marketing you've probably faced a dilemma at one point or another over whether you should take part in a social media awareness day. Our marketing manager Holly shares her view on the basic rules to apply when deciding to give them a hit or miss.
Is it just me or does it feel like there’s an ‘international day of’ for every single blinkin’ day of the week?
This is what I thought to myself as I scrolled through Twitter trends, looking at what was going on in the world, and how any of it might relate to the brand that I’m trying to market - in this case, Leith. It got me thinking about awareness days, national holidays and festivities in general. How important are they really for marketing a brand? Are they quite a lot of effort for not much in return?
Maybe I’m just a bit of a scrooge, somewhat cynical of brands jumping on bandwagons after several years in this industry, or maybe there’s something in it. Like any good marketing challenge, it really comes down to a couple of basic questions around audience, objectives, channels and brand. So, I’ve laid out some important rules that any social media marketer should consider when planning around these days and deciding whether to give them a hit or miss.
#1 Don’t try too hard.
A basic rule is to always think about whether the occasion is relevant to your brand. Are you a dog food brand trying to shoehorn in content for International Gin and Tonic Day? Maybe best to give this one a miss.
A gin company planning a big campaign for Sausage Roll Day? Don’t even think about it.
Or, a sausage roll supplier working on some memes for Kiss A Ginger Day? Stop what you’re doing, right now!
Think about your brand, its target audience and how much it aligns to the occasion you’re planning to talk about. If it feels unnatural in any way, then it’s probably one to skip. However, it is also important to think about the people in your market and the things they care about, to help capture their attention.
A brand that has really known how to get this right over the years is InTheStyle. When LoveIsland is on, their social team is ready to pump out the memes and engage with their target audience - young women and girls who are more likely to watch these shows. Whether you agree with this or not, they do so in a way that feels natural and on-brand. Their customers find their content relatable and, in turn, purchase their products.
#2 Your goals before own goals.
Ask yourself what you ultimately want to achieve out of taking part in a social media awareness day. Will it help increase online sales of your product, or will it add to your brand's fun, cheeky and newsworthy status? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, then you probably have a good reason to take part.
But if you’re just doing it because you don’t have anything else to post that day, you’re probably better off missing it out altogether.
That leads me onto my next point...
#3 If in doubt, miss it out.
When it comes to awareness days and seasonal campaigns, it’s all too easy to overdo it. Posting about every single trending day could come across as a bit desperate - you might as well end your post with a toe-curling #likeforlike.
Remember, less is more. Pick the days and themes that are relevant to your brand, its customers and your wider objectives. Make sure that, if you’re taking part, you have something to say that adds value, encourages engagement and reflects positively on your brand.
#4 Being talked about can be worse than not being talked about.
Sometimes social media managers feel the pressure to post about trending topics, but just because everyone else is talking about something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should too. It’s important to consider whether you have the substance behind your posts and whether your brand has a valid reason for participating in such an occasion. Jumping on days that are intended to raise awareness for good causes with content promoting your own brand could be seen as distasteful and might result in a backlash on social media.
Throughout the recent COP26 events, many companies have been accused of ‘Greenwashing’ - talking (loudly) about the things they’re doing to protect the environment that really have little or no impact. Brands that were effective during this time were those that were honest about their environmental efforts and committed themselves to doing more. The public could tell who was authentic and didn’t hold back on calling out those who weren’t.
Of course, there are always some exceptions to the rules. Our friends at IRN-BRU dominated social media at COP26 with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's hunt for a can of Scotland’s other national drink, despite not running their own campaign. IRN-BRU's natural sense of humour and bold nature on social media allowed the brand to maximise on the coverage it received.
As well as considering whether you should speak up in the first place, it goes without saying that you need to make sure that the tone is right too. Many of us will remember Burger King’s controversial International Women’s Day tweet that went viral earlier this year.
Despite their best intentions of raising awareness about the lack of female chefs, Burger King’s tweet attracted widespread attention for, arguably, the wrong reasons and they ended up deleting it altogether.
If you’ve ever worked in a social media team, you probably don’t need to be told this, but I’ll say it anyway…
It’s always worth a sense check. It’s good practice to have a second pair of eyes on any content that goes out and even more so if there’s potential that it could harm your reputation. Again, if in doubt, miss it out.
To post or not to post
Social media awareness days continue to be both exciting and terrifying for marketing teams across the world. But it doesn’t need to be this way.
When planning your social media content, if you do so in a way that is authentic, meaningful and worthwhile and always has your audience and objectives in mind, then you can’t go wrong. Stay up to date with what’s going on in the world and within your target audience and educate yourself whenever you’re unsure about something newsworthy. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, so don’t try and shoehorn content in for the sake of it.
And don’t forget to have fun! The brands that really nail these occasions are the ones with a sense of humour. So, be bold, engage your audience and make sure you stand out from the clutter of terrible memes and self-promotion!