Awareness days run the gamut from the absurd and fun to the somber and weighty. Often, I work with brands who want to incorporate awareness days into their social media content calendars believing it will connect their brand with a bigger trend. Bigger trend, better reach, more brand visibility. Sounds like a reasonable and simple request. But the strategy behind awareness days and when to use them on social media is more complex than just tossing out a post and letting the likes roll in.
Awareness days can be a great way for brands to showcase what they care about and create stronger connections to their audience. If your brand has a program to support Veterans – from employment and hiring programs to family support – it makes sense to share something on Veteran’s or Memorial Day. Your brand directly does something that supports the people who are recognized and commemorated by these awareness days. The connection between your brand and those days is real, tangible – and will help you create stronger connections with your audience through this common cause.
Similarly, if your brand is a security company, it makes sense to tap into something like Cybersecurity Awareness Day. It’s part of your business and a core tenant of your brand. But a medical device company that is focused on improving security on their products could also participate in this trend. Tap into a trend when you need to educate your audience on what you do. It’s an opportunity to connect with your audience in a different way but still be authentic to who you are.
Does your brand have something meaningful to contribute to the conversation? That’s the question I always ask my clients who want to partake in awareness days. The intent is to get brands thinking about how authentic it is for them to participate. If the only response is “Other companies are posting, we should have something out there,” that’s not authentic. Audiences on social media are not shy about calling out brands who are inauthentic and participating to be seen. Being seen is not as valuable as being helpful – and the internet is happy to let you know when you’re not adding value.
Think about this Seahawks post that co-opted Martin Luther King, Jr. day to talk football. Twitter was quick to condemn. And worse, think about AT&T posting an advertisement vaguely disguised as a 9/11 memorial post. An extreme example for sure, but still a cautionary tale.
We’re approaching a flurry of holidays right now. Some of these may be appropriate for your brand to share a message of good cheer. But maybe think twice if International Ninja Day is authentic to your brand.