Holidays to Participate in or Ignore Completely on Social Media

Every holiday, from Thanksgiving all the way down to #NationalDonutDay, is a potential opportunity for your brand to join the conversation and put your unique spin on the day. However, not all holidays and the ideals associated with them are good times to promote your brand. Here are some that your brand likely should, and at least as importantly, should not jump in on.

Green Light: 4th of July

As a celebratory holiday, the 4th of July is usually a safe place to associate your brand and/or products with the day’s festivities. It’s a great opportunity for food and beverage companies, outdoor party gear, or just wish America a happy birthday (assuming your brand is based in the United States). A classic example is Bud Light’s tweet from 2014. Yes, it’s #old, but it’s a great tweet from a brand who is associated with Americana, combining their brand equity, timeliness, and emoji.


Yellow Light: Christmas

Woah, woah, woah, is this a War on Christmas you see? Nope, not at all. Despite Christmas, and its shopping extravaganza that consumes roughly an entire month, being a widely celebrated holiday, there are plenty of cautions to consider before creating branded content for the holiday.  As Christmas is a religious holiday as opposed to a historic holiday (like Independence Day), it’s best not to play up the religious aspect for many brands, since you’d run the risk of getting into conversations you may not want.

We recommend having Christmas/holiday content that focuses on storytelling and why the holidays are important to your audience. Heathrow Airport (yes, an airport) did a fantastic job of telling heartwarming stories with their holiday campaign this year showing two teddy bears traveling home for the holidays. It was simple, relatable, and very effective at getting engagement in a busy time.

These bears just want to come home!

These bears just want to come home!

Red Light: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, September 11th, etc.

By this point, you may think that most people are aware of the risks and pitfalls of posting branded content on holidays and observances like these. Oh, how wrong you would be!

Let’s look at Martin Luther King Jr. Day first. Yes, there are ways that your brand can share content that day, but if you’re going to make that choice, it’s very important to focus on Dr. King and not your brand. Please, please don’t do things like “honor” Dr. King by having a sale or using “MLK___” as a promo code. It’s tacky, and you’ll likely offend more people and lose more customers than the discount would bring in. Seriously, don’t do this:




One of the darkest days in American history, September 11th is a day that each year is filled with memorials, ceremonies, and many use that day to reflect on lost loved ones. It should not, let me repeat, should NOT be a time to leverage your brand.

Doing so almost never goes well, and it’s a perfect time of when silence is better than saying or posting anything.

Despite AT&T’s tweet going up in 2013, it’s still a prime example of trying to turn a tragedy into a marketing effort.


Even worse, in my opinion (despite my personal enjoyment of the brand) was Stone Brewing’s ominous looking Instagram post on September 11th:


A good rule to rely on when it comes to your brand posting on social for holidays and observances is: when in doubt, don’t. “Companies need to avoid appearing tone deaf or insensitive when posting content on holidays or around news events” said Gayle Weiswasser, VP of marketing and social engagement at Homesnap.

Looking for great social strategies that work all year long? Drop us a line.

Ignite Social Media