Tweeting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day: The Good, the Bad and the Why?!

Brands are constantly searching for ways to insert themselves into trending topics, big events, and national holidays on social media. While it can be a great way to get some extra impressions and increase engagement, jumping on trends for historical, political, and polarizing topics can potentially put your brand at risk for some serious backlash. This is where your brand needs to think about Right-Time Marketing, instead of Real-Time Marketing. (“Right-time” meaning the right post at the right time to the right people, and always right for YOUR brand. To learn more about this, check out this blog post.)

We evaluated some previous branded content from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and saw some brands do #MLKDay right, some do it wrong, and others not do anything at all (which, in this case, we see as a good thing). Here’s a roundup of the Good, the Bad, and the Why!? We advise you use these insights to help decide how (and if) your brand should participate in the conversation on future MLK Days and holidays alike. 

The Good

Crayola MLK Day Example

Yes, yes, yes. Smart execution that strongly ties to the brand, without pushing sales or products.  It’s also great to see Crayola rebound after their scary security mishap that lead to inappropriate posts on their channels.

PetSmart MLK Day Example
Simple and cute. And really, does anything convey a message of love better than dogs? Nope. Well done, PetSmart.
RED MLK Day Example
Since (RED) is a charity that’s all about helping people, this tweet was a good choice and a natural fit for their tone on social media. It’s genuine and not self-promoting.

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The Bad

Seattle Seahawks MLK Day Example
Ok, we know the Seahawks were probably still riding the high from the crazy comeback win that’s sending them to the Super Bowl, but comparing what MLK did to a football game is NEVER a good idea. (It’s worth noting that the Seahawks eventually realized their blunder. They deleted the tweet and issued an apology.)

Buick MLK Day Example
MLK Day is not the time to be pushing your #ThatsABuick campaign, nor to tag it onto another topic like #NAIAS. Not to mention, MLK Day isn’t the occasion where you wish someone a “Happy MLK Day.” It’s meant to be introspective and reflective, so poor execution all around.

The Why???

(This list contains brands that weren’t necessarily good or bad, but really had no reason to be putting themselves into the conversation.)
Steak + Celebrated Civil Rights Activist = Awkward tweet.
White Castle MLK Day Example
Was this necessary? Nope.
Keds MLK Day Example
Nice quote, but what does Keds have to do with this? Maybe their shoes are durable? Whatever the reasoning for tweeting this was, it ended up feeling out of place and somewhat forced.

The Verdict

What lessons can be learned from these examples? Sometimes, not tweeting is the best thing you can do for your brand. While some brands may have a creative & authentic way to insert themselves, others are better off steering clear. If you’re tweeting about a holiday, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, just to be in the conversation, but have nothing relevant to say, you’re doing more harm than good. Thinking about Right-Time Marketing when deciding whether or not to participate can work wonders for your brand and engagement.

As a leading social media agency, we urge you to always think before you tweet, especially on days commemorating a civil rights pioneer. #cmgrPSA

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