When thinking about what to post on social media, looking at popular calendar dates and events is often an easy place to start. However, when commenting on a well-known date, it’s important to ensure it is handled with sensitivity and authenticity.
Here are 5 things to consider when preparing a post for a popular calendar date or event:
1. Is this date/event a natural fit for us or are we jumping on the bandwagon?
Authenticity is so important when joining a wider conversation or commenting on an event. Understanding your own brand values, your tone of voice, and importantly your company’s position on various subjects is key.
If your usual posts are of a more serious nature, then posting a meme or jovial post could feel out of place to your audience. Equally, if your brand is known for more light-hearted or comedic content, then would it feel flippant to comment on a serious issue?
2. Do we have something interesting/valuable/sharable to say?
If not, then why are you posting? What value are you giving your audience? Sometimes it may be simply to show solidarity or be part of a widespread celebration, like at Easter or Christmas. Even then, how can you make your content original and enjoyable? Creating specific content appropriate for these platforms can be a good way to add value and your opinion to a subject.
3. Will people expect to hear from us today?
If the event is of a sensitive or emotional nature, then does your business have a legitimate reason to join the conversation? A recent example of an emotive date was International Women’s Day, which needed to be handled with sensitivity and understanding. Certain brands – especially those targeting women – were expected to be present in the conversation and make clear their position on the issue. Many brands that did not participate came under criticism for shying away from an important issue.
Even if the message might be difficult, it is important to ask yourself whether it could appear strange if you are not part of the conversation.
4. Will it look like we are exploiting a serious subject for our own personal gain?
The event must either be relevant enough to your brand to warrant your association, or generic enough for it not to matter. NBC Universal recently came under fire for rebranding their channel E! as SHE! for International Women’s Day, while NBC News is being investigated for sexual harassment in the workplace. This made the gesture appear calculated and superficial. It is always worth questioning your motives before posting on a controversial or emotive day, ensuring that your reasons are genuine.
5. Have we judged the tone correctly?
Your creative treatment and choice of words can make or break your involvement with a special event. Often the rationale for posting is sound and a brand can have a legitimate link to the date, but poor execution can be the downfall of many good intentions. Cadbury’s famously got into hot water in 2017 for the branding of their ‘Cadbury’s Egg Hunt’, criticised by Church leaders and even the Prime Minister for ‘air-brushing faith’ by removing the word ‘Easter’ from the title. What likely began as a decision to avoid any religious controversary actually ended up courting it.
If you are small business and are unsure about how to address a topic, then it can be helpful to run your posts past other members of your team to ensure that the tone and message you’re using are appropriate.
If you would like to talk to us about any of the topics in this article then please feel free to get in touch. If you are struggling to plan your social media content, then you can also read more about how to Shake Up Your Social here.
We hope you found this useful. If you would like to talk to us about your social media strategy then we would love to hear from you.