Cultural Holidays: To Post or Not to Post?

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By John Kultgen and Andrew Minucci

Social media users are getting increasingly intolerant of irrelevant brands inserting themselves into popular conversations. This is especially true of cultural holidays. Social media offers the consumer a quick, visible and viral way to create a backlash when they see a brand trying to capitalize on a serious subject.

This danger has motivated some brands to completely stay away from respect-driven holidays. Pepsi, Southwest Airlines and Samsung Mobile are just a few big brands that decided to stay silent on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2016.

But if you do choose to speak up, how does your brand mention a cultural holiday without ending up on one of those “social media fails” lists?

Show That You Care

The core of your message should be how your brand serves the holiday, not how the holiday can serve your brand. Brands make the news for being insensitive when they have pushed their product or circled back to their own interests.


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Only Post if Your Message Falls Under One of Four Supportive Categories

  1. Voice General Support
    Make it about the holiday. Example: “Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s impact, and remember his words of belonging and equality for all.”
  2. Highlight Charitable Contributions
    What accredited non-profits do you work with? Mention those relevant efforts on that day.
  3. Showcase Your Awareness Efforts
    Even if you don't formally work with a charity, you can still create a campaign of support. For instance, the LA Clippers let a local artist paint a portrait of MLK.
  4. Feature Employee Programs
    Your employees care about cultural holidays. Show your support, the same way UPS showcased their employees marching in a Veterans Day parade.

Questions? Leave a comment below and we'll advise your brand on the best approach to effectively support a cultural holiday on social media.