Unofficial holidays are becoming increasingly popular across the internet and social media. If your small business isn’t using them in marketing yet, then now is the time to jump in. This guide will share all the tips and strategies you need to get started with unofficial holiday marketing today. Let’s go!
What Are Unofficial Holidays?
Unofficial holidays are special celebrations that groups, brands, and individuals create to honor something specific. Most of these holidays aren’t recognized by the government but are still wildly popular among people (including your customers!).
Looking to stay relevant on #socialmedia throughout the year with your #smallbiz? Use unofficial #holidays to stay on your customers radar! Click to tweet
They can cover serious subjects – such as Movember, which brings awareness about men’s health issues like prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health. Or they can be lighthearted, fun, and just plain silly, such as the notorious Talk Like a Pirate Day.
As alluded to in the examples above, unofficial holidays can be celebrated on a specific day, week, or even the entire month.
For a FULL LIST of unofficial holidays, grab our free PDF resource here, that will help you create your unofficial holiday marketing plan!
Why Should Your Business Take Part In Unofficial Holiday Marketing?
Many businesses already use unofficial holidays in their marketing strategy. So, why has unofficial holiday marketing become so popular? Here is why we, at VirTasktic, love participating in these fun holidays:
1. They’re timely and topical.
When you celebrate an unofficial holiday, you’re participating in something happening right now, in real-time. It’s a matter of current interest to people reading your blog and social media posts, and it allows you to stay relevant.
2. They’re sharable.
Unofficial holidays are fun! They give you the chance to create interesting posts, sharable images, and intriguing content that will get more engagement than your basic sales and promotion posts.
3. They showcase your personality.
As mentioned, unofficial holidays range from serious to just plain weird. By choosing to celebrate specific holidays, you can highlight your brand personality, communicate what you’re about, and show the personality behind the business.
4. They help you plan content.
If you’re like most small business owners, it can be a struggle to figure out what to publish on your blog or what to post on social media. However, when you include unofficial holidays in your marketing plan, you always have a ton of fun content to write about.
3 Steps to Get Started with Unofficial Holiday Marketing
Jumping into unofficial holiday marketing is as easy as 1-2-3. Here are the simple steps to follow.
1. Select the Holidays You’ll Promote
This helpful PDF is a gigantic list of all the unofficial holidays we know of! In it, we share the monthly, weekly, and daily observances you can celebrate for each month.
As you are browsing possible holidays, here are some Dos and Don’ts for selecting the right ones for your small business:
- Select holidays that directly relate to your products or services.
- Select holidays that are related to your industry.
- Select holidays that allow you to show off your expertise.
- Select holidays that allow you to express your personality.
- Select holidays that create a connection with your audience or allow you to start a conversation.
- Choose holidays that don’t align with your business or brand personality.
- Choose holidays that might offend your customers.
- Choose holidays that might distract from other promotions you are running.
- Choose holidays where there is an unclear connection to your business (you can be creative, but if it’s too much of a stretch, it won’t work).
Never assume that you know what the holiday is all about by the name alone. Although most are ‘what you see is what you get,’ some are not what you’d expect.
For example, you may see “National Loyalty Day” and see it as a perfect opportunity to promote your store’s loyalty program or offer a discount to past purchasers. However, National Loyalty day is actually about freedom and loyalty related to America, patriotism, or, more specifically, those who serve in the military. Therefore, if you use it to promote your store’s loyalty program, you may end up offending your customers.
When researching the holiday, make sure that you are clear about what the holiday celebrates, who created it, and its history. By doing so, you can avoid taking the wrong promotional angle or choosing something that has negative associations that you don’t want to be tied to your brand.
To help you out, our Unofficial Holiday List has links to almost all of the holidays so you can learn more about them in one click.
2. Choose Your Promotional Strategy
Now that you’ve selected some holidays to use in your unofficial holiday marketing plan, it’s time to select a promotional strategy.
First, you can think about where you will be promoting the holiday. Will you write a blog post about it? Send an email? Post on your social media channels? Decide what is most appropriate and who will do what.
You’ll also want to research to see if there is a holiday hashtag. Many unofficial holidays have their own hashtag, and by using it, you immediately become part of the conversation that day, allowing people to find your content easily when they search for the hashtag.
In our Unofficial Holiday List, we have links to most of the holidays where you can learn more about them, including their specific hashtag.
Next, you’ll want to decide on the angle for your promotion. That is, how will you take the holiday and weave it into your business marketing in a way that makes sense? Here are some ideas:
- Sell Products or Services: If you have products or services that relate to the holiday, use it as a chance to talk about those products or run a sale. For example, a local ice cream shop can share a coupon on National Chocolate Ice Cream Day; a business owner can share their free ebook (or sell their paid one) during Read an eBook Week; and an animal shelter can run an adopt-a-thon on National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day.
- Highlight Your Business: Some unofficial holidays are the perfect excuse to talk about your business. For example, National Be Heard Day, Small Business Saturday, Black Business Month, and National Women’s Small Business Month are all potential opportunities to talk about your business. You can also have fun on days like National Tell a Story Day or International Being You Day.
- Demonstrate Your Expertise: For more serious unofficial holidays, you may have the chance to share what you know about a topic. For example, a psychologist or counselor could develop some excellent blog posts and tip-based social media posts during Positive Attitude Month. Likewise, a business coach could share expertise during National Write a Business Plan Month.
- Show Your Personality: Of course, there are also many weird, funny, and quirky unofficial holidays. Whether it is National Knock-Knock Jokes Day, National Anti-Boredom Month, or National Book Lover’s Day, your business can have fun choosing holidays that show a little personality.
- Start a Conversation: There are also unofficial holidays that allow you to talk with your customers and start a conversation with them. For example, Get to Know Your Customer Day happens on the third Thursday of each quarter (January, April, July, and October). This is a wonderful opportunity to ask your customers a question or create a poll on social media.
- Customer (and Employee) Appreciation: Many unofficial holidays will allow you to show love and appreciation to your customers and employees. Try it out on days like National Compliment Day, National Employee Appreciation Day, and National Gratitude Month.
Now that you’ve got your ideas together, it’s time to execute them. Again, we recommend planning out your promotions at least one to two months ahead, so you have time to do it right.
Determine what products you will sell or what discount you will offer (if applicable). Next, write your blog, email, and social media posts, and create custom images. Finally, if you are ready ahead of time, you can schedule everything out.
To keep track of your ideas and how they fit in with your other promotional materials each month, you can use a tool like our Blogging Editorial Calendar and Planner.
Unofficial holiday marketing is a great addition to your small business marketing strategy. And our Unofficial Holiday List makes it so simple for you! So make sure to grab your copy of this amazing free resource, and have fun planning out your promotions!