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Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Marketing and Social Media Respect



REI MLK TweetIt’s unlikely that a single, social media posting will double your monthly revenue but a single Tweet or Facebook post could wreck havoc with your bottom line. If a post comes off as disrespectful or disingenuous your company could end up getting a lot of publicity for all the wrong reasons.

Holidays are particularly tricky. Not the Hallmark holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. People expect you to promote your products on those days. But Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. . . oh my, it’s such a fine line.

You could ignore the holiday completely, but that makes your company look clueless. Plus, let’s face facts here, we all want the added juice that comes with mentioning a trending topic. Your best bet is to pass on cute or clever and go with a sincere statement that suits your company or a helpful fact that doesn’t directly benefit your company.

REI made a good choice with their post about free National Park entrance fees. REI sells camping gear so this is relevant information their customers can use. As a side note, they’re able to mention the holiday which adds them to the trending Tweet list without being offensive.

Walmart is big on volunteer service so they resisted the urge to push their sales and instead went with this respectful post:

Were there cringe-worthy posts yesterday? Yes. Several, but plenty of other outlets are covering those marketing missteps so I’ll leave that alone.

In February, we’ll all be faced with a holiday marketing paradox – President’s Day. On that day we celebrate the births of Washington and Lincoln, but for most people it’s a three-day weekend and a chance to save over 50%. It’s crazy. President’s Day (or the two Mondays if you prefer to split the holiday) has become a second Black Friday. In 2013, analysts noted that President’s Day discounts were even deeper than those from the previous Black Friday.

What this means is, you have a little more leeway when it comes to social media marketing on President’s Day. You could probably post an image of Abraham Lincoln wearing a Breaking Bad T-shirt or play off Washington’s “I cannot tell a lie” quote and come out okay. Would I recommend it? No.

Remember what I said at the top of this piece; one social media post isn’t going to make you but one can break you, so why take a chance? If you feel the need to reference a solemn holiday on Twitter or Facebook, keep it simple, keep it relevant and above all keep it respectful. Press is nice, but you don’t ever want to see your company named in an article titled “The Worst Branded Tweets of All Time.”