Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know of national awareness days, weeks, and months. You may also know that they’re often touted as a valuable marketing tool on social media. But is there a downside to awareness days?
Awareness days are often mentioned with tongue in cheek. For example, did you know about Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day (last Monday of each January in case you want to make a note in your diary for the next one)? Other obscure ones include Hug An Australian Day (in April) and Pretend to be a Time Traveller Day (in December).
Silly ones aside, there is no doubt that the use of relevant awareness days, weeks, and months can be valuable to your business. After all, Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is perfect for social media if you’re a home moving company or a professional decluttering service. Less so if you’re a life coach. So, while awareness days can be a brilliant way to promote your business, there are caveats.
First, the upside
Charities first started awareness trends to focus attention on particular issues and as a means of boosting fundraising activities. The idea caught on and gained momentum with the advent of social media. Now, an awareness day hashtag is a norm, e.g. #StressAwarenessDay.
Use the awareness day to show how your service can solve a problem. For example, #GriefAwarenessDay (August) could be used to flag any specific services you offer. If you don’t provide grief services, you can still use the day to raise your brand’s awareness. To do that, you might share an article on how to talk to someone who has been recently bereaved.
Similarly, #HealthyEatingWeek (June) lends itself to how diet affects mental health as well as physical. You get the idea.
Awareness day hashtags are an integral part of promoting the date. So by adding the relevant hashtag to a piece of content, you’re tapping into something big. It brings you into the feed of social media users who search the hashtag, many of whom would never have otherwise found you. A potential client may spot it is #MindfulnessDay in September and search the hashtag. They then find you because you added the relevant hashtag to your posts.
Awareness days also provide an excellent opportunity for engaging with others. Set aside a bit of extra time on the days that have particular relevance for your brand, search the associated hashtag, and get chatting. The hashtag enables you to join in others’ conversations just as it allows people to find and engage with you. Use it to build connections and raise awareness.
So what’s the downside to using awareness days?
It is possible to get it spectacularly wrong so it’s wise to be aware of the potential pitfalls.
Forgetting to be authentic
Awareness events are a brilliant way to promote your business, but only if you do it with authenticity. Choose the awareness days you use with care. It’s not a green light to shoehorn your brand into a random event for no other reason than the hashtag is trending on Twitter.
After all, just because you see it’s If Pets Had Thumbs Day, that doesn’t mean you need to mark it. It does little for your credibility and authority as an expert in your field if your social media is jammed with all sorts of irrelevant awareness days.
And worst-case scenario, it can damage your brand. Over-the-counter medication ZzzQuil discovered this when it misstepped on #MartinLutherKingDay a few years back. The attempts to tie its product with Dr King’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech backfired and became the subject of derision, as Mashable shares.
A change in perspective
Bear in mind that real-life events can put a different slant on scheduled posts. Although this applies to all scheduled social media posts, awareness days have particular potential to look bad. For example, #WorldKindnessDay would be a relevant and uplifting addition to the social media of most coaches and counsellors. But the most upbeat of messages can look insensitive and even offensive in the wake of a terrorist attack, which occurred after you scheduled the post.
Suppose this type of horrible event happens. In that case, it’s always wise to double-check what is pre-scheduled to go out on social media – especially if it coincides with any awareness days – and either delete or amend the wording to acknowledge the incident.
Getting the wrong date
Ok, so this isn’t the worst one ever, but it’s better to avoid it if you can. Most awareness days roll on from year to year, and yet the dates can be surprisingly slippery to pin down. The best advice is to check, check, and check again, using different sources. Best of all, find the charity or organisation behind the date so you can verify the dates on their website.
To make life easy for you, I handpick the best awareness days for mental health and wellbeing each month and put them on a blog post. I check them for you (although if you’re anything like me, you’ll check them yourself too – just to be sure!).
In short, awareness days are a valuable tool providing they speak to your target audience. But if they don’t, there is a definite downside to using awareness days. Use those that are meaningful for your brand – and shelf the rest (perhaps on Library Shelfie Day, fourth Wednesday of January each year!).
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