The number of national and international hashtag holidays increases every year. What began as a way of raising awareness of various social issues has now expanded to hundreds of holidays celebrating relationships, communities, social justice issues, and even food.

From #WorldChocolateDay to #WorldMentalHeathDay, it can be difficult to determine which holidays or fame days are relevant to your brand and resonate with your audience.

Holidays like #NationalDogDay offer you a great opportunity to share experiences and the humor in life. But hashtag holidays and awareness days can also be more serious.

Increasingly, consumers want brands to talk about important topics and this is another way to connect with your audience. In fact, in Sprout’s # BrandsGetReal report, 67% of consumers believed that brands are effective at driving change when they raise awareness of important public issues. A national holiday or month of awareness can be a good starting point to incorporate meaningful initiatives into your social strategy.

Here is our list of the top hashtag holidays for 2021. We have compiled them on a Google Calendar with additional holidays and awareness days to add to your own social media calendar.

Read on to learn more about how to listen to, strategize, and simplify your approach to hashtag holidays.

To begin

Step 1: Choose relevant hashtags

When it comes to social media, some brands celebrate every holiday regardless of its relevance to their business. While holidays like #NationalTacoDay can be fun to attend, it can be a misstep for a nursery.

Before your brand chooses which holidays to highlight on your social channels, remember the purpose of social media. Businesses can take advantage of these busy social moments to cultivate deeper connections with their customers and communities. While some holidays will attract more likes than others, it’s important to remember that if your approach isn’t real and relevant, the value of that engagement will be lost.

Know the “why” of your brand

On some holidays, people may join social media who may not fit your audience. Before your brand decides to go on vacation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your brand making a statement or is it doing something for fun?
  • What is my goal in using this hashtag?
  • What is my follow up plan?

If you can safely answer these questions, then take part in this holiday! If not, you may want to revise whether your brand should participate.

Step 2: use your data to give your audience what they want

As social media marketers, we need to be ahead of our audience’s needs. Take the guesswork out of social media by using hearing tools to find out exactly what your audience is talking about.

Sprout’s Advanced Listening Tool gives you valuable insight into the conversations where a particular hashtag holiday intersects your brand or product. In addition, you can overhear how brands or organizations of competitors with similar audiences have approached these days in the past.

Step 3: report what works / not works

After you’ve narrowed down your audience’s needs and the holidays your brand will attend, measure the relevance of your strategy. You measure the performance of your campaigns and you need to do the same in relation to your hashtag vacation strategy.

Sprout’s reporting suite makes it easy to interpret the success of content created specifically for hashtag holidays. You can use Sprout to:

  • Use your best hashtag performance from last year as the foundation for your new goals and measure performance on the go.
  • Share your monthly and yearly planning with Sprout’s volume analysis and conversation analysis tools. This data gives you even more insight into what changes you may need to make in your approach over the course of the year.
  • Save data ahead of time and save ideas on how your brand will be celebrating brand awareness right on your content calendar with Sprout’s publishing tools.

Step 4: Confirm a public holiday in advance

Don’t wait until the day of a vacation to share your stance on a social justice topic or a day of awareness that your audience values. Build on it just like American Express did for small businesses on Saturday.

During the month of November, American Express piqued the anticipation of Small Business Saturday by highlighting various companies on their social media pages. They also have a website dedicated to small business shopping that advertises black-owned businesses and neighborhood champions. AmEx’s campaign is an example of how awareness days / months and campaigns go beyond the social setting. When you have a great idea, make sure you talk to other members of your marketing team so you can collaborate on something bigger!

Step 5: Make a statement – if it’s appropriate and relevant to your brand

Awareness days have a deeper impact when your brand participates in them. 2020 has been a chaotic year for many, but thanks to the power of social media, many brands have been able to raise awareness of various causes and holidays that were not previously widely recognized.

One holiday that gained more prominence this year was June 19, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Sephora celebrated June 19th by posting more than just a cute graphic on social media. They had a live chat with their Sephora equity partners (black activists, academics and partners) to further reinforce the black voices. By educating their audience on the history of Juneteenth, they showed their brand’s passion for social justice and helped raise awareness about the holiday.

Ben & Jerry’s has made a name for itself over the years as a brand dedicated to social activism. This year for Thanksgiving Day, they encouraged their listeners to have open conversations with their families about the origins of the holiday and provided six facts to use when discussing racial justice. Aside from raising awareness, they donate to various charities and create new flavors that are inspired by causes they are committed to.

If your brand supports multiple causes, you can be transparent and post about it on social media, but only if it is relevant to your brand. For example, you can post through #WorldMentalHealthDay, but it’s different to take a stand. If the goal of your brand is to have a firm stance on something, make sure you support that with your actions. If you just want to raise awareness, a social media post may be enough.

Go one step further

We mentioned earlier that you need to choose wisely when choosing which holidays to attend. This is especially true if you are reporting on a day or month of awareness that is a social problem. In these cases, you want your brand to focus on intent to participate, not just make a one-time statement or elude years of commitment. According to the 2020 Sprout Index report, 45% of consumers felt that brands that were focused on transparency were best in class on social media. Posting about a vacation is only part of the process. You need to put actions behind your words to make a difference for your audience.

There’s still a time and place for holidays like #NationalDonutDay, but it may not always be worth posting about it for your brand. And when you’re attending an important and important day of awareness like Juneteenth, duplicating your strategy for #NationalDonutDay won’t hurt. Know that your audience will sense your intent and judge what they want to see before curating your social media calendar.

What’s next?

Now that you have your hashtag holidays and awareness days / months planned for 2021, it’s time to celebrate! Remember to stay true to your brand by choosing relevant hashtags that will help your brand create a deeper connection with your target audience.

Use our Google Calendar of 2021 Holidays to keep track of your top holidays and find new ones to inspire you.

What hashtag holidays and awareness days will you be attending? Any findings from 2020? Tweet us your thoughts @SproutSocial!