Tips for Leveraging Holidays for Advocacy
Releasing information at a point in time when it’s most relevant to the target audience is marketing 101. So leveraging appropriate campaigns around holidays has been a tried and tested advertising and marketing tool used successfully for decades. But it can be just effective for government relations pros trying to get the message on their issue out. Here’s how:
The Independent Community Bankers of America recently launched two successful social media campaigns surrounding major holidays.
In the lead up to Halloween, ICBA took to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to play trick or treat with an advocacy focus. During the week before Oct. 31, ICBA released a positive fact about community banks “The Treat”, alongside a playful jab at opponents of their legislative and regulatory priorities, “The Trick.” The trick and treat were embedded in a graphic reflecting common Halloween themes ranging from witches to spiders to pumpkins. The graphics were produced in-house utilizing the easy-to-use online tool Canva. The result was over 27,000 impressions, 568 interactions, and a boost in the overall engagement rate – all the while calling attention to the most pertinent advocacy issues of the organization.
ICBA launched a similar campaign in the lead up to Christmas, Hanukah, and New Years. Coinciding with the launch of the new ICBA website, the government relations and marketing/communications teams joined together to run the “12 Days of Advocacy” highlighting different parts of the website and new advocacy tools for membership. Instead of distributing a generic manual, users were captured by an eclectic social media post and then transported directly to the appropriate link. The goal for the ongoing campaign is to familiarize viewers with the advocacy resources on the website and is an example of cross-channel marketing.
Almost every month or day has a designation from National Oatmeal Month (January) to Thesaurus Day (Jan. 18) so the opportunities to make a connection between a holiday and your cause or campaign are endless. However, use some discretion and choose wisely when considering making a connection with a holiday and an aspect of your advocacy program. Furthermore, use some discretion in selecting a theme outside the bounds of the typical imagery or themes associated with your individual organization.
5 Tips for Leveraging Your Message During Holidays
- Maintain organizational voice/tone: Be creative and compelling, but never lose focus on how your members or advocates view your organization. In the campaigns below, the content is serious, but connected through a light-hearted mechanism.
- The Holiday is the hook, but it’s not the message: Your goal is not to call attention to Halloween or New Years, but to make a clear connection between a tangible and easily digestible theme with an advocacy message.
- Link Up: Make sure that you have a call to action on each social media post or a resource that the user is directed towards after receiving the short form communication on social media.
- Summarize Your Campaign: Put together the content from a multi-day campaign to show your audience in full view the totality of the campaign.
- Marketing & Communications /Government Relations Collaboration: Not every association or corporation will want to produce disruptive content that leverages a holiday for advocacy. The synergy between marketing & communications and your government relations department must be strong in order for a campaign to launch and ultimately be successful.
Joshua Habursky is the Director of Advocacy at the Independent Community Bankers of America and Chairman of the Grassroots Professional Network.