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Memorial Day and Social Media: How To Do It Right

Every year on the last Monday of May, we celebrate Memorial Day.

While to some it’s day for cookouts or a day off from school, Memorial Day is really about remembering and honoring those in the military who gave their life for our freedom.

It began at the end of the Civil War, though the first observance is contested (here’s an amazing possible first that not many people know about). Originally called Decoration Day, it officially became Memorial Day in 1967.

Many post Memorial Day thoughts or wishes on social media, and businesses are no exception to posting. Quite often, though, companies confuse appropriate sentiments with advertising and get bashed for being insensitive.

To prevent your company from experiencing embarrassment (or worse), here are a few simple suggestions in how to properly post on social media for Memorial Day:

1. Make the post about Memorial Day, not your company or product. This is not a time to be clever and weave your product or services into your Memorial Day messaging. Your social media posts for Memorial Day should not be focused on your company. A post of remembrance and thanks to those who lost their lives serving is perfect; a post showing off a product feature with Memorial Day thoughts is not. 

2. Use appropriate pictures with your post. You can post a very heartfelt message and, quite frankly, ruin it with the image. A post thanking those who served and featuring a stack of the pancakes your restaurant sells is inappropriate and misses the point. This is a good time for flags, the Statue of Liberty, or some other patriotic icon. And make sure that picture is high quality and clear (no pixilation). The care you use selecting your image shows how much you care about your post.

3. Celebrate and remember, but don’t grieve and mourn. Not that remembering the fallen isn’t a sad occasion, but Memorial Day is less about grieving the loss and more about celebrating the sacrifice. Creating a highly morose or sad post can be viewed as grief hijacking, and appear like you’re trying to make the holiday all about your company. Not what you want to convey.

4. Invite your followers to share their own messages and memories. While you shouldn’t be pushing your products in your Memorial Day messaging, engaging with your audience is a meaningful way to celebrate. Encourage them to share their own stories and memories. Foster a place of reflection, contemplation, and celebration for your audience. They will appreciate and remember the sincerity.

Memorial Day is a time to think about others. Make sure your social media posts do just that without injecting your marketing messages or products into the sentiment. There are many more days in the year for advertising. Today is a day for remembering and thanking those who dedicated and lost their lives in service of our country.

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