SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: Are you adjusting your social media presence to include holiday-related content? The results:

  • We might do a few holiday-related posts or tweets: 51.28%
  • Yes, we talk about the holidays extensively during December: 24.79%
  • We tend to avoid any seasonal mentions in our social media presence: 18.8%
  • We’ll do a best-of feature for New Year’s, but that’s it: 5.13%

Seasonal content is like a spice — a strong one. Let’s say chili powder. In appropriate contexts and sensible amounts, it can be a worthwhile addition. But if you introduce holiday content in a context in which it doesn’t make sense or you blow the dosage, you’ll end up with something about as appetizing as chili apple pie.

The key is knowing which seasonal events matter to your audience and why. Hearth-and-home holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas are huge for business-to-consumer marketers that focus on products and services related to entertaining or gift giving.

The business-to-business crowd is going to feel differently. Regardless of individual preference, the B2B space is simply the wrong context for holiday cheer. Even if an enterprise buyer celebrates Christmas on his or her own time, that doesn’t mean the person wants to talk about it with a router provider — any more than I want chili powder in my apple pie.

Thinking about seasonal context is important year-round, not only during December. In that sense, seasonal content is an untapped goldmine for many marketers. Maybe your audience doesn’t want to talk to you about Christmas, but it wants to talk about tax season or Earth Day or back-to-school or any number of official or unofficial holidays. Knowing your audience — and what they expect from you — is key.

That said, I think there is one exception to that rule: New Year’s Day. No matter your business, religion, country or tradition, everyone is affected by the passage of time. Some people are more interested in nostalgia for the recent past or predictions about the near future, but it’s never unseemly or inappropriate. New Year’s content is like salt — you can definitely overdo it, but a little bit is almost always appropriate.

How are you celebrating the season with your social media followers?

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