The holiday season is quickly approaching which means it’s time to start creating and scheduling your social media posts. Here are some tips to help you avoid messaging blunders and stay true to your brand and voice.
While it’s true social media is often more conversational than other communications your company may be engaging in, it’s still important to remember that in most cases the rules of grammar and punctuation still apply.
Most holidays are proper nouns and must be capitalized. A quick online search will help you determine if there are any exceptions. When it comes to adjectives such as “merry” (not marry!) or “happy” the general rule is to capitalize if they begin a sentence and keep them lowercase if they fall in the middle of a sentence.
For example, “Merry Christmas from our team!” or “Wishing all our customers a very merry Christmas!”
Happy holidays has become widely used to help encompass the many holidays celebrated over the course of December. Generally, “happy holidays” will be lowercase to indicate you are referring to the general holiday season.
Have you ever been wished a “Happy New Year’s!” as the clock strikes twelve and not thought twice of it? While it might not seem like a big deal in conversation, seeing it written out is a big grammar faux pas. Let’s do a quick grammar refresh so you can avoid this common mistake in your social media posts.
The issue with writing “Happy New Year’s” is that the apostrophe in this context is possessive but without a word following “Year’s” to indicate what it is possessing. To fix this you can simply add the word ‘day’ to make it “Happy New Year’s Day” or simplify it to “Happy New Year.”
Following earlier discussion on capitalization, you would capitalize “New Year” when you’re referring to the holiday or the big day.
For example, “Our New Year’s Eve sale is on until midnight!”
However, if you’re talking about the new year as a timeframe you would keep it lowercase.
For example, “Our facility will be closed for renovations in the new year.”
Finally, you would never write “Happy New Years Day” as losing the apostrophe means years becomes plural and therefore grammatically incorrect.
This one should be self explanatory but every now and then we see a “Happy Remembrance Day” so it’s worth noting the importance of understanding the holiday you are writing about. Just because a statutory holiday might result in a day off at work doesn’t mean copy like “time to kick back and relax” applies.
Take time to research the holidays you plan to recognize. Days intended to be commemorative or a remembrance should never be used to promote a sale or wish your community a “happy” day.
If your company markets to a diverse population, look at some of the popular holidays celebrated around the world. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Eid al-Adha all have diverse traditions and greetings. Spend time researching them and ensuring you capture the meaning of the holiday. Bonus points if you include holiday greetings in the language they originate from.
For example, while it’s great to acknowledge and wish your community a happy Kwanzaa, going the extra step and using “Heri za Kwanzaa!” (Swahili for happy Kwanzaa) helps show that you took the time to research and understand the holiday.
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