I received a choice piece of advice from a marketing consultant recently. First, some background. We all know how hard it is to engage potential clients and even to keep current clients informed about your law firm or practice. Social media, however, has opened up endless opportunities, from sending private scraps on Orkut to chatting with clients on AOL. But something struck a nerve when the consultant mentioned three words to me: National Food Holidays.
National Food Holidays provide prime opportunities to connect with clients on issues that really matter to them. And if social media is about socializing and media, there’s no better way to socialize with a client than with a hand-written letter focused on a targeted National Food Holiday.
Before you get your ink all wet and scribble out or tweet a motivational marketing message about bicarbonate of soda (December 30), remember that you really need to know the food preferences or limitations of your clients or target market. No-nos for leveraging national food holidays with your social media strategy include:
- Don’t send or tweet messages to clients who are nut intolerant. Thus, avoid National Date Nut Bread Day (December 22) and especially the all-encompassing National Nut Day (October 22). Same goes for other potential allergens, such as gluten, which would put the kibosh on a message to join you in knoshing on fluffernutter sandwiches (October 8).
- Watch out for religious taboos. It’s not a good idea to extol the virtues of non-piscine seafood (National Baked Scallops Day, March 12; National Clams on the Halfshell Day, March 31) to your Jewish clients or to most Shia-Muslim clients. Same goes for Day of the Mushroom (April 16) to Krishna followers.
- Be aware of social restraints as well. A well-written letter to join you in a toast celebrating National Daquiri Day (July 19) or National Tequila Day (July 24) is not a good idea for your recovering clients and does not provide sufficient ROI from clients in jail who are following you on Twitter.
- Unless you have an internationally-focused practice or practice in Canada, avoid foreign-sounding foods. Americans for the most part fear foods that they cannot pronounce, such as Coq au Vin (March 22), Vichyssoise (November 18), Noveau Beaujolais (November 20), or Guacamole (November 14).
Taboos and restrictions aside, pick about two dozen national food holidays over the course of the year as a way to market your firm. Pick them strategically so that they are spread out sufficiently to provide coverage for a year. If you tweet, schedule your tweets to appear regularly during the year, so long as you bring the message back to your firm or practice. For example, on April 15, you might want to tweet “Woot! We’re having glazed spiral-ham for lunch today in the office!” as a way to engage clients who also enjoy glazed-spiral ham. Good luck, and happy national eating!