It’s the beginning of shopping season; sharpen your social media tools to get a slice of the pie.
What might be the most outlandish of holidays with its pageantry, creativity and mystery is also a great opportunity for businesses. It’s estimated that Americans spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 billion dollars through the month of October in preparation for Halloween. Excellent exposure couples with a sense of fun and it’s a great way to plant seeds for the gift giving winter holidays.
Social media done correctly can get your brand public-facing quality time, as people are more open than usual to the unexpected, the scary and the strange. The immediacy and elasticity of the online world mean there are some really fantastic creative ideas floating around, so here are some examples of great Halloween marketing concepts and well-executed campaigns.
1. Refresh Your Targeting. Before you do anything else, polish your online presence to target highly specific, granular audiences through the specialized options on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Custom target group creation with a Halloween theme is going to generate more clicks, and make sure you run some analytics to optimize your campaign performance.
2. Appeal to the DIY Crowd. It’s a crafty time of year where even not-so-crafty people are looking for festive ideas. Last year, Capital One created a Vine video offering a Halloween-themed tip on how to preserve pumpkins, and shared the clip on Twitter as part of a “Halloween Hacks” campaign. As another example, Rice Krispies shared a series of recipes using the breakfast cereal in creative, party-friendly treats.
3. Create an Interactive, Ongoing Halloween Experience. The theatre of Halloween makes it an especially visual holiday, so utilizing sites like Instagram and Pinterest are a fabulous way of drumming up traffic. For example, Target took the DIY thing up a notch. The retailer played up its Halloween-themed products by introducing a game on Instagram. Since September the company launched a social media experience called “Halloween Hills” where users knock on either “tricks” or “treats” that are hidden in a virtual neighborhood. Depending on what they choose, the viewers can discover DIY projects, recipes, and costumes that incorporate Target products. Very clever and beautifully drawn, this unique idea generated a ton of traffic for Target.
4. Pop Culture Sells. There is no shortage of silly, arbitrary or downright strange incidents that capture the public’s attention, and no one says there are rules against using those push button moments to divert that attention, provided you are keeping it classy. Creating a 20 second Vine of one-second clips that poke some good-natured fun at a recent happening or trend can easily go viral and put your brand in front of thousands or millions of users. Tell a scary story weaving in some current references, and don’t be afraid to drag that story out over the month. Avoid really charged topics like politics and stick with celebrities, cat videos or other viral faves like Batdad.
5. Paid Promotion Giveways. Free stuff generates interaction, and while it’s almost a cliché, it also works. An online costume competition where viewers vote is a standby, whereas puzzles, riddles or even brainteasers that challenge your audience are enticing, especially if you are offering a free gift, prizes or free product for signing up via email. That’s a trade that will pay off in the coming shopping months when you can float more juicy gift ideas and sales out to those targeted customers.
6. Don’t Neglect Mobile. Mobile should now comprise part of any paid media campaign, because it can account for a good portion of profits if executed shrewdly. Some retailers offer coupons that can be accessed through mobile, so be sure to include that placement in all social ad campaigns. This lets you reach your customers even when they are out shopping, not just at home doing research.
7. Safety Tips. One easy way to get parent engagement is to offer safety advice. Don’t use fear-based language, but instead develop some easy-to-remember tips on ensuring everyone has fun and stays safe. As with all your content, add high-energy hashtags and encourage sharing.
The public is ripe for the unexpected, quirky and creepy right now, it’s a chance to think outside the box and get a little zany. As is always the case, the more inventive and inclusive your online content is, the more it will propagate and convert into sales.