How Brands Can Leverage Holidays for Their Social Campaigns

social media how to Do you plan marketing campaigns around major holidays?

Do you need ideas for your 2014 holiday social media marketing?

From Valentines Day to Easter and beyond, holidays are an important time for brands to engage customers and promote products in new and exciting ways.

And holiday-themed storytelling is an especially great way to build and cultivate a growing and engaged audience.

Here are four ways brands use social media to create and promote holiday campaigns throughout the year.

#1: Show the Fun Side of Your Brand With a Holiday Vine

Because Vines show up in Twitter’s main feed, they’re eye-catching and easy for people to share across Twitter and Facebook. Marketers have been quick to adopt Twitter’s 6-second video looping app to show a lighter and more creative side to the brands they promote.

Home improvement store Lowe’s used Vine to animate everyday household tools to look like bursting fireworks and wish their followers a happy 4th of July.

lowes-holiday-vine

Lowe’s has used Vine in a number of ways to reach their followers.

Use stop-motion video to bring your products to life in a quirky animation and send your followers a holiday message. It’s a simple and clever way to draw attention to your brand and celebrate a holiday.

#2: Promote a Dedicated Microsite Campaign With Twitter

Microsites are a great idea if you want to set up a central hub for a competition or event, but keep it separate from your main site. Once the event is done, you can easily close it down or remove links and then reinstate it later with minimal hassle.

But how do you let everyone know about your campaign if it’s tucked away on its own? Integrate Twitter functionality!

Cosmetics and beauty brand Sephora‘s Sephora Claus campaign proved hugely successful. On the microsite, fans were asked to wish for a Sephora beauty product and connect to their Twitter account to complete the wish. One wish was granted each day for 30 days.

All the wishes are collected on the microsite in the form of clickable gift tags, which look really stylish and give a fun visual twist to the page.

Requiring wishers to connect their Twitter accounts meant that the ‘wishes’ were visible across social media, which boosted engagement—a staggering 50,000 tweets were sent overall.

sephora-claus

Sephora made user-generated tweets an integral part of their latest holiday campaign.

Build social media functionality into the holiday campaign on your microsite to ensure visibility.

#3: Add Facebook Games to Your Annual Product Campaigns

It can be challenging to encourage engagement that makes your campaign visible to people outside your fan base. Adding a gaming component to your campaign is a surefire way to bring it to people’s attention who’ll spread your message to wider networks as they play.

Every year, Cadbury’s Creme Eggs are sold for a limited time (January 1 until Easter Sunday) in the run-up to Easter, and every year Cadbury comes up with a fun campaign to boost sales in this limited timeframe.

The Creme Eggs are so popular they even have their own Facebook page with an incredible 2.6 million likes, which shows how successful Cadbury has been at increasing online engagement.

In 2012, Cadbury capitalized on their massive fan base and used their status as one of the London Olympic Games sponsors to introduce the Goo Games as part of their annual Creme Egg marketing.

Based on real Olympic events, fans could choose from several games including ‘Pole Yolk,’ ‘Goodles’ and ‘Triple Bump,’ and were rewarded with virtual medals and real-world prizes. Participants in any of the Goo Games had to like the Facebook page before playing, which helped to widen the campaign’s reach and generate huge levels of sustained engagement on the page.

cadbury-goo-games

Goo Games created sustained engagement for Cadbury’s Facebook Easter campaign.

Visitors to the Cadbury site and Facebook page could also participate by sending in a photo of themselves “getting the goo out” of their own eggs by splattering them in original and funny ways.

Combine user-generated marketing with a high-engagement activity like an online game for maximum reach and visibility.

#4: Get the Most Out of Image Sharing With Pinterest Boards

Although brands still produce traditional TV and print ads, some of the biggest brands are putting their most creative input into their digital content. Image-sharing sites like Pinterest are becoming the focus of some exciting new targeted campaigns that drive engagement, as well as website traffic and online sales.

When Target partnered with Pinterest last spring to pilot Rich Pins—pins that work like a catalog with prices and other product information—it resulted in a 70% increase in visits to Target.com from Pinterest.

This Thanksgiving, Target teamed up with one of the most sought-after event producers in the world, David Stark, to offer guests a first-of-its-kind party-planning resource on Pinterest with a board called Best.Party.Ever.

The Best.Party.Ever. board features David Stark’s “secrets to creating the perfect holiday party, from DIYs to recipes to unique decorating ideas,” as well as rich pins that make shopping easy and videos that show tips and ideas.

target-best-party-ever-campaign

Target’s Best.Party.Ever. campaign used rich pins to drive holiday engagement on Pinterest.

Build up your campaign’s secret board through the year. Unveil it by making it public in the lead-up to a holiday and remember to move your current holiday-themed boards to the top of your Pinterest profile to increase engagement at key times of the year.

Conclusion

Forward-looking brands are putting social media at the center of their holiday marketing campaigns and taking advantage of themed campaigns to build up long-term loyalty.

When you use the tips in this article to make the most of frequent, relevant campaigns, you’ll benefit from increased engagement and a growing audience as well as enjoy a greater online presence, increased sales and website traffic.

What do you think? Are you using any of these tactics to get noticed? Which will you try in the coming year? Please leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Ekaterina Walter

Ekaterina Walter is a cofounder and CMO of Branderati and a bestselling author of Think Like Zuck and The Power of Visual Storytelling . Other posts by »




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  • http://indispensablemarketing.com/ Patrick McFadden

    These work very well for consumer brands who should take advantage of holidays and the fact that consumers are giving their permission to social media channels around these times. Ekaterina, thanks for sharing these four ways brands can use social media to create and promote holiday campaigns throughout the year.

  • http://indispensablemarketing.com/ Patrick McFadden

    These work very well for consumer brands who should take advantage of holidays and the fact that consumers are giving their permission to social media channels around these times. Ekaterina, thanks for sharing these four ways brands can use social media to create and promote holiday campaigns throughout the year.

  • http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/ Ekaterina Walter

    Thank you, Patrick! I do think B2B can use similar tactics to engage their partners and customers as well and quite effectively. In my 8 years at Intel we have executed quite a number of successful holiday campaigns that got people buzzing. Check out one of my posts (B2B Marketing
    Doesn’t Have To Be Boring: 3 Companies That Effectively Add Humor To Their
    Marketing Mix http://onforb.es/IEtHC2) – Cisco does a great job with creative ideas and using humor around holidays that gets them a lot of coverage and sparks a ton of organic conversations.

    @Ekaterina

  • http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/ Ekaterina Walter

    Thank you, Patrick! I do think B2B can use similar tactics to engage their partners and customers as well and quite effectively. In my 8 years at Intel we have executed quite a number of successful holiday campaigns that got people buzzing. Check out one of my posts (B2B Marketing
    Doesn’t Have To Be Boring: 3 Companies That Effectively Add Humor To Their
    Marketing Mix http://onforb.es/IEtHC2) – Cisco does a great job with creative ideas and using humor around holidays that gets them a lot of coverage and sparks a ton of organic conversations.

    @Ekaterina

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    I always like the things you write, Ekaterina!

    I definitely think gamification is a great way to attract new customers, especially around high-profile events like the Olympics or the holidays. I really think your example of Cadbury’s use of Goo Games is a spot-on example.

    If more brands focused on gamification, I’m sure many of them could easily attract new followers, but how can they maintain them? I don’t think gamification is a great device for keeping them.

    What do you think?

  • http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/ Ekaterina Walter

    Thank you, James!

    Actually I think gamification is a great way to create sustainable engagement. But the tactics one should use to attract new audience and engage already-created communities might differ.

    One thing brands forget though is the fact that attracting new audiences is not the end game, and the vanity numbers of fans and followers is not truly what they should be after. It’s creating sustainable word of mouth and inspiring brand loyalty and advocacy what truly matters and will drive true bottom-line impact over time. Inspiring movements around your brand’s story and mission, and engaging with smaller, but very passionate communities of customers and employees is a critical strategic imperative, and that engagement is more fun with smart gamification strategies built in.

    @Ekaterina

  • http://dainlewis.com/ Take Action Podcast

    Great article. The microsite angle was very interesting. Creating you a microsite could further serve an opportunity to ‘niche down’ during the holidays and provide more focus on your ideal customer.

    Great ideas!

  • http://dainlewis.com/ Take Action Podcast

    Great article. The microsite angle was very interesting. Creating you a microsite could further serve an opportunity to ‘niche down’ during the holidays and provide more focus on your ideal customer.

    Great ideas!

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    Very true! I agree that getting vanity numbers are beside the point of anyone’s campaign, but gamification can get expensive after a while, am I right?

    It’ll probably be best to only do it for special occasions like holidays or high-profile events in order to reach the most amount of people as possible.

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    Very true! I agree that getting vanity numbers are beside the point of anyone’s campaign, but gamification can get expensive after a while, am I right?

    It’ll probably be best to only do it for special occasions like holidays or high-profile events in order to reach the most amount of people as possible.

  • http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/ Ekaterina Walter

    Gamification doesn’t have to be expensive.

  • http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/ Ekaterina Walter

    Gamification doesn’t have to be expensive.

  • http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/ Ekaterina Walter

    Thank you!

  • http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/ Ekaterina Walter

    Thank you!

  • salcoombes

    Can anyone share the tool/platform or similar that Sephora used to create the campaign mentioned above? Or would this be a custom build? Thank you!

  • salcoombes

    Can anyone share the tool/platform or similar that Sephora used to create the campaign mentioned above? Or would this be a custom build? Thank you!

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    Thanks for sharing this very informative article Ekaterina. Holidays are a great time to advertise your brand online because most people are checking their social media accounts. All you have to do is to be more creative in posting your ad to make it stand out from other competitors.

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    Thanks for sharing this very informative article Ekaterina. Holidays are a great time to advertise your brand online because most people are checking their social media accounts. All you have to do is to be more creative in posting your ad to make it stand out from other competitors.

  • Oma Beate

    You also have to know WHART kind of people you WANT to attract. Gamification is cool for my brand, but I can imagine sites who need males over 40 gamification will be the last straw.

  • http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/ Ekaterina Walter

    Thank you, Barbara! :)
    I believe it’s also about truly helping people and making their holidays easier is what gets you organic buzz and love as well.

    @Ekaterina

  • http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/ Ekaterina Walter

    Thank you, Barbara! :)
    I believe it’s also about truly helping people and making their holidays easier is what gets you organic buzz and love as well.

    @Ekaterina

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Great examples here, Ekaterina! Not only are brands putting social at the center of their holiday marketing, but they’re using it beyond the typical use and entertaining the community. Brands executing these kind of campaigns that will continue to succeed.

  • http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/ Ekaterina Walter

    Agreed, Sarah! it’ll get even more real-time and immediate.

    @Ekaterina

  • http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/ Ekaterina Walter

    Agreed, Sarah! it’ll get even more real-time and immediate.

    @Ekaterina

  • Pingback: E-Marketing Tips to Make the Most of Spring Holidays









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