By Mary Liebowitz

October 30th, 2017

For marketers, Halloween is a bonus opportunity. It’s a visually rich holiday and gives us a chance to unleash our creativity on our campaigns. We can scare the pants off of our audience or wow them with special effects and get fantastic ROI — because at this time of year, they’re actually looking to us to entertain them.

How should you be using Halloween in your social strategy? We took a look at what other brands are doing in 2017 to give you some inspiration.

1. The big brands you expect to hear from:
Michael’s, an art and crafts retailer, began their Halloween social campaign in September. They offer a wide selection of Halloween-specific products, and also incorporate their regular inventory in short social videos to create Halloween crafts, decorations, and baked goods.

With over two million followers on Facebook and hundreds of thousands of followers on their other social channels, it’s interesting to note that Michael’s doesn’t use Halloween hashtags to attract viewers to their content. Instead, they show a range of content types that tap into the interests and skills of their audiences, often in an instructional and engaging format, and just mention the term “Halloween.”

This year, they also created a video that pits Hollywood actress Busy Philipps against rock legend Gene Simmons in a pumpkin-decorating contest, showcasing Michael’s inventory. On their social channels, they answer customers’ questions about the products used in the video, and offer links to purchase.

Michael’s style: Informative, engaging. 

 Starbucks posted an Instagram photo of their Mummy Cake Pop in mid-October, using user-generated content hashtagged #MummyCakePop. Starbucks’ high-quality, prolific UGC means that not much is needed for them to generate Halloween buzz. However, this Halloween, they’ve launched a new drink, the apple-caramel Zombie Frappuccino, similar to the brightly-colored Unicorn Frappuccino released this past April.

Available for only five days, the #ZombieFrappuccino has already generated thousands of posts on Instagram. This type of product launch allows Starbucks customers to participate in a popular hashtag with a chance to be picked up by the brand as UGC, and requires a purchase. The short availability window of these “beverage innovations,” spurred by social media buzz, spikes Starbucks’ revenue and store traffic.

Starbucks’ style: Viral, and heavy on UGC.

 

You go, ghoul. 🏃⚰ #ZombieFrappuccino (Available in the US, Canada and Mexico, while supplies last)

A post shared by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on

2. Brands using Halloween as an opportunity to promote their talent:
Looking for spooky inspiration? Check Instagram for the #Halloween, #Halloween2017, or #HalloweenMakeup hashtags and find millions of posts.

Many makeup artists use the holiday to post videos of their work, showing off their terrifying and beautiful artistry to a huge audience. Even if their everyday work doesn’t involve theatrical makeup, Halloween is a great excuse to grab attention, get creative, and grow their following. While they may not use a call to action in their posts, a professionally-executed Halloween video will increase their brand awareness well past October.

Makeup artists on IG’s style: Creative, inspirational.

Style blogger @emilyanngemma has 600K Instagram followers and a feed full of fashion and style photos. With just one sweet image of her holding a costumed baby and a dog in each arm with her back to the camera, she used the #HalloweenCostume hashtag and gained 15K likes in a few hours. This hashtag use is a smart action that takes advantage of the thousands of people that may be looking for Halloween costume ideas, and happen to find her blogging brand relevant. Without deviating from her regular content, she can easily attract thousands of new followers who were just searching for costume suggestions.

Emily’s style: Stylish, and mom-relevant.


3. Brands using Halloween in a fun way to drive traffic & engagement:
A restaurant equipment store might not have an immediately obvious connection to Halloween, but on Twitter, @Webstaurant uses the #Halloween2017 hashtag to link to a blog post called “Halloween Costume Ideas for Bartenders.”

This content marketing piece links to a bar supply page in the introduction and offers ten different costume ideas to wear while working behind a bar on Halloween night. It’s an informative post and lists costume elements with links for less easy-to-find items — such as jelly sandals for “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski. The post is humorous and not a hard sell, with strong potential to build trust while bringing in new customers.

Webstaurant’s style: Humorous and helpful.

The Regal Cat Cafe is a Canadian coffee shop that lets patrons interact with their 12 adoptable resident cats while sipping a latte. Though the cafe’s social media channels are typically images of the cafe and cats, they used the #Halloween2017 hashtag to share a photo of five of their cats in Halloween costumes, with the CTA to “come on by this weekend and visit.” The cuteness of a cat in a panda suit can certainly boost engagement and bring in new foot traffic.

RCC’s style: Adorable.

Halloween is a perfect time of year for marketers to be imaginative, and any type of brand can participate. You can sell a product, find a way to help customers get ready for the holiday, or just have fun on social in the days leading up to October 31.

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