The Rocket’s Red Glare: How to Use Special Occasions to Make Your Brand Special

by Team Caffeine · 0 comments

Summer’s here, and Independence Day is just around the corner. I’m sure you’re busy getting ready for family time, parades, fireworks and great food. Who doesn’t love a barbecue and beer followed by a game of backyard frisbee?

Chances are, you’re talking about July 4 with your friends, too. Discussing plans, making arrangements, how you’re looking forward to seeing Auntie Gladys, but dreading what will happen when Uncle Fred gets a little too tipsy. Wondering whether you’ll look good in your swimsuit, or whether your years as a stunner are long gone. Thinking up ideas to keep the kids entertained.

Big events – Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween – all set the world buzzing with conversation. Everyone’s talking. What can you do as a brand to make the most of the excitement in the air?

Don’t exploit it! Holidays are personal times for family and friends, not business meetings. People don’t want your brand to intrude on their special occasion. That’s not to say you can’t be there. But it is to say this party’s not about you. Put your ego to the side and be a guest, not a gatecrasher.

Fortunately, other brands have made a mess of their social media marketing so you don’t have to. Take Toyota, for example. They totally exploited the 2012 Superbowl by sending a spam message on Twitter to anyone who tweeted about their excitement in the run up to the game. Not cool. Toyota wound up making an apology and eating humble pie. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be munching on something more tasty.

Don’t ignore it! I see so many brands waltz through special occasions just like it’s any other day of the year. Oblivious, not a care in the world.

I don’t know why they do this. Maybe they’re concerned about appearing exploitative, so they keep schtum. Or perhaps they planned their social media schedule months in advance and forgot about special days. Either way, they’re missing a big opportunity to engage with their fans and followers.

When special days are coming up, be sure to tweet about it!

Find Inspiration. Posting updates day-after-day-after-day about your industry and brand, it doesn’t take long for the well of inspiration to run dry. You tweets get a little stale. Your Facebook updates start to grow moss. Even thinking about logging onto any social network fills you with dread.

Special occasions are a chance to freshen things up. They give you an angle, something else to talk about besides your latest product.

Hint: Occasions don’t have to be all that special for you to talk about them, as long as you can make them relevant to your brand. Check out this calendar of bizarre, wacky and unique holidays. Coming up in July there’s Build a Scarecrow Day (an excuse for fresh food brands to talk), National Sugar Cookie Day, Hammock Day, and International Joke Day. Don’t overuse special days, or they’ll no longer be special, but remember there’s more than just Christmas.

Plan it out. You can always do more if you’re prepared. Sure, if you only remember a special day at the last minute, you can send out a quick tweet. But thinking ahead of time means you can build up the excitement beforehand. Planning ahead means you can put together a strategic campaign to make the most of the special day.

Get visual. Apologies to our regular readers, but we’ll say this until we’re blue in the face, because it’s so important: THE WEB IS GOING VISUAL. To get your dose of visual into special occasions you can:

  • Post images related to the event (there’s plenty of seasonal stock photography, so no excuses). Simply add your own touch of an inspirational quote, a funny caption, or even just your logo.
  • Make a special logo for the event. Sweet and simple works best. Take a look at these Independence Day logos for inspiration.
  • Create your own holiday images. Post a picture of your holiday-themed costume party for staff. Or get everyone in your office together holding a “Happy Holidays” banner.
  • Make an infographic. People want easy to understand information all year round. But this is especially true during holidays when they’re kicking back to relax. Plus special events are packed to bursting with stories and data, making them perfect infographic fodder.

Boom! Do Something BIG. Ratchet up engagement by hosting a holiday-themed contest or promotion. You’ll create a feel-good vibe around your brand, and get people talking. Here are a few ideas for a contest:

  • Get your fans to submit holiday themed ad ideas for your brand.
    • Ask contest entrants for ways to adapt your product to the holidays, or for the most creative ways they use your product during the holiday season.
  • Just for fun, ask them to submit their worst holiday pics.
  • The person who retweets you most through the holidays gets a prize.

Start a conversation. Take an interest in what your followers are doing over the holidays. Ask about their plans. Not only does this show your fans that you care, it also gives you access to invaluable marketing information, especially if you discover your customers have a strong emotional connection to your brand.

Become part of people’s memories. Talking of emotional connections, brands can become a vital part of what makes a holiday special. This is especially true for food brands and restaurant chains. If you’re in people’s hearts over the holiday season, then get onto their computer screens too to reinforce those fuzzy feelings. The times when people have goodwill towards you are the times to boost your brand and get more likes.

Hint: Ask your fans and followers to tell their stories about how they use your products in the holiday season, or for memories of your brand from their childhood.

Get into their inbox. However often you send out email updates to your list, send out an extra email during the holidays to give your greetings. You can even do a holiday themed email series.

Schedule updates. You deserve a break, just like everyone else, and your family needs to spend time with you. It’s good to log in now and again over the holidays to respond to comments. Being present is an important strategy. But to stand out from the crowd, you need to do more.

To give your brand maximum exposure over the holidays, schedule your tweets and Facebook updates. Holidays are when lots of people have lots of time on their hands. They’ll sometimes need a break from family and friends, so they’ll head over to their social media accounts. Make sure they see your tweets.

Most of all, be a good, decent human being. Enjoy the holidays, and let your fans enjoy them with you.

Happy holidays!

Team Caffeine

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