In a recent report by Ofcom, it was revealed that 64% of Britons browse headlines online weekly, while 35% cite social media as a place they regularly get their news.
Social media may not be everyone’s first port of call when it comes to keeping up-to-date with current events, but we’re all guilty of taking to our feeds for a morning or lunchtime update, or perhaps to indulge in a spot of doomscrolling against our better judgment.
As well as its ability to inform —or misinform, as the case may be— social media also has the powerful ability to engage audiences, too. A potent tool for generating buzz and excitement, social media is often abuzz around seasonal and topical content. The question is, how can small businesses jump on the bandwagon and capitalise on these key events and generate more views, engagement, and sales? Let’s explore that, shall we?
Scope out your marketing calendar
Get ahead of seasonal events by mapping out a calendar for the year ahead. Understand that you do not need to observe every seasonal event or holiday. Yes, just because it’s National Hotdog Day somewhere, does not mean you have to jump on the bandwagon.
Scope out the events that feel relevant to your brand, and establish a hierarchy of importance. For example, gift-giving holidays and events are universally pretty important for many small businesses, so taking note of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Kwanzaa is a no brainer.
Depending on your product offering, some days may hold more value than others. If you sell chocolate, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and the weeks preceding are well worth planning ahead for. If you sell gardening-related gifts and supplies, then maybe World Bee Day is worth a nod. Identify the ‘nice to have’ events from the more important holidays. Nice-to-haves are perhaps worth mentioning in a casual post, or as part of a limited promotion, while bigger seasonal events will require more forward planning. Of course, this means ensuring stock levels, but also content leading up to and around said events and holidays.
Just as you might plan seasonal stock several months to a year ahead of time to ensure you’re prepared for heightened demand, plan out how you can harness social media to generate buzz about new collections and keep them front of mind of your customers at this time.
Behind the scenes videos and images of your shop and production process can help build excitement, as well as sneak peeks of upcoming products. Consider taking Q&As on Instagram stories or in live or video content to answer questions about your seasonal range, shipping times, and even to showcase the collections once they’re available.
Encourage customer feedback on the range through polls and engaging captions to gauge interest and feedback early on, and set up paid advertising earlier on to reach more customers, learn more about your audience, and determine which ads resonate most with your intended audience.
Hashtags are a great tool both for reaching relevant audiences, and collating content. Try creating branded seasonal hashtags to use each year to make your content and products easier to find. Doing so also gives your customers a handle to reference when sharing their own content featuring your products.
Creating your own hashtags will also help boost user engagement, especially when posting about more local or regional events
Like, reply and respond to any engagement you do receive. Monitor your mentions, and create an open dialogue between your brand and your customers. Not only will this boost your content in customer feeds, but boost your brand awareness with others in their network, too.
Customers are also more receptive to brands that are friendly and responsive, as it helps humanise the business. While organic reach has been steadily declining on Facebook since 2013, it has been found that pages with higher post engagement are least likely to feel the effects.
User-generated content is a great way to share the love with your customers and connect with your audience on a deeper level. User-generated content is also a free way of showcasing your product in use with someone who loves it enough to post about it, a visual product endorsement and free content all rolled into one — what’s not to love?
Drip feed content
Though it can be exciting promoting new or seasonal product lines you’ve put a lot of work into, remember to pace yourself when it comes to promoting it on your social media accounts. Posting updates bit by bit helps to drum up excitement.
Countdowns revealing more information about your product closer to launch around a key event —for example, a new line of jewellery revealed a month ahead of Valentine’s Day— can help build excitement, and allows your customers to get to know the products and consider purchase ahead of the relevant holiday.
Much as many of us may roll our eyes at the sight of Christmas products on display before Halloween is over, it’s a similar concept. Doing so helps keep planned purchases front of mind while customers decide, plan, and save for potential spending.
Consider selling limited product runs
There’s nothing like limited edition products and packaging to get people excited. When it comes to bigger brands, we’re looking at Marmite’s limited edition Jubilee rebrand. Combining clever wordplay, limited edition branding and a key event in the British calendar has proven to be a winning combo.
Meanwhile, candle brand Earl of East’s 2020 lockdown-themed candles offered a sensory balm to our collective longing for normality with their exclusive ‘Scents of Normality’ range. In such abnormal times, they replicated the scent of such ordinary locales as the cinema, the festival, and the local pub, capitalising on the nostalgia of the time in a creative yet comforting way.
Another candle brand absolutely killing it is OHROS. Having recently celebrated its 6 birthday, the brand released a range of limited edition birthday cake scented candles, proving that you can make an event out of your own milestones with enough enthusiasm and excitement.
Meanwhile, for ultimate seasonal inspiration, beret brand Elleni the Label shows us how it’s done with her quirky holiday-themed headgear. Christmas, Easter, Halloween - you name it, there’s probably a beret for it. Elleni does a fantastic job showcasing her seasonal ranges on her social media, getting people excited for new designs and offering playful style suggestions and colourful product shoots along the way.
There’s so much more we could say about planning and releasing seasonal limited run product lines for key events, but in the meantime, check out this Shopify guide to learn more about why this is something you should probably try.
There's so much room for creativity when it comes to capitalising on popular events and holidays. Whether you decide to run with a whole new product line, or simply use these markers to come up with unique ways to engage with your audience — consider them opportunities for your brand. Have fun with it!