From playlists to hashtags, here’s how to get people to buy, share, and follow your brand this Halloween.
It’s officially October, and we all know what that means. The season of haunted houses, jack-o-lanterns, and candy galore is here. But besides planning your costume, have you ever thought about what Halloween does to the economy?
According to the National Retail Federation, the amount of money consumers spend on Halloween-related products is expected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion this year. That’s up from $8.05 billion in 2020. So, as retailers, it’s that much more important to perfect your Halloween marketing strategy in a world that is now saturated with competition.
Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools for a business to succeed. Popular social media management platform Hootsuite shares how social media can do wonders for your business. By improving brand awareness, you build consumer trust and loyalty, turn your audience into repeat customers, and increase your bottom line. Consumers unconsciously and repeatedly turn to a brand they trust and are familiar with when it comes to purchase decisions.
A 2021 study from the Pew Research Center found that nearly half of all social media users check their accounts several times a day. So, social media is an ideal platform to promote your brand to an active, already engaged audience.
Now is a critical time to focus your social media marketing efforts and boost your online presence. Ahead, 10 timely ways to use social media to market your business this Halloween season.
1. Create a Halloween hashtag
To create an effective hashtag, it’s important to first determine your end goals. You want this hashtag to successfully tie back to a measurable goal, such as increase social following by 5%, or have the hashtag used over 1,000 times. Then, it’s important to determine which social network (or networks) to use.
Sprout Social suggests you create a hashtag that is:
- On the shorter side
- Easy to remember
- Consistent with your brand
- Exclusive to your brand
- Focused on a single message
- Unique (not generic)
In 2018, Dunkin’ Donuts ran a hashtag competition for Halloween that called for users to dress up in costume. Coining the campaign #DunkinDressUpContest, users who posted their costumes with the hashtag were entered for a chance to win $1,000 USD. The result was engagement and visibility in the form of close to 1,000 fun posts forever tied to the Dunkin’ Donuts brand.
In 2018, Dunkin’ Donuts ran a hashtag competition for Halloween on social media.
2. Offer a Halloween discount
Because everyone loves a bargain, seasonal discounts and promotion codes are a great way to sell more products. And since everyone is trying to sell during peak holiday season, getting an early start marketing your products on Halloween can help you get ahead.
One Halloween marketing idea would be to create a seasonal discount that reflects your brand’s marketing goals, whether that’s attracting new customers, retaining current customers, or a little bit of both.
If you’re trying to reach new customers, offer a first time visitor discount. For current customers, make them feel special by sending them a cashback promotion to incentive loyalty. You can offer a seasonal Halloween discount to all customers by taking a percentage off retail prices or offering free shipping.
For Halloween this year, Kmart has been posting Halloween discounts on social media with spooky images of its products and clever jokes. On Facebook and Instagram, the retailer posted a skeleton human and dog in front of a fireplace with the caption, “What do you call a skeleton who sits around all day? LAZY BONES!” It made similar puns on Twitter touting that same 40% off discount on costumes, decor and more. Kmart’s audience engaged with the posts, liking, sharing, and commenting on it.
Kmart posting Halloween discounts on social media with spooky images of its products and clever jokes.
3. Do a Halloween giveaway
Everyone loves a freebie—especially before they’re about to drop a lot of money buying holiday presents. Giveaways are a fantastic social media marketing tool to encourage sharing content, which leads to greater brand awareness and new customer leads. A typical giveaway entry on social media would be asking people to follow your social media account, share a post, and/or tag someone in the comments section.
To run a giveaway, begin by defining what you are looking to get out of the giveaway (more followers, visibility, user engagement) and decide on a social media platform. Many platforms have very specific rules and guidelines about running promotions, so be sure you are familiar with them. If you’d like help hosting and designing your giveaway, there are tools that can help, such as VYPER or Rafflecopter.
Lush Cosmetics is known for its marketing, dedicated fanbase, and frequent giveaways. Its Halloween promotions usually result in significant engagement, followers, and purchases. In 2018, Lush posted a giveaway on Instagram asking people to comment about the spookiest thing that’s ever happened to them for a chance to win a limited edition gift set. The result was engagement: 43,000 likes and more than 2,000 comments.
In 2018, Lush posted a giveaway on Instagram.
4. Create a Halloween-themed Linktree
If you are using Linktree to organize your digital presence and share social media content, you know how easy it is to update your settings. A simple but noticeable strategy would be to make over your Linktree with a spooky Halloween aesthetic.
Linktree has many free themes to choose from, as well as the ability to customize colors, backgrounds, and buttons to make it unique to your brand. Here are a few ways to tweak your Linktree to make it more Halloween:
- Add a theme with a dark background, such as Smoke, Starry Night, or the newest additions, Air Black and Lake Black
- Change your button and/or font colors to a bright green, purple, or orange (PRO-only)
- Use a spooky font like Oswald, Courgette, Special Elite, or create your own
- Upload your own Halloween background image, such as jack-o’-lanterns, skeletons, witches (PRO-only)
- Share the Halloween content you’re creating on your links
- Create a Halloween playlist to preview on your Linktree using Music Links
5. Share a Halloween playlist
People love listening to festive, creepy, and dance-able Halloween hits this time of year. With over 400 million people worldwide paying for a music subscription service, there is a huge audience waiting to listen to your most bone-chilling tunes.
To tap into this market, create your own playlist and share it across social media platforms. You can link to it via Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you’re hosting it or, even better, share the full playlist on your Linktree using the Music Links feature.
Recently MGM Entertainment Studio created a Spotify Addams Family playlist just in time for the release of their new movie, The Addams Family 2, on October 1. The studio shared the playlist on Facebook in a video featuring actress Charlize Theron asking “trick or treat” questions—one of which was “What would Morticia’s theme song be?” The answer is at the top of the playlist.
MGM Entertainment Studio created a Spotify Addams Family playlist just in time for Halloween.
6. Try User Generated Content
User generated content (UGC) consists of any social media content created by users of the brand, rather than the brand itself. Because happy customers love engaging and sharing, UGC is a useful social media marketing tool for creating hype around a product or service. And it is something that you should leverage this Halloween season!
According to Hootsuite, users are 2.4 times more likely to view UGC as authentic, which in turn helps establish a brand’s authenticity. To start using UGC in your Halloween social media posts, look for posts from users that tag your products. Find content that matches what you’re looking for (something that aligns with your brand goals and voice). Then, request permission from the user, offer something of value in return for using their content, and credit the original creator in your post. You can also create a callout asking your current audience to post and share about your company for a chance to be featured.
For example, if you sell pet food or products, try hosting a pet Halloween costume contest and offer a prize for the most creative costume. To help you find the posts more easily, have participants tag your brand directly or use a recognizable hashtag. By having users create content, you will be building a library of social media posts to use for future marketing posts for years to come.
In September 2017, Mars Inc, owner of M&M’s candy, hosted a competition encouraging users to post a photo featuring M&M’s and a skeleton using the hashtag #MMSkeletonWarContest. The result? Over 4,000 people liked the post, close to 100 users shared the posts across multiple social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. And, M&M’s were talked about across social media.
M&Ms posted a competition encouraging users to post a photo featuring M&M’s and a skeleton using the hashtag #MMSkeletonWarContest
7. Host a Challenge
Hosting a challenge is a great way to engage with your audience and generate brand awareness. It’s also a way of asking users to engage with your product and share their positive experiences with your brand online. A Halloween challenge should get your followers in the holiday spirit and be fun for them.
To create your own challenge, think about things your followers would enjoy doing and, ideally, don’t require too much effort on their part. This could be as easy as posting a video of themselves or require active participation, such as baking Halloween-themed goodies and sharing them on social media. You can tap into current trends for inspiration, but the key is to make your brand or product the focal point.
Every Halloween, American TV host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel challenges parents to send in videos of their kids to be featured on his show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and all over the internet. Coined the “I Told My Kids I Ate Their Candy” Halloween YouTube challenge since 2014, this viral stunt is marketing at its finest.
After trick-or-treating, parents have to tell their kids they ate all their Halloween candy, and film their reaction. The children’s responses are hilarious, ranging from clever quips to full-blown temper tantrums. Parents then upload the video to YouTube with the title “Hey Jimmy Kimmel — I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy.” The best clips gets strung together in a montage, played by Kimmel to his audience of 1.75M viewers, plus it gets featured on YouTube and often other social media channels, like Kimmel’s Instagram. Last year’s YouTube video received over 1.3 million views and 33,000 likes. Now that’s smart marketing!
8. Use Influencer Marketing
The influencer industry is expected to be worth $13.8 billion this year, making influencer marketing an extremely powerful and lucrative social media strategy. By featuring content and endorsements from influencers with high social followings, you can tap into their already-huge audiences to showcase your brand, giving it social proof.
In addition to increased brand awareness and product exposure, influencer marketing boosts sales because fans trust the people they support. A 2021 survey from Influencer Marketing Hub found that 90% of people believe influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing.
To get started, research the best and most appropriate influencers for your industry and brand. A simple Google search of “biggest influencers in [category]” should yield dozens of credible names. Next, set a budget and create a strategy. You need to get the influencer on board with your brand, vision, goals, and what you are willing to pay them. Practice your pitch before contacting the influencer or their rep directly.
Log on to any social media platform and you will see countless influencer marketing campaigns. TV host, and filmmaker JJ Yosh is an influencer with more than 640,000 followers. Last year, he teamed up with chocolate brand Chocolove for a sponsored Halloween campaign to promote limited edition chocolate products. The result? More than 20,000 likes and audience engagement that likely resulted in sales for the company.
Influencer JJ Yosh teamed up with chocolate brand Chocolove for a sponsored Halloween campaign.
9. Post behind-the-scenes content about your business
Connect with your followers in a deeper, more meaningful way by giving them a sneak peak at how the sauce is made. Sharing behind-the-scenes photographs and videos of your business and employees puts a face to the name, and humanizes your brand. This type of media shows your audience there are real people creating the quality products and services they buy. Behind-the-scenes content that relates to your audience can also boost your brand image and be a powerful recruiting and marketing tool.
To create behind-the-scenes content, snap photos or record videos of your team in action. Show them creating products, packaging them, meeting with customers, and the like. Then post those photos to your social media platforms with a meaningful caption that reveals the identity of these employees and a bit about them. If you don’t want to get too personal, showing what your company headquarters looks like, even if it’s just a kitchen in your own home, can be pretty powerful, too.
An example of a brand using behind-the-scenes content is Disney. In a timelapse video posted to YouTube, the company shared the intensive labor involved in setting up and decorating the Walt Disney World park for Halloween. The video generated over 370,000 views and excited comments from viewers who could not wait to see it for themselves.
10. Make memorable Halloween memes
Hugely popular worldwide, memes are becoming a key part of many brands’ marketing strategy. And they are driving results. According to research conducted by meme platform Memeois shared with Forbes, regular marketing graphics yielded 5% engagement [on Facebook and Instagram], while using memes resulted in approximately 10 times more reach with 60% organic engagement.
This October, Target posted a meme on its Facebook to mark the start of the haunting Halloween month. The meme gently poked fun at people’s obsession with costumes and transformations, as shown by the retailer making over its storefront to be more “goth.” With more than 1,500 shares, Target knows just how to get its customers engaged and into stores.
Target posted a meme on Facebook to mark the start of the haunting Halloween month.
We’ve provided you with just some of the boundless ways you can use social media to elevate your brand this Halloween. Now that it’s mid-October, it’s time for you to implement these tips into your own marketing strategy and start making some money, growing your audience, and building a successful brand.
These Halloween tips are just the beginning. Check out the Linktree blog for more ideas on how to improve your social media marketing strategy and level up.