It's time to get creative with Halloween social media campaigns.
Halloween is crazy big business in the U.S. In 2016, total Halloween spending was $8.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. And since 171 million people will celebrate Halloween this year, there's plenty of opportunity for businesses to get in on the action - even if you don't sell candy or costumes.
That's the good news, but the reality is that while it's easy for retailers to tailor their sales around events like Halloween, it's not so simple for everyone else.
In this post, we'll take a look at some projected 2017 Halloween trends, and suggest Halloween contest and other giveaway ideas which you can use to help you reach your existing customers, and get in front of new ones.
Trend #1: Instagram loves #Halloween
Millennials are the adult age group most likely to participate in Halloween, and they're big spenders when it comes to costumes. All those sexy nurses and Walking Dead wannabees fork over an average of $42.39 for a costume.
The goal: inspire Instagrammers to post, share and create a buzz around your event, business, and prize or other incentive.
You could run a simple costume contest, asking people to share a photo of themselves or their kids in costume, using your hashtag(s) in the caption. Or, if you're planning on hosting a Halloween-themed event, you could ask people to post a photo with your hashtag in exchange for free entry to the event.
Another option: when they share a photo, they get a two-for-one deal on food or drinks at your restaurant or bar.
Trend #2: Trick-or-treating has evolved
In 2016, only 29.7% of families who celebrated Halloween went out knocking on neighborhood doors. Parents are looking for "alternative" ways to celebrate that don't involve candy, nuts and other allergens, and are also safer. Bottom line: Trick-or-treating in the neighborhood just isn't what it used to be.
So what's replaced it? Some communities are hosting "trunk or treating" events in parking lots, sponsoring trick-or-treat events in shopping malls or downtown centers, or even throwing elaborate Halloween/fall festivals. In fact, the number of people planning to carve a pumpkin or visit a haunted house are both up, suggesting that people might be more into celebrating with events and experiences instead of just collecting candy, says the NRF.
Obviously your customers aren't going to come trick-or-treat at your business, but you can still get in on the seasonal fun with creative Halloween marketing campaigns such as hosting a recipe contest, ideal for the entertaining-at-home concept.
You could feature a couple of prizes, then give everyone who enters a treat in the form of a coupon or discount to your company's products or services, even if you're a B2B.
Trend #3: Halloween brings out a lot of personality
Get interactive with your Halloween marketing.
You can use a "Buzzfeed" style personality quiz to learn more about your customers and what kinds of products and services they like. A quiz not only makes it fun for readers to participate, it also makes it easy for you to gather customer data to fine-tune your marketing throughout the holidays.
Trend #4: Halloween marks the start of buying season
eCommerce now accounts for about a third of Halloween-related purchases, priming the online pump for sales related to the two other major holidays - Thanksgiving and Christmas. Kiplinger's predicts eCommerce sales will grow by 14% this year.
Even if you decide Halloween Social media campaigns and promotions are not for you, now's the perfect time to get your customers thinking about what's right around the corner.
You could treat them to special Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday deals. Encourage people to share their email address with you in exchange for exclusive deals you'll be sending in the coming weeks.
Essential promotion tactics for Halloween social media campaigns
Even the most well-designed contest can be overlooked if it's not properly promoted.
Three essential strategies for Halloween marketing include:
- Embed your giveaways - Embedded contests, giveaways and other campaigns get twice as many views as Facebook-only campaigns. Embedding campaigns on your website, blog or eCommerce platform also lets you bypass web-development hurdles, saving time and money.
- Leverage different social networks - Sometimes you need the perfect opportunity to run a promotion on Instagram or Facebook, and Halloween could be that opportunity, given the platforms are image-based.
- Have a paid promotion strategy - We always recommend running ads alongside your giveaways and other campaigns, but this is especially important during Halloween and the holiday season. Social networks are flooded with promotions, deals, coupons and offers and it's even more difficult (than usual) to be heard through all that noise. Having a Halloween advertising campaign will help get your content in front of your audience.