Come October, brands plunge right into marketing their products and services for Halloween. According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween spending reached $8.8 billion in 2019, and, despite the tricky COVID-19 retail landscape, is expected to reach up to $8 billion this year.
Shoppers spend their money on decorations, candy, costumes and even the odd visit to a haunted house (if restrictions will allow).
The best Halloween marketing campaigns often feature clever storytelling with a heavy focus on video. So, here are just a few tricks (as well as treats) you can put in your bag to spook up your Halloween promotions and create a great social media campaign for your brand.
Halloween is just one of many key dates which you should celebrate on social media to boost your engagement! Access our free social media calendar and keep on top of all the trending events for the year.
Awesome (and easy) ideas for your Halloween social media campaign
1. Decorate your store and social media profiles
We all remember the thrill of seeing storefronts all decked out for Halloween (just like Christmas and other holidays). It’s a spooky and fun atmosphere to experience, no matter what product you are buying. People love it and a well-decorated store can be just enough of a nudge to encourage your customers to make a purchase.
You can spruce up your social media profiles in a similar way. Add a splash of Halloween by changing the colour scheme of your cover photos or adding some spider webs and pumpkins. If you have a developer at hand, add the same graphics to your website or app for extra impact (just remember to take them off when the season ends). Google’s doodles are a great example of how to celebrate Halloween and other special occasions.
2. Get creative with “spooktastic” images
Visual content like images, GIFs and videos grab the attention of social media audiences much better than plain text and link previews. Special occasions like Halloween allow businesses of all sectors and sizes to loosen up a little bit and have some fun. So it’s obvious we should take advantage of this opportunity, right? Creating visual content isn't too difficult when you have the right tools and some time to spend. Get inspired and get right down to it!
There are several ways to approach creating Halloween posts on social media. Here are some fun and easy ideas for your Halloween-themed content:
- Go wild with Halloween puns on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter
- Pick a colour or theme (monsters, carnival, kid-friendly) and run with it
- Create spooky images and post one every day
- Add fun illustrations to existing shots of your products
- Take pictures of your team in their costumes
Email campaigns can help you boost the reach of your social messages by miles! The approach is similar to social, but the format, of course, will be different. Get inspired by great, but simple Halloween email tips on Digital Doughnut.
3. Offer a great seasonal discount
It’s Halloween and your customers (existing and potential) may expect special offers. These can be an all-out sale, a small discount on the next order or a holiday-themed freebie with every purchase over a certain amount.
As with any holiday campaign, you can attract more engagement for your offers by using social media. Try doing a Halloween-themed giveaway on Facebook or polls on Twitter. Ask questions about autumn or the holiday and reward all participants with content along the way. Once you establish the winners, make sure that you send them their unique promotional codes and gifts.
In terms of Halloween marketing ideas, running competitions in exchange for freebies may seem like a relatively old school tactic, but with the help of social media, it can be brought into the 21st century and used to generate brand awareness.
A great example of a brand who are bringing this classic idea into the 21st century are Mexican food chain Chipotle, who launched their #Boorito TikTok challenge in 2019.
The challenge encouraged Tik Tok users to create Halloween posts on the short video platform featuring their before and after Halloween transformations. The incentive? The top five submissions that receive the most likes will win free burritos for a year.
Talk about scarily smart Halloween marketing!
Image source: Chipotle
4. Add the spook factor to your customer’s experience
Want to take it one step further than decorating your social media profiles and offering a discount? How about making your product or service spooky? This technique can work for virtually any B2C business but is best suited to those that provide services and experiences.
For example, if you host outdoor activities, you can turn the night of Halloween (or the weekend closest to it) into a special event. Depending on the theme you choose, you can invite people to dress up and then share it all on social media. If your target audience isn't Halloween friendly, you could still host an event with an autumnal twist like seasonal treats and drinks instead.
Starbucks' individual take on Halloween promotions delights their customers every year. They take their Halloween marketing to the next level by creating limited edition drinks with a spooky edge and generating social media buzz by promoting them using video:
Many fans post pictures of the creations to their Instagram and Twitter accounts, and the unique and shareable nature of these posts drives momentum for the brand. In fact, when Starbucks debuted the 'Zombie Frappucino' in 2017, many chains sold out of the drink on the first day of the promotion.
It's all about creating noise with your Halloween posts, and Reese's did just that in 2018 with the launch of their Halloween Candy Converter, a vending machine that allowed trick or treaters’ to swap their unwanted candy for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
The Candy Converter popped up at various Halloween events around America, gaining worldwide attention for the brand and earning them the title of the 'Greatest Of All Time of Halloween' in the process.
Reese's then repurposed the Halloween marketing content they created at these events to engage their audience on social. They used video footage of the Candy Converter in action to create social media content, which was shared across Twitter, Instagram Stories, YouTube and Facebook - with amazing results.
Through just 12 posts, Reese's generated 536,000 engagements. That included 352,500 video views on Twitter, 70,500 video views on YouTube, 5,500 likes on Instagram, 1,300 shares on Facebook, and 5,600 retweets - what a treat!
Delighting your customers and giving them a fun Halloween experience takes thought, planning and creativity, but the results speak for themselves.
5. Host a photo contest
It might be cliché, but it never gets tiresome. Halloween gives everyone the chance to wear silly costumes. Embrace it and host a photo contest on social media - it’s a fun way to engage with your followers.
In addition to costumes, you can also opt for food creations, decorated rooms or spooky things and places. Remember, every social media campaign must link back to your brand, mission or product - so the type of the contest must be relevant.
Set a campaign specific hashtag and offer fun rewards throughout the competition with the main prize being announced on the morning after Halloween.
The doughnut chain Dunkin' run their #DunkinDressUpContest every year. It's a clever social media marketing tactic because it inspires tonnes of user-generated content, which helps to fill their content calendar for the rest of the year and does wonders for their authenticity on social:
Image source: Instagram
You can also host a contest on a smaller scale in your own office. Ask your team to dress up, then create a poll on Twitter to find out which costume your followers like the most. Similarly, you can hold a bake-off, play fun games and document it on your Instagram - all in the effort to humanise your brand in a fun way!
6. Be helpful and give advice
Now, if you aren't big on discounts or dressing up and you are not planning on scaring your clients, then you can creep it real and provide them with some relevant advice instead.
The type of advice you share heavily depends on your business and opportunities are virtually endless.
For example, you can give actionable tips or talk about safety and health in relation to Halloween and/or autumn. If you're a digital agency, you can give tips on the area of your expertise in relation to the holiday. If you sell security systems, talk about the dark autumn evenings and the need to take good care of your home and possessions.
If you are in the food industry, you can create recipes and share them on social media to take advantage of the extra traffic, just like Delish do. Each year they create a series of Halloween themed videos for YouTube that are easily digestible and encourage viewers to visit their website for the full recipe details - spooktactular!
- Decorate your store and social media profiles
- Get creative with “spooktastic” images
- Offer a great seasonal discount
- Add the spook factor to your customer’s experience
- Host a photo contest
- Be helpful and give advice
So there you have it - six spookily effective and simple campaign ideas for your social media on Halloween. We hope that you get to employ at least one this year and get that extra boost in engagement and sales that you're looking for!
Keep content repurposing in mind before creating new content - there may be a way you can add a twist to an already existing piece instead of creating everything from scratch.