We don’t advocate working nonstop. Vacations are healthy and beneficial, and all workers need a break. But that doesn’t mean your brand should stop your efforts in social media and influencer marketing over the summer. Brands can continue to stay active during vacation times with some advance planning, staggering of employee vacations, and support from outside agencies or specialists.
In this article we’ll address why it’s so important along with top tips for summertime success.
Users Connect and Engage More During Holiday Travel and Leisure
Social media engagement can be cumulative, and often builds on on-going momentum. The more you invest in good social media content, the more followers you earn, and the more engagement your brand can achieve. Unfortunately, it can also work in the opposite direction. If you stop engaging with your audience while your entire team takes a break, the other brands will fill the gap you’ve left in your audience’s feeds. Building your brand’s reputation is a long-term continuous effort and interruptions can make it harder to pick up again later and remain at the same level of impact.
It’s also worth remembering that, for those of us who are B2C marketing professionals, social media marketing is part of our work. But your audience engages when they’re shopping or enjoying themselves, in their free time.
Your work efforts = your customers’ leisure time.
A study from Sprout Social suggests that during holidays, consumers are significantly more likely to connect with brands through social media.
Don’t Miss Opportunities to Inspire
If you’re in the hospitality industry, we assume you don’t need us to tell you that your summer holidays aren’t a time to pause your social media efforts. In addition to researching and planning vacations, consumers use social media for inspiration on a variety of purchases, from travel and hospitality services to fashion, accessories and even certain electronics.
Opportunities abound. According to Facebook insights, social posts increase by almost 30% in summer time. In fact, posts including the word ‘travel’ have been shown to spike by 46%.
Our always-on society never closes for business. And while overall technology use may decline in the summer, smartphone use increases, as does user social media activity. July and August are a good time to capture customers’ attention with compelling offers or simply to reinforce your brand image or boost product / service awareness. We think it’s also pretty safe to assume that there’s a good reason Amazon’s Prime Days are in late July. Consumers are more apt to purchase when they are relaxed and don’t feel stressed or rushed. For brands in most sectors it pays off to take advantage of these opportunities.
Top 10 Tips to Developing Summer Campaigns
Now that we’ve covered the why of summertime campaigns, here are some tips for success.
- Get Consumers Engaged Before Summer Travel and Leisure Time
For many brands, it can be advantageous to develop a summer journey campaign, with the payoff either near-term during summer months, or building momentum towards fall. Not doing so or dropping the ball can lead to loss of business over summer and the rest of the year. This is obvious in sectors like travel, leisure, and hospitality. It’s also important for businesses like homeware and gardening, fashion, and many others to get ahead of the curve in order not to lose out. If you want to push this a little further you could also start a new loyalty program to get consumers excited for the foreseeable future. A continuous communication and nurturing effort often pays off most.
- Run Summer-Themed Social Media Contests
Create contests like “share your best summer experiences,” and give consumers reasons to follow you throughout the summer. Austen at SocialToaster shared some great contest ideas:
- “Captioning an image or video
- Posting a fun word puzzle (scramble or anagram)
- Asking your customers to fill-in-the-blank
- Have your audience guess the context around an image”
- Make It Relevant to Your Audience
First, take the time to understand your audiences’ summer cadence. Consider how your product or service benefits them during this time and provide them with specific ideas and actions.
- Video tutorials featuring recipes and home decor ideas for outdoor entertaining
- Demonstrate the use of your product while traveling, such as a fashion brand that can be hand washed, then dry quickly on a hanger in a hotel room
- Show how time spent in a rental car, plane, or train traveling to a vacation destination is more fun with unlimited, commercial-free streaming music, podcasts, or audio books
Another very effective way to make content and campaigns more relevant and appealing is the use of user generated content (UGC). UGC humanizes your brand and creates a sense of fun. It’s also proven to perform much better than brand created content. Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to say user-generated content (UGC) is authentic compared to brand-created content for example and they engage a lot more with it. One way to achieve this is for example by stimulating people to share their experiences or favorite purchases in the format of images, short videos and reviews in a fun and creative way. Contests, challenges, and rewards can help to get people to share more.
- Focus on Influencer Marketing
With more leisure time, consumers spend even more time on social media and, in turn, engage more with influencers. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with IM if you haven’t done so before. Influencers are also inspired during summer, and IM lets brands leverage that excitement around holidays, events, food & drink, seasonal trends, and travel destinations.
Audiences are ready to consume more social content and are consequently more receptive of marketing and sponsored posts. This means that not only do creators have even more reason to keep up a steady stream of posts, brands do too.
In Switzerland 65% of consumer follow influencers with the vast majority of consumers stating that they seek for influencer posts for inspiration on what to purchase.
Are your products targeted to specific audiences? Then don’t forget to include micro-influencers in your influencer strategy as they have dedicated, niche audiences who are specifically interested in their content and lifestyle. Typically, their followers are highly engaged, dedicated and ready to act on their recommendations, basically providing access to a pre-activated pool of potential customers for your brand.
- Create Seasonal Content for Travel, Leisure, etc.
Encourage ongoing engagement by “summer-izing” your content. Use fresh themes related to fun summer topics such as swimming, travel, and cooking and eating outdoors. For the hospitality industry, current photos will naturally show people eating outdoors in warm weather, but services like car rentals can make a point of featuring happy families en route to leisure destinations.
Give your content engaging summer visuals and consider updating your cover photo as well. Seasonal summer-themed content will also make people connect more with the content during those months as it will seem more on-point and time-relevant.
- Switch on Shopping Functionality
After creating beautiful seasonal product imagery, make it even easier for your customers to buy by promoting on social media, such as through shoppable posts. For example, on Instagram, you can tag products the same way you can tag people, so users can tap a post they like and see the product name and price pop up. They are able to click through to the product page on your online store, and purchase via the shopping cart in the usual way.
- Promote Posts
Warmer weather can bring about warm emotions and positivity in people, and according to the Journal of Consumer Psychology, summer positivity extends to consumers’ thoughts of products. Consumers who ignored or disregarded a product during the colder months may be more open to trying it during the summer, leading to increased consumer spending during the summer.
By using sponsored posts, you can get in front of more prospective new customers and bring some of that warmth to your own brand.
- Offer a Limited-Time Promotion
Make use of FOMO by offering limited-time promotions such as two-for-one, 10% off new orders, or free shipping. You can create a discount code that can be shared in both organic and sponsored posts. Create a sense of urgency by highlighting the time limit.
- Take Advantage of Social Media Retargeting
Retargeting allows you to serve ads to people who’ve previously visited your website or used your mobile app. It’s a handy strategy that enables marketers to reach an audience that has already shown some level of interest, making your ads more efficient.
According to Facebook summertime content sharing on the platform through mobile devices increases by 26% over other seasons. The increase for video content is even higher at 43%. With retargeting, you can take advantage of the increased time on social media.
- Use a Content Calendar and Scheduling Tools
Having posts and promotions completed, approved, and scheduled in advance is a great objective, but we realize it’s difficult to consistently achieve. Now in the spring might be an ideal time to plan ahead, so you can simultaneously take advantage of summer opportunities while taking time off and relaxing.
Use tools like HubSpot, Hootsuite, Zoho, or even just spreadsheets to keep your team organized. That way when staffers go on holiday, an agency or their remaining colleagues can keep moving without missing a beat.
Bonus #11: Mix and Match
There is no one size fits all approach. Every organization, sector, and target community is different and for that reason it is important to find the ideal mix that works for your brand and yields the most benefits. The 10 tips above can easily be combined, for example in the following way:
If you need assistance getting started with your summer social media activities or influencer marketing, expanding your existing campaigns, or just handing off the work so you can relax on the beach, you can always work with flexible full-service providers like Kingfluencers to make it happen successfully.
Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing