For most brands, certain times of the year provide an unmissable opportunity to boost sales. But while it’s easy to join in with big occasions like Halloween and Black Friday, it’s not always easy to stand out – especially when everyone’s Instagram feed is filled with other brands trying to cash in on exactly the same opportunity as you.
So, instead of leaving you to scrap it out with every one of your competitors, we’re going to share a couple of ways influencer marketing can give you the edge.
The temptation for a lot of brands is to join in with an event, simply because everyone else is joining in. But, like any campaign you run throughout the year, your Halloween activity needs to be grounded in a firm business objective and a relevant content strategy.
So, the first question should always be, what does our brand have to say at Halloween AND how can we enhance the event for our audience.
Fortunately, Halloween has evolved into an event that many brands can legitimately participate in – even if you don’t happen to sell werewolf masks and candy.
Beauty has established a firm role in the Halloween ritual, and smart beauty brands have found creative ways to become an essential part of that seasonal conversation.
The smartest of those smart brands have also recognised how influencers can help them create and share content that an audience will find relevant and useful (as well as providing a more inspiring way into increasing sales).
Urban Decay, for example, turned to make-up artist @crisspy to help create beautifully spooky make-up looks for the Halloween party season. And, by producing video content that shows how to achieve the impressively ghoulish looks, Urban Decay are providing value rather than just selling stuff.
The same principle of inspiring, value-adding content doesn’t just apply to brands with an obvious association to the event. GoPro took the opportunity to collaborate with light-artists @night.crawlers to show off the Night Photo and Night Lapse features on their cameras – producing engagingly eerie content that their followers can recreate.
While a brand’s mission for Halloween is to provide inspiration and solutions in the build up to the event, Black Friday demands a different kind of approach.
Traditionally a day of huge savings (although some now go on for as long as a week), brands should be looking to build anticipation before the event and create real noise when it actually begins.
What complicates things for brands is that Black Friday doesn’t have the same straightforward relationship with customers as something like Halloween does.
While (broadly) everyone is happy to dress like a zombie and demand sweet treats from neighbours, Black Friday has polarised opinion in recent years – driven largely by the annual images of people fist-fighting over the right to buy the last discounted TV.
Instead, you’ll see many brands opting out of Black Friday, or at least putting a less cynical twist on their participation. Patagonia were one of the pioneers for such an approach, donating 100% of their Black Friday profits to grassroots environmental charities (which actually ended up being $10 million – 5 times more than they had expected).
But – whether you go traditional or rebel – influencers have an increasingly important role in successful Black Fridays on social media.
Mobile shopping made up 43% of orders over the last Black Friday weekend, and the #BlackFriday hashtag was used more than 126,000 times during that week.
And, with Black Friday’s reputation for stressful, potentially chaotic in-store shopping, it’s no wonder people are shopping with taps and clicks rather than elbows and shoves.
In the week leading up to Black Friday, influencers were including 51% more products in their post – but simply showing lots of stuff isn’t necessarily going to help you stand out.
The smart brands (them again) recognised their role wasn’t simply to advertise, but to help customers make sense of the carnage.
Em curated a collection of her stand-out picks from the sale, wrote a handy blog with her recommendations and then used Instagram to take people away from the madness and into content that could more easily inspire them.
Combine that kind of considerate content with the game-changing immediacy of swipe-up shopping on Instagram Stories and you start to see how Black Friday can be a positive experience for you and your customers – an experience that doesn’t require anyone to put you in a headlock over a half price handbag.