It’s almost that time of year again... While it may not be the most popular day of the year, it was and still is one of my favourite holidays. I'm talking about Halloween, of course!

Whether you’re trawling through all of your belongings looking for an old costume or mask that you know you've still got somewhere or going on a last minute trip to the shop for some sweets, using halloween-specific themes is a great way to joyride some of the trick-or-treat spirit as a social and digital marketer.

People have been asking me what they can do for Halloween this year as part of their marketing strategy, as most have realised that these types of ‘holidays’ have their place in a marketer's campaign schedule, in particular as part of a social media strategy. 

So I thought I would share some tips on how you can incorporate user-generated content as part of your marketing strategy this Halloween.

1. Costume Competition

Halloween Costume Competition

#showmethecostume

Running a costume competition isn’t something that has to be restricted to one social media platform, this could be a contest run across multiple platforms using a single hashtag. All you need to do is aggregate and curate your content into one feed and display it on your brand website (or in fact anywhere there is a display!) 

You will find people love to dress up for the occasion and offering an incentive in the form of discount code or small prize will only encourage more people to join in.

In order to collate all of the entries easily, I recommend that you use one consistent hashtag across all platforms that you wish to run the campaign. 

2. Pumpkin Carving Competition

Similar to running a costume competition, Halloween gives you a chance to develop a social campaign around an activity that many people will be doing anyway – carving a pumpkin!

I know from previous experience that we used to run an annual pumpkin carving competition at work and it was the most popular competition of the year; aside from Christmas jumper day. People’s competitive sides come out to carve the best or most creative face onto their pumpkin, so they naturally want to share it online.

To coordinate a campaign of this manner is pretty much the same as above, choose one hashtag to run across all of your active social platforms and use an aggregator pull all of the content together to display on a competition web page or microsite. 

Run a Pumpkin Carving Contest

Be creative with your hashtags

As for the competition itself, you can have the option of setting a design theme that people have to replicate or put their own spin on, or you can leave it completely open to the creativity of your fans.

You could then ask the public to vote for a winner to increase engagement and longevity of the campaign, this can be done on a dedicated microsite or through the use of social media.  

3. Scariest Tweet

What can you do in 140 characters?

This type of campaign is a little different to the others mentioned above. It would be a predominantly text-based campaign but can still prove effective nonetheless.

Set a task for your followers for their scariest tweet in 140 characters or less. Tweets can be a made up horror story or even a real life tale – the key here is to ask users to be as creative as possible. The results of the campaign can be collated using a specific hashtag or by retweeting the entries to your twitter account, again as before this is your chance to be creative. 

See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using a Social Wall at Your Next Event

If using a hashtag, use one that isn’t currently being utilised, so your UGC won’t get lost or caught up as part of someone else's campaign.

You can notify the winner through DM or announce publicly and provide some sort of incentive if necessary (I advise to notify people of these details at the beginning of the campaign).

4. Engage with People

Engage with People Who Take Part in Your Campaigns

Listening to your customers and engaging is crucial

It doesn't matter what your goal is in the lead up and passing of the Halloween period, engagement is going to be key to any success when reflecting on your efforts. 

Halloween presents the perfect opportunity for you to engage with current and potential customers taking part in your social campaigns. 

Use this chance to boost your current offers, promote any upcoming events you may have or just raise awareness around your brand. Just make sure you talk, and more importantly, make sure you listen to those spending their time to take part in your campaign. 

Wrap Up

Whether it's photos of costumes, pumpkins or anything else you think will work for your brand, inviting your engaged audience to share their own posts in a contest will provide you with a wealth of content to share throughout your own social media channels and blog.

And the best news? Although the tips in this blog are aimed at Halloween, the underlying principles remain. Engagement with your audience is the key to a successful and long lasting relationship. Use holidays throughout the year to add another level of experiential engagement into your social campaigns, and meet your marketing goals in the process!

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