A comprehensive social media strategy typically includes seasonal content depending on the time of year, recurring events, national days, and more. However, seasonal social media campaigns can be difficult to get right. Brands need to stay recognisable with their followers yet stand out from the crowd, stay on-brand but also relevant to external events, and balance seasonal content with evergreen (always relevant). We’re showcasing our favourite autumn social media campaigns from brands over the years to show you how it should be done.
From Halloween spookiness to Black Friday deals to the run-up to Christmas, social media campaigns in autumn benefit greatly from utilising seasonal trends to promote, educate, and entertain. Our favourite autumn social media campaigns, detailed below, are great examples of how to do seasonality well on social media.
Starbucks – Pumpkin Spice Latte
The Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) from Starbucks is one of the most talked about drinks on social media in the autumn time, from the brand itself but also from brand loyalists. Starbucks only offers the drink seasonally, usually from September until November (after the summer seasonal drinks but before the Christmas seasonal drinks are launched), creating excitement around its exclusivity.
Furthermore, the PSL has become somewhat of a meme amongst consumers and other brands, with Starbucks fans delighted every time the drink becomes available, to opposers negatively commenting on its popularity and taste. The buzz around the PSL drinks, positive and negative, creates an undeniably huge level of engagement on Starbucks social media in the autumn-time.
On social media, Starbucks UK capitalise on the PSL hype and create enticing posts to encourage their audience to purchase the drink. Starbucks cleverly utilise User-Generated Content (UGC) from influencers, brand loyalists, and casual drinkers alike to repost and share on social media. Plenty of consumers snap photos of the iconic Starbucks cup all year around, but especially for limited-time seasonal drinks. The PSL is an incredibly popular choice – on Instagram, the hashtag “#PumpkinSpiceLatte” has accumulated over 722,000 posts. This doesn’t even account for the countless photos and videos taken of the cups without tagging Starbucks or using a related hashtag.
In the following example, Starbucks UK on Instagram repurposes nano-influencer Mrs Holly-Beth’s (@freckles_xx) autumnal shot of drinking pumpkin spice lattes while picking pumpkins at a patch. Consumers love to see products in-action by real people who truly enjoy the product, and Starbucks utilises UGC for this reason.
Netflix – Netflix & Chills
In 2018, Netflix jumped on the internet meme of “Netflix & Chill” by creating the Netflix & Chills campaign for Halloween. In this chilling video, they promoted their spooky shows – such as Stranger Things, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and The Haunting of Hill House – but that’s not all. They took to social media to create many engaging posts, such as a ‘What to Watch Based on Scare Factor’ infographic, to get users excited for binging Netflix content around Halloween.
This year, Netflix UK continued with the engaging ‘choose your own’-style posting with this image containing all the Halloween and thriller movies/shows on Netflix, simply urging users to “only pick 3”. Gaining over 1.1k comments and 58k likes, this post was a hit with Netflix fans looking to show off their favourite Halloween picks.
ColourPop – Black Friday Restock
There are thousands of Black Friday deals all over the web, so standing out is important. Getting involved in a collaboration is a brilliant way to drum up hype for your brand; though it’s not realistic for all small businesses to collaborate with Disney, collaborations of any size can be a lucrative advertising method.
ColourPop embraced the huge popularity of “The Child” (also known as “Baby Yoda”), from the Disney+ show The Mandalorian, by restocking a sold-out The Child-branded palette on Black Friday 2020. The collaborative make-up palette, with unique box art and themed eyeshadow names, was a huge success for the brand – restocking for Black Friday was a smart move, encouraging consumers to not only purchase the restocked palette, but shop for other deals while they’re at it.
Lush – Spooktacular Halloween Bath Bomb Showcase
Lush are fantastic at integrating seasonal content with their regular content, thanks to their huge catalogue of seasonal products. As a highly visual platform, Lush posts frequently on Instagram to showcase their products. For Halloween 2021, Lush incorporates spooky feed posts, Stories and Reels into their regular Instagram content schedule. In the screenshot below, you can see 2 Halloween-themed feed posts, 1 single image and 1 carousel, seamlessly blended into the rest of the content. Lush is a great example of sticking to your brand identity while incorporating seasonality; their Halloween products do not look out of place or too different from their regular products.
Lush utilise a lot of UGC in their social media content to show their products in use by real fans of the brand and influencers. Below is a screenshot of their Halloween-themed UGC carousel featuring images from several influencers, ranging from 1k followers to 33k. These types of posts help to inspire consumers to use Lush products in ways they possibly hadn’t thought of before.
Alongside UGC, Lush also produce high-quality content in-house featuring their products. Using the hashtag “#LushHalloween2021,” Lush posted a series of Halloween-themed videos (Reels) with a spooky atmosphere, including the “Bathroom of Horrors” and “Conjuring Memory Spell.” These Reels showcase the Halloween products in action, in a silly and spooky series of videos. Thanks to Lush’s huge consumer base, they have lots of room to play with different ways of advertising their products and creating their content.
Cards Against Humanity – Black Friday Pranks
Cards Against Humanity (CAH), the “fill-in the blank party game” for adults, is widely known online for being provocative, unique, and outside the box in their marketing. Cards Against Humanity have developed a kind of trickster persona on social media, often ‘pranking’ their fans/audience and constantly subverting expectations to set themselves apart from other brands. And the fans love it! CAH is the “people’s game,” the “anti-company company.” Every Black Friday, CAH perform a complicated ‘prank.’ In a now-famous Black Friday marketing campaign from 2013, Cards Against Humanity subverted expectations and raised their prices by $5 for Black Friday. What’s even stranger is that it worked, and sales still soared!
So, what can we learn from all these campaigns? Most importantly, listen to your audience. Your audience is the reason you do what you do. Give them a voice, share their content (with permission, of course), and if they like something you post/offer – do more of that! Seasonal campaigns follow this advice even more closely, with engaging content doing extra well during seasonal periods.
Need help planning your seasonal campaigns? Do you struggle to fit seasonal content in with regular content? Get in touch with Giraffe Social Media today to find out how we can help you.