Before the existence of social media, there weren't so many occasions. So many "Days," and things to celebrate. To put it plainly, there was once a time where occasions were just that... Occasional.
The rapid and monumental rise of the social media universe changed all of that, however - the universe that currently has about 2.5 billion users overall.
Not before recently did we ever see people celebrating days like, "National Pizza Day" or "National Coffee Day." Atleast not in business' unrelated to pizza and coffee.
Holidays go well beyond that now, as well. We celebrate the things behind the things... "National Book-Lovers Day," for example, is a celebration of the reader behind the book, behind the bookstore, behind the publisher, behind the author, and so on.
Consider how many literary, book-related holidays there are within the calendar year. On top of "National Book-Lovers Day," there is also, "Read a Book Day," "Author's Day," "National Read Across America Day," "Children's Book Day," "Paperback Book Day," as well as more specific days like, "Tolkien Reading Day," "Winnie the Pooh Day," and so on.
By now, you probably get the point. There are simply a ton of holidays to remember - a multitude coming with any one-subject.
For social media advertisers, our newly loaded calendars merely bleed of endless opportunity. More days and more occasions simply means more ways for them to connect with their audience.
This is where the unique power of social media comes into play.
Due to its incredible reach and user-accessibility, social media gives advertisers a way to interact with every single person that might be celebrating Christmas, the Super Bowl, or "National Pack Your Lunch Day..." Any holiday imaginable.
Social media affords advertisers the opportunity to be present at all times. Which, when considering advertising of the past, is fairly astounding.
Take the following (fake) ad for example:
This is a mock Twitter ad, with creative that looks like it's from the 1950's.
First of all, in looking at the ad, reading "By following or being followed" in this context feels abundantly more creepy than anything you'll read online today. The copy also seems very out of place sitting next to the creative.
This is a bit of a time-warp, meshing the old with the new, showing us how far we've come technologically and in the advertising world. Perhaps the most notable phrase in the ad, "Previously unimagined experiences" sums up the idea of Twitter pretty soundly.
The point here, is that social media is truly unlike any other platform in the history of advertising. And when used effectively, it's incredibly powerful and cheap for advertisers.
The immense number of national holidays, however, provides a perfect example of why social media advertising can be a lot to handle. There's so much to consider, that it's sometimes hard to know how to use the medium effectively.
And that brings us to today (literally, today). Amongst the "Talk in an Elevator" and "Greasy Foods" holidays, still lies the age-old day for romance - Valentine's Day.
Valentine's Day is a perfect example of how powerful social media can be for any and every holiday. Why?
Think of how many types of brands sell products that coincide with Valentine's Day. Jewelry, chocolate, flowers, restaurants, etc. All things considered, there's not a lot of companies that stand to benefit from direct sales of Valentine's products.
But once again, in comes social advertising. With the abilities available to brands on social media platforms, there's no reason not to participate in Valentine's Day.
As you'll see, from donuts, to non-profts and on, Valentine's Day can be a great opportunity for any brand to connect with customers through social advertising.
So, with that, we bring you the 4 ways to master Valentine's Day advertising with social media:
Playing to a Feeling
This comes first and foremost. The best way to incorporate any holiday-based social advertising campaign, is to play to the feelings brought about by the holiday.
Valentine's Day, of course, is a day dedicated to significant others, love, and romance.
Take that feeling, or take ordinary, real-life scenarios related to that feeling, and work your product into the mix.
This Oreo video ad campaign from 2015 is a perfect example. They ran six ads for their "Red Velvet Oreos" surrounding Valentine's Day. Each video depicts the feeling of meeting someone for the first time, and the unconventional, potentially awkward ways that it might happen.
In this video, a grocery store cashier rings up a customer's items. Upon scanning Red Velvet Oreos, however, she moves in slow motion, staring into the eyes of the man buying the Oreos.
This is a perfect example of one way to work yourself into the equation. Despite being a cookie brand, Oreo can connect with their social media followers by reminding them of the first time they met their significant other - or, at the worst, by giving them a quick chuckle.
Another way to capitalize on Valentine's Day is simply to theme your content around the holiday with colors, language, and more.
You can incorporate hearts, as well as the reds and pinks that remind people of love. You can use relevant #ValentinesDayHashtags in social posts, and push other relevant holiday content on your social profiles (perhaps a blog post...).
Simply use the already-instilled theme of the holiday to start a conversation with your audience. In a way, each holiday is a brand of its own. Think of your own content as being sponsored by Valentine's Day, and dress it up as such.
Valentine's Day social advertising content doesn't have to speak directly of your product either.
You can take your own advertising message, and use the holiday as the branding, or, you can take a holiday-based message, and use your own company as the branding, to simply have a conversation with your followers.
Take this Omaze video ad for example. In it, actor Idris Elba talks to children about Valentine's Day, asking their advice on a few things - and for 3:30, that's all he's doing:
Not until the last 30 seconds of this four minute video does Elba actually tell you what's being promoted. This is a perfect example of simply discussing the holiday to connect with followers.
Social media contests and polls are another great way to get your followers involved on Valentine's Day.
One major perk of social advertising, is that brands can take advantage of user-generated content. For example, when and with who do most of us take the most photos?
During the holidays, with our families and significant others.
Dunkin' Donuts has been a very big Valentine's Day advertiser for some time now. Every year, around the holiday, they sell heart-shaped donuts to celebrate.
This year, to get their followers involved, they're holding a contest, asking customers to post photos on Instagram showing "how their relationship with someone 'runs on Dunkin'," with the hashtag #DDLOVECONTEST.
In the midst of all this, they've been re-posting user-generated photos of their heart-shaped donuts, simply repurposing someone else's photos of their Valentine-themed offering. This is an extremely effective way to get their followers involved in their brand.
When planning a Valentine's Day advertising campaign, it's also crucial not to forget the singles and self-gifters of the social media world.
Valentine's Day is a very good time for companies with products that cater to singles - dating sites being the most notable example.
Last year, eHarmony ran this video ad, where a bunch of children discuss the meaning of love, among other things. This video was part of an attached promotion for new-users:
While these children seem to have a weirdly-sound grasp on what true love actually is, the ad serves as a reminder of what the holiday could mean for anyone that decides to use eHarmony.
In the end, whether you're selling cookies, donuts, a dating site, charity, or anything else, staying active on social media is one of the best ways to master your Valentine's Day advertising campaign.