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8-Step Summer 2013 Social Media Plan

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Summer is the most anticipated season of the year. But it can be difficult to keep on track of your social media goals when the sun’s out to play. The good news is, you can still hit the beach by putting this fast and easy social media marketing plan into effect to run beforehand.

Summertime is great for tapping into people’s emotions. Everyone’s generally happy and relaxed due to the weather, vacation and family time they have. People already have barbecues, swimming and picnics on their brain – all you need to do is relate the summer hype to your business. With this plan you’ll be able to harness your social media goals this summer.

In this guide we’ll teach you, with examples and suggestions, how to create a killer social media plan for this summer in just eight steps. Take a look at the plan’s eight facets below and then let’s jump in to how to execute them:

1.Think outside the box and make your product/service summer-related

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2. Organize a product photo shoot

3. Design summer branded cover photos for your social networks

4. Document what you do behind the scenes

5. Make photo albums on Facebook of user-generated content

6. Arrange summer Pinterest boards

7. Capitalize on the emotions of the season

8. Run social summer contests

1. Think outside the box and make your product/service summer-related

You may not carry an actual “summer” product/service (such as bathing suits, ice cream, boat rentals, etc.) but that doesn’t mean you can’t surround your product or service with summer props and designs. Start by brainstorming a list of anything you think of when it comes to summer (sun, vacations, tropical, etc.) Once you’ve built a list of 10-20 ideas, go through them and see how you can relate them to your product or service (Don’t worry, I’ll give you some examples below).

Is Hello Kitty a summer product? No. But that doesn’t mean she can’t be dressed up to have fun in the sun.

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Here are three ways you can apply summer to your business:

  • So you sell musical instruments. Hit the beach after work and take a picture of a friend or fellow employee playing the saxophone while the sun sets.
  • Are you in dentistry? On a social network of your choice, mention the fact that there are lots of vacations and wedding in the summer and that teeth need to be picture perfect. Have whiter teeth than the bride – stop by Joe’s Dental Clinic for teeth whitening!
  • Own a car wash? Create posts on social networks saying something along the lines of, “Out of town friends or family coming to visit? Make sure to impress them with your squeaky clean vehicle. ” With an image of an immaculately clean car beside people with luggage, or people frowning at a really dirty car in a driveway.

2. Organize a Summertime Product Photo Shoot

Technology these days makes it easy for us to do a photo shoot right off of our smartphones. We even have photo editors on them, so that you don’t even need to upload it to our computers before posting it on all of our various social networks.

Product photo shoots are great content for social networks such as Pinterest, where you can have the image link back to your website (we’ll talk more about Pinterest below).

Below, Seafolly Australia takes advantage of the sunset and natural scenery. They haven’t used any props, only their products. A little photo editing and they have a beautiful shot of their products:

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Here is another one from Urban Outfitters:

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Here are three examples of product photo shoot ideas:

  • For fashion retailers: Use nature. Go outside and explore possible photo shoot areas. You won’t need many props because of the natural scenery. Hit the beach, park, or even downtown for interesting structures.
  • For outdoor equipment stores: Hit the backyard. Take pictures of people relaxing in a hammock/hammock chair on a sunny day. Or if you have more time, set up a mock camping trip with a picnic table, tent, etc.
  • For coffee shops: The great thing is people can take your coffee anywhere. Set up a couple on the top of a grassy hill or mountain during sunrise. Then use the description, “The perfect way to wake up” or “Wake up with ____” for one of your photos.

3. Design summer branded cover photos for your Facebook Page

Social media branding puts your business a step ahead of competitors. It creates the appearance that your business is fresh and current. Don’t let anyone have that advantage over your business.

Create cover photos, profile pictures and tabs that embody both summer and your brand. On Twitter, you can do the same with your background and header image.

Take a look below at Urban Outfitter’s Facebook cover photo:

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Their playful, bright Facebook page (including the cover photo, profile picture and tabs) perfectly encompass their brand and the colours associate well with summer.

Facebook page tabs are powerful for driving in-Facebook conversions. Studies have shown that Facebook users like to stay in Facebook when browsing, hence having their Instagram and Pinterest tabs right in the top row.

Here are three tips to make the branding process simpler:

  • Ask fans and followers to submit photos of them enjoying the summer (and possibly incorporating your product/service). Tell them the winners will be featured in the cover photo.
  • Keep the same theme on each social network. It’ll take less time and it keeps them clean and consistent. It’s okay to use the same image on Facebook and Twitter.

4. Document what you do behind the scenes

Show behind the scenes for photoshoots you’re taking in the summer, even if they’re for your fall/winter collection. Show scenic pictures – they don’t even have to elude to your product.

People love to see exclusive pictures. Behind the scenes photos (some social networks such as Instagram use the hashtag #bts) allow fans and followers to view content that isn’t seen by everyone.

Showing content that is exclusive and shows some of your businesses product really humanizes your brand. It can also create hype about upcoming summer products.

When your brand comes across as human, customers will feel more comfortable interacting with your brand. Social media really is the place to show the human side of your brand.

Below, Urban Outfittersexpresses their excitement (a human emotion) for their summer catalogue photoshoot (they could’ve used a #bts ).

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Here are three types of work situations to use as behind the scenes:

  • Document a staff field trip
  • Take pictures of the process of a designing a new product
  • Show staff bonding over something, even if it’s just chatting at lunch

5. Make photo albums on Facebook of user-generated content

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Facebook photo albums generate 180% more engagement than the average post. They allow your business to post multiple pieces of content at once without annoying users with multiple posts (such as if you were to pin multiple images on Pinterest), giving each post the ability to be engaging/interesting to more users at once.

User-generated content (UGC) holds many benefits for businesses. Photos (in particular) taken by customers and fans of your products work especially well.

The current digital age makes it easy for us to take a photo on our smartphones and publish it on social media platforms in seconds. UGC is a lot easier to come by nowadays than it used to be. Now it’s simple to syndicate your content throughout the internet.

Fans and followers enjoy the interactive aspect of being able to send your business photos of them with your product. The whole process of your business sorting through them and showcasing them is appealing because it proves that your business cares.

Collecting UGC doesn’t have to be hard. If you have a larger brand or retail store, you probably already have fans and followers sending you pictures of how devoted they are. It’s simple – post them as an album on Facebook, and perhaps showcase them on Instagram if they embody your brand.

A small to medium-sized business can provoke customers to offer user-generated photos. Asking for UGC on your various social networks might do the trick. Or you could run a photo contest and ask for pictures of fans or followers in their favorite hat, or drinking their favorite beverage.

Another option: If you don’t have access to UGC (or just want another type of valuable content for your social networks) create employee-generated content This type of content establishes the credibility of your business in the sense that your employees care about the company.

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Note: Do not use stock images as your “employees” because that is a lie and is totally impersonal. Also, stock images are sometimes quite uncomfortable (see here: 13 Hilarious Examples of Truly Awkward Stock Photography).

Below, online retailer Hautelookshowcases an album of customers receiving their orders in the mail, showing customer as their products arrive.

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Here are three ways to coerce your fans and followers to give you user-generated photos:

  • On Twitter: Tell anyone who tweets you with a photo of them using your product/service will be retweeted.
  • Create a contest on Twitter or Facebook and have a prize for the best photo.
  • No matter the social network, tell them you will feature the top 5 favorites on your Instagram.

6. Arrange summer Pinterest boards

Summer is a great time of the year. Photos taken are bright, sunny, and cheerful. These types of images get popular on Pinterest. Pinterest is an extremely powerful platform for brands because of the referral traffic from the social sharing site. Also, 70 percent of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users, not brands. Check out 15 Stats Retailers Should Know About Pinterest

Having seasonal Pinterest boards is always a good idea. For summer, don’t just include your products. Unless of course, you’ve created a product line for summer or you happen to sell a really unique array of items, such as bacon-flavored lollipops and water shoes with LED lights on them. On top of that board, you can create a summer Pinterest board featuring various images related to your field, but not necessarily your products at all.

For all of the other retailers, it’s a good idea to put some variation into your summer board. No, you don’t have to post your competitor’s products. Although you should post images that may be relative to your businesses image.

Below, Aritzia (a Canadian retailer) has a summer board that features a balance of pins.

The first picture on the left was from a photoshoot where they styled models to advertise their products in a more appealing way. Next, they have a plain product shot. After the next styled photo, there’s a picture most likely found on Pinterest attempting to make engagement and provide anticipation of summer to their followers. The last photo on the right features a fashion show of summer 2013 that appeals to them.

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Here are three ideas for Pinterest board ideas for summer:

  • Summer Entertainment – activities to do in the summer such as hiking, swimming, going to the water park, barbecues, etc.
  • Summer Beauty – post summer trends for hair, nails and makeup.
  • Summer Vehicles – include all sorts of vehicles that would be great for summer, such as a motorcycle, vespa, convertible, etc.

7. Capitalize on the emotions of the season

In order to create content that will go viral, generally you must tap into one of the six emotions: Awe, Anger, Anxiety, Joy, Lust and Surprise.

Why did Hautelook create a clay model of their name? Perhaps because it’s something different and visually appealing? In my opinion, they were tapping into awe. According to a study done regarding what makes online content goes viral, the best emotions to play into are awe, anger and anxiety. Personally, I find awe to be the most practical emotion to play into for businesses.

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Here are three ways you can capitalize on the emotions of your fans and followers:

  • Tug on the heartstrings and post pictures of Mothers or Fathers playing with their children, cute animals, etc. Just make sure it relates to your business somehow.
  • Ask questions about your fans and followers best memories from the summertime.
  • Find or take beautiful pictures of a common hobby your target market has.

8. Run Summer Contests

Summer contests are a great way to create excitement around your business or a specific product/service you offer. It’s a win-win situation for both your customers and your business

Did you know that 34% of Facebook users like a brand’s Facebook page for promotions and discounts? 21% of Facebook users like a brand’s page in order to receive free giveaways.

The first thing to consider is what you’re going to give away. Make sure that it is related to your business, or else people who only show interest in the prize will enter, and that’s no good for you because they aren’t real leads or already engaged customers.

Which platform are you going to run it on? Where are most of your online customers gathered? Your website, Facebook, or Twitter?

If you haven’t run one before, you’ll want to run a campaign such as a Sweepstakes or a Vote Contest. Something that requires minimal participation from your fans or followers. If you have a larger following with high engagement and have had great success with a Sweepstakes in the past, you can take it up a notch and play around with something like a Photo Contest. Photo Contests aren’t a far stretch from a Sweepstakes (usually) because of how easy it is these days to take photos with all of our convenient devices so handy.

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Here are three summer contest ideas to get you thinking:

  • For a baby products retailer: A Photo Contest where you enter a photo of your child playing in the summer for a chance to win a $50 gift card.
  • For a tanning salon: A sweepstakes where you enter to win by providing your email and name for a chance to win 30 free tanning minutes.
  • For a mall: A Vote Contest where you people vote on their favorite store to randomly win a summer prize pack filled with goodies from the mall.

Conclusion

Hopefully the above steps and examples have got your mind teeming with ideas.

Here are the 6 key takeaways:

  • Brainstorm ways to relate your product/service to the summer season.
  • Take advantage of the season and do photo shoots for your products outdoors to create content for your social networks.
  • Creating brand cover photos for your business doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive.
  • Take pictures of anything interesting or any special moments behind the scenes, your fans and followers will appreciate it, and spread the content accordingly.
  • Get customers that appreciate and look up to your business to share user-generated content with you that you can use across social media channels.
  • Run social contests to further engage your fans and followers, and to increase the engagements on Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t worry if you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed. Here are three really helpful guides to help you make the most out of your social campaigns:

If you follow these steps, you’ll make the most out of your social marketing efforts this summer.

Learn more about Wishpond’s Facebook Contests Apps to see how you can use them to increase your Facebook Likes. Try one free for 14 days.

Written By Cara Tarbaj @ Wishpond

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