Halloween dogHolidays can be trying, what with arrangements to be made, food to be prepared, gifts to be given, and so on. Halloween specifically – which may lack the flair of its more imposing sisters (Thanksgiving and Christmas), but which demands the same creativity and agility – requires forethought, since it’s the one time when you’re actually mandated to be someone (or something) else, to take on a persona different from your own.

In that respect, Halloween is rather like today’s social media platforms, places where you’re constantly making impressions, and where every move you make needs careful planning. To make the most of both the holiday and social media, it’s important to know what to expect, and who you’re talking to.

So, in honor of today (October 31st, All Hallows’ Eve), here are four people you’re likely to meet on Halloween, the four social media users they most resemble, and four different ways to engage them (in real life and in social)!

1. The person who opts for a topical costume.
dog with bow tie
This might be the friend of yours who wears all pink and calls herself Miley Cyrus’ tongue, or the stranger clad in paint swatches who’s introduced to you as “50 Shades of Grey” (see above). In either case, this is the person intent on making a statement with what he/she wears, the person eager to be relevant.

This type of person is most similar to “the cheerleader” this infographic describes. A cheerleader in social media is the person who is the first to like, comment on, and share your brand’s posts, who enters every giveaway and drives new traffic to your site, and who wants to be known by others as a good brand advocate.

The best ways to engage both person and user? Show appreciation for their enthusiasm, and work to understand the character they’ve created for themselves (what it means to them, why it speaks to them, and what speaks to them more generally as individuals). Make them feel respected, and seek out opportunities for further interaction (perhaps with a giveaway online, or a hang-out in real life!).

2. The person who undercommits to his/her costume.

Halloween 2This is the partygoer who slaps a quarter on his back and calls himself a quarterback, or the carouser who dons a pair of cat-ears and considers herself Catwoman – essentially, the person who puts next to no effort in the costume he/she wears, but who still appreciates the holiday and has fun all the same.

As a social media user, this person would be the “quiet follower,” the sort of fan who knows your business and brand but likely isn’t a direct customer, who follows you because their friends do, and who mildly helps your overall presence on social channels.

The best ways to engage both person and user? Find out what makes them tick! Learn where their interests and loyalties lie, and coax out their true personality (with witty banter in person, with appealing surveys and other calls to action online).

3. The person who tries to be sexy.

cat in orange costumeThis type of reveler would be happiest to pair some form of animal ears with lingerie, would gladly sport a striped crop-top and striped short-shorts and answer to “Waldo” – in short, wants to impress and be remembered. This would be the sort of person who enjoys Halloween and the carousing that comes with it, and sees it as an opportunity to stand out among all the other celebrants.

It is in that last respect especially that this person brings to mind the “deal-seeker” the infographic mentions – the user of social media who puts value before loyalty, and who wants a clear picture of what he or she stands to gain in committing to your brand or product. This sort of person is a trend-setter, and is quick to lead others to act.

The best ways to engage both person and user? Be complimentary, but not to the extent that the person or user feels appreciated only for their appearance. Make sure they feel heard and recognized in your exchanges; you might manage this online with special deals, promotional packages, fan giveaways – freebies that encourage support and dialogue.

4. The person who eschews costumes altogether.

Halloween 4This would be the last sort of person you’d want to encounter on a Halloween night – the kind of partygoer who denounces the holiday as pointless, who scoffs at or ridicules others for their costumes, the killjoy who wants only to bring down the mood.

In social media, this person would likely be considered a troll the person who litters your brand’s page with negativity and demands to have the last word.

The best ways to engage both person and user? Keep as cool a head as possible, and try to be helpful when or when they’ll let you (as a shoulder to lean on in person, and a thought leader or resource online). But just as you’d put a drunk in a cab and send him home, you might need to block the true troll if he’s ruining the experience for the rest of your guests.

Realistically, you’ll never be fully prepared for every possible eventuality when it comes to a beast as unwieldy as social media or a holiday as chaotic as Halloween. What’s important is that you develop a plan of some sort, that you prepare, so that you’re on firmer ground when things (inevitably) go awry.

Find out more tips for social media marketing at Act-On’s Center of Excellence! And Happy Halloween to one and all.

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“Brindle Pitbull with Bow,” “Orange Cat in Blue Blanket,” “Two White Chickens with Eggs & a Box of Hay,” and “Orange Cat in Pumpkin Costume” images by the Found Animals Foundation, used under a Creative Commons 2.0 License.