It’s been a good year and, if you’ve been among the marketers who try to be proactive with the seasons, you’ve done your best to catch all of the seasons as they fly by. Now, as we enter November’s blissful holiday mood, Thanksgiving is knocking and everyone is getting ready for the turkey. Are you getting ready too? If you’re a proactive marketer, then you probably already are! Thanksgiving is going to be a very interesting time for lots of social media campaigns and you have to prepare yourself to be at the forefront of it all for your own good.

We had a chat with Kimberly Hills, one of the social media marketing execs from EssayOnTime and asked if she was doing anything special for the website’s Thanksgiving marketing campaign. She was very enthusiastic about it and told us some of her ideas in detail which we will share with you today! 

Kimberly says that Thanksgiving is all about gratefulness and appreciation. Your marketing campaigns should reflect that if you want to resonate with your audience. Here are six of her favorite ideas.

1. Use Instagram Stories to capture First Party Data

As a marketer, there are three things you will always be looking to do more of. These are to improve the storytelling associated with your brand, drive engagement among your users, and improve the overall effectiveness of your presence on social media. Additionally, you’ll probably be looking to capture insights about your audience; what is known as first-party data, in order to better understand what motivates your customers and what they preferences and interests are. That way, your marketing efforts in the future will be better informed and more likely to be successful.

If you’re focused on all of that, then there is no better time than Thanksgiving to get all of that going at a very high clip. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get your users engaged on social media and there is no better place to drive that engagement than on Instagram stories. Instagram stories are all about building mobile first experiences at lightning-fast speeds for your audience. You make your engagement efforts incentivized for your audience, which makes them want to engage with you more because they feel that there is something in it for them. You can post quizzes, meme generators, live polls, and lots of different user-generated content. All of these campaigns are real-time and help you get to be there with your audience in the moment. All of these campaigns are also available in Instagram stories. The application has a whole plethora of tools you can use to your advantage. Considering how social media has grown to be a noisy place over the years, it helps to be able to rise above all of it and stand out from the rest. You get to entertain your audience as well as inspire them to action without being in their face.

2. User-Generated Content is your Friend

Ever heard of the food brand Crunchies? Well, they used Thanksgiving to their advantage in a very effective way: by getting their users to generate the content themselves. Thanksgiving is all about food and that is where the main focus is. Crunchies launched a user-generated content campaign that took that focus and made it into a marketing focus as well. They basically asked their customers to share their favorite recipes that were made with Crunchies products. There was even a complete landing page that was dedicated to the cause. The users would share their recipes on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram. The data would then be pulled in to the landing page as content and pooled there for everyone to see. Other users could come to the landing page and browse through the recipes and see which ones got the most likes. The top recipes got thousands and thousands of shares.

You can use the same strategy to your advantage. Simply get users to generate content relevant to your brand and its products and get a sharing campaign started. In the process, it’s not just the user-generated content that gets shared; your brand also gets shared thousands of times across the internet. There are few better ways to gain traction on the internet!

3. Use Thanksgiving to build a Database for your CRM

If you’ve been struggling to get consumers to enter their data and signup on your website, then Thanksgiving gives you the perfect opportunity to do so. A good example of a company that nailed this is the Food Network, which used Thanksgiving to gather over 250,000 marketing contacts. The strategy was pretty simple: they published a Thanksgiving sweepstakes on their website. Okay, we put it as a simple Thanksgiving sweepstake but really it was the ultimate one in the respect. The users would stand a chance to win prizes and all they had to do was sign up for various opt-ins like promotional offers and newsletters. Since users signed up, their experience was seamless and they ended up being a lot more engaged than they would otherwise be.

You could come up with some kind of promotion like this where you promise gifts, prizes, and giveaways to your consumers and use the incentive to get them to sign up on your website. This strategy works pretty well when you have a lot of regular visitors but don’t get a lot of sign-ups for your CRM. By incentivizing them, you can get a lot more data to add to your CRM database for a wider reach as you do your marketing later on.

4. Engage Users with Thanksgiving Conversations on Social Media

The ‘Share a Coke’ campaign by Coca-Cola was a raging success and more so because it helped to ignite a conversation on Thanksgiving. The campaign was on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and became a frequent topic of conversation at dinner parties and social media in general.

The campaign was simple. Coca-Cola would print names and personalized messages on cans and bottles of their soft drink as per the customer’s request. They then suggested that the customers can use them as place cards at dinner tables. Customers simply bought cans that had the guests’ names on them as well as little hilarious or sentimental messages and then placed them at the dinner table to mark the spots where the guest was meant to sit. Lots of people got talking about it and it gave the Coca-Cola brand a huge boost in popularity.

You might not be able to do something as large scale as the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, but the idea is one you can inexpensively implement in your own marketing campaigns. Simply find a way to get users talking about your brand by personalizing it for their everyday use. Remember to include incentives to drive the campaign.

5. User Personality Quizzes to engage your Audience

Every marketing campaign deserves a little lightheartedness here and there and there’s no better time to be lighthearted than during Thanksgiving. understood this and launched a Thanksgiving personality quiz where the user’s quiz results determined what Thanksgiving dishes the would be served.

The quiz was pretty comprehensive, taking users from music genres to traditions on Thanksgiving. There were ten questions that really sought to get to know the user better. Once the participants were done with the quiz, they got a description of a Thanksgiving dish that was filled with pun and was very entertaining, being tailored to go with the person’s personality. At the end of the day, the quiz was all about making participants smile. Something you can do for your campaign too!

6. Instant Win Sweepstakes will maximize your Conversion Rates

The holiday season is all about waiting. People are waiting, patiently turning the calendar leaves as they wait for Christmas to come around. But waiting isn’t fun most of the time and your consumer will understandably get tired of it and wants some instant gratification. Why not give it to them with an Instant Win Sweepstakes?

You can use Thanksgiving as the theme of your sweepstakes and let your customers enter and immediately find out if and what they’ve won. You should include a range of prizes from the simple and sentimental to the grand to make it even more exciting. Meanwhile, you should encourage your customers to live in the moment. You can also use the opportunity to gain useful customer data by letting them fill in a submission form.

Final Thoughts

You might have noticed that most of these little tricks and campaigns can be applied in lots of different holiday seasons and not just Thanksgiving. That’s because it’s not just about the holiday season: it’s more about the creativity of the marketer and finding ways to rehash the most effective marketing campaigns to fit the particular season they are dealing with. Keep your campaigns creative and your audience engaged and your marketing efforts will be successful all year round!