Coming across a fun marketing idea when it is too late to implement is disappointing. As the year progresses, there are naturally times when setting up marketing events is easier than others, but the good ideas rarely seem to fall in those moments. Take advantage of one of the slower times of the year by making a plan. This month, instead of offering a single idea, we have 10 social media marketing events you can personalize and line up throughout the year to fit your schedule.
The marketing events were created with Instagram in mind — it is one of the fastest growing platforms (they have gained 100 million users in the last four months). You are more likely to reach students on Instagram than on Facebook and focusing a solid marketing strategy on one platform for an entire year is an effective way to build momentum. However, you can apply these ideas to any social media site you choose.
10 social media marketing engagement campaigns to use in a year
Download: June Marketing KitDownload Kit
- Summer Welcome – Advice for Freshmen
Ask upperclassmen what they wished they would have known as freshmen and keep a list of their best responses. During the summer welcome events, post related campus pictures captioned with advice daily. Include information on how to save money when buying textbooks. A recent study showed first-year students spend more on textbooks. Letting freshmen know about the various options available will set the campus store off on the right foot with the incoming class. Have your Instagram account mentioned in the welcome material handed out to the students.
- Rush – Coming Soon
If you know what sales and events your campus store will be hosting during the semester, make a simple flyer or leaflet that can be put in bags as students check out during rush. Instead of starting from scratch with trying to get the word out about each new sale or event your store hosts, you will have already let students know what’s coming. Don’t forget to include a “Follow us on Instagram for great deals and fun campus events” at the end of the flyer. Use the increase in store traffic to build followers and form a more lasting connection with your shoppers.
Instagram does not have a way to schedule posts ahead. With services like Later (formally Latergramme) you can create and schedule your Instagram marketing — however, it will send a reminder to you to post, but doesn’t post for you.
- Halloween – Scary Good Savings
Host a sale offering a discount to anyone who shows up in a costume and tells you their most embarrassing Halloween story. Snap their picture and share their story on your Instagram page with the hashtag #halloweenhilarity and school hashtag so others can play along.
Invite students to vote on a favorite to increase traffic and engagement.
- Finals – Study Break
During finals week, post the best study tips/quick relaxation techniques/exercises in conjunction with hosting an in-store study break for an hour each day. Try things like coloring, study snacks, 10-minute stress-reducing yoga, etc. Activities like these can help make the store more than just a place to buy stuff. Use fun events to make the store a place students want to be.
Include the school hashtag on every social media post.
- Winter Break - Trivia
Post a daily trivia question on Instagram the week leading up to break. The customers who give the answer at checkout get a discount on merchandise. Set up a DIY gift wrapping station with bow making instructions to encourage holiday shopping.
DIY gift wrapping pictures would make a great Pinterest board.
- Valentine's Day – Love Stories
Embrace the season and add a little romance to the month. Take your cue from Penn State’s long-running “love stories” series. Share a photograph and the story of couples who met on campus with the hashtag #lovestories and school hashtag. For a little balance, consider sharing people’s #lovesucks stories with their worst breakups. Make a sign for each hashtag and have the couples hold the #lovestories sign and the singles hold the #lovesucks sign.
Offer little treats — chocolate anyone? —to participants to increase enthusiasm.
- Spring – Campus in the Spring Photo Contest
As the snow starts to melt and the first signs of life pop up all over campus, hold a photo contest for the best Campus in the Spring photograph. Post submissions on Instagram and ask the students to vote for the winner by liking their favorites on your Instagram post. Give the winner a gift card to use in your store.
Frame the winning photo and hang it in your store for omnichannel exposure.
- Spring Break – Meme Contest
Just because students aren’t on campus doesn’t mean you can’t host an online event. Provide a new image every day of break for your followers to turn into a meme. Establish rules to make sure the submitted images are appropriate. Share the best and let the number of likes determine the winner. The winner receives a small prize determined by the store.
Cute animals make great meme fodder, like Tuna the Dog.
- Buyback – Buyback Cashback
Complaints are voiced on social media more often than positive experiences. Help turn that trend around in your store. Take a picture of students holding a chalkboard sign with the amount they received at buyback. Post the highest totals on Instagram to entice others to sell their books and to advertise where and when the event is taking place.
Give out a candy bar with buyback.
- Graduation – Looking Back/Looking Forward
Finishing college is a huge accomplishment. Celebrate with the soon-to-be graduates by asking them to share their best memory from college and their post-graduation plans. If you have a large audience of alumni on your page, include the graduate’s field of study and whether or not they have a job lined up. Share with a photograph of the graduate.
Plan ahead. Ask the graduating seniors what they wish they would have known as freshmen.
Go into the new academic year with a plan on how your social media can grow into a marketing asset for the store.