Sun, sandy beaches, rosé: there’s no better season to capture consumers than summertime. Even if you’re not strictly a ‘summer’ brand, there’s a host of ways to engage existing and potential customers in the balmier months.

Like any season, summer has a range of customers with different goals to appeal to. By tapping into their key emotions, you can find innovative yet simple strategies to connect to audiences.

Let’s look at the different ways your brand can use to engage to fans on social media during the summer.

The great outdoors

Good weather equals good mood, so think “outside” with your content. Even if your brand is unrelated, there’s nothing stopping you from setting up some product shots against a sunny-themed background.

Even a simple ‘Summer’s Here! Shop the Sale Now’ text against a backdrop of crystal clear waters will be surprisingly effective. Who doesn’t feel a little bit lighter when looking at a sandy beach?

Anyone who follows Starbucks on social media understands how nature can be used to uplift visual content.

starbucks_brand_engagement

On Instagram, the Starbucks products are always encased in sunshine. Whether it’s Frappucinos by the beach or in the hands of artfully-manicured teens, the inspirational lilt to content gets people associating the brand with joy.

In addition, the beauty of Starbucks’ strategy on Instagram, in this case, is that the majority of brand posts are from its users.

Fans know the brand’s outdoorsy ethos inside out and post pictures of their Starbucks, all over the world.

What better way to respond to fans by reposting their content? By regramming, Starbucks ensures lots of free publicity and continual brand loyalty.

How to engage

Posting content related to sunny weather is a sure-fire way to get fans excited. Think palm trees, lagoons, even your back garden — you don’t need a flashy camera or Photoshop to get results.

Add your message in text over a photo (Canva is great for this), and you’ve got your fans thinking “summer.”

Lifestyle brands obviously do well with outdoorsy content. But don’t see this as limiting if you don’t fall in that category. Any brand with a genuine voice will see engagement, whatever their angle.

For example, take Lowe’s. This American DIY retailer is one of the most followed brands on Pinterest. How do they succeed? By taking the network’s key ingredients (DIY, good photography, and lifestyle themes) and using them to inspire audiences to buy its products.

Summer means alfresco eating, treehouses and the beach, and Lowe’s make sure it’s your first port of call to buy anything you might need to for the season. Its Savour Summer board is a masterclass in how to effectively use Pinterest for marketing.

Get personal with your content. Offering a look behind the brand (company drinks and barbecues, for example) will make you more relatable during the summer months.

Likewise, make a splash with any outdoors events this summer. Instagram and Vine videos are a great way to build anticipation on social, from countdowns to planning and highlights.

Sports, sports, sports

From Wimbledon and the Tour de France to September’s Rugby World Cup, summer plays host to popular worldwide events that you can newsjack for your brand.

While a number of fans might not be at the actual events, that doesn’t mean they won’t be following online. The semi-final of 2014’s Football World Cup generated 35.6 million tweets, signalling that sports fans are definitely using social to talk.

How to engage

To captivate crowds in the moment, there’s no better network than Twitter. When it comes to livetweeting, creativity and quick wit are your best tools. Oreo is a stellar example with their now-famous Superbowl tweet.

By talking about sports events in real time, they engaged not just Oreo lovers, but sports fans as well. Moreover, they’ve used this tactic at the Oscars and countless other events.

Twitter’s search and hashtag functionality allows you to find the most up-to-date tweets. Staying abreast of what’s being said online is essential to engaging with your fans. Using a real-time monitoring tool (like Mention’s) will help you discover potential topics and keep the conversation going, every minute, of every day.

For B2B companies, infographics are a great way to get companies talking about you. By collecting useful data around sports events (the odds on Wimbledon, for example), others will start talking about it.

Family time

School holidays, vacations, back to school – there are a lot of family-centric occasions that brands can talk about from June to September.

But with different apples on the family tree, from parents to teens, it’s vital to identify who you’re targeting.

How to engage

To target parents, talk about their concerns: from organizing family holidays to ideas for entertaining the kids on a budget. There’s also the risks associated with heat, such as sunscreen and water intake.

Then of course, there’s the ever-enticing getaway angle.

Club Med has expertly captured the imagination of travel junkies with picturesque content like this:

club_med_brand_engagement

An appealing visual, combined with the #LâcherPrise (#LetGo) hashtag, tugs on the desires of families in need of a break.

And how to appeal to those not escaping this year? Identify how families spend their free time at home. “How to” videos can be leveraged by pretty much all brands. Braiding hair, putting up a tent, making the perfect gazpacho, the list goes on. You can use Vine or Instagram for video that’s both cost-effective and shareable.

Hosting challenges, such as daily activities or reading lists, will entertain both children and parents. A combined approach will widen your reach and ignite shares.

Families also use seasonal sales to stock up on the majority of homeware of the year, so there’s no better time to push discounts. Giveaways and contests can be promoted on Facebook, and Twitter’s coupon facility allows for in-store use — perfect for mobile users.

Conclusion

Summer offers numerous occasions to (re)engage customers with your brand. Don’t forget, your tactics needn’t be lavish and bold to be effective!

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and identify their wants and needs to determine your content strategy. Whether useful information or holiday inspiration, summer holds plenty of opportunities to get fans talking!

Alice White Walker is a freelance writer and social media strategist. Swapping London for Paris, her love of Instagram and Comté help in dissecting the latest innovations in brand marketing.

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