A mist rolls off of the river and up to the door of the office. Inside the web-developers and digital marketers go about their day, unaware of what lingered in the darkness outside…  

Ok, I admit – I’m exaggerating, it’s not that scary in the Advantec office. But with Halloween just around the corner, I can’t help but get into the spirit. Pumpkins are all over our supermarkets, this year’s horror films are being shown in the cinemas and brands, all over the world, are embracing their spooky side.

I love Halloween because it gives brands the opportunity to have fun with both their products and with their marketing, and in my opinion, no one does it better than Merlin Entertainments.

From Warwick Castle to Thorpe Park, each of Merlin’s attractions goes through a complete Halloween overhaul, with the scares considerately scaled up or down depending on the typical visitor.

This year they started to roll out their online activities weeks ago, inspiring excitement, awareness and a push towards ticket sales. There’s certainly still time to take a bit of inspiration from Merlin –  and make this your year to get involved with the Halloween hype.

Thoughtful collaborations with the right brands

Two weeks ago, The London Dungeons shared a live Facebook video teaming up with Mac Cosmetics. In the 45 minutes live session, two Mac makeup artists completed Halloween looks, whilst also answering questions from viewers about makeup and sharing their tricks and tips for the best costumes.

The live video, which was shot inside the London Dungeons and hosted by a Court Jester (because, Halloween) received well over five-thousand views on Facebook, and a huge amount of engagement – particularly in comparison to the other posts shared that week.

I love this collaboration because it’s thoughtful. The London Dungeons are inherently scary and everyone wants to perfect the best makeup for Halloween – it’s a completely natural union. This live Facebook video put the attraction into the Halloween spotlight, with relevant and engaging content. It was well planned, well timed and best of all, it was fun.

Encourage user-generated content

At the start of the Fright Night season, Thorpe Park rolled out the hashtag #FrightNights2017. This simple hashtag encourages visitors to the theme park to share their photos and experiences, creating a presence on social media as well as a stream through to their website.

My response to this? Sometimes the simplest things have the most impact.

While browsing Thorpe Park’s website, I caught sight of these pictures and immediately started to look into buying tickets. There was something about seeing people enjoying themselves, which made me not want to miss out on the fun.

User-generated content like this is brilliant because it’s authentic. And not only does it allow potential customers to see what fun they are missing out on, it also gives the theme park reams of fresh social media content to engage with, retweet and repurpose.

Visuals for the most shares  

Similar to Thorpe Park’s traditional hashtag campaign, it appears that Merlin is sticking with the classics this Halloween (and that’s no bad thing).

On Alton Tower’s Twitter, the resort has taken the time to let Halloween visuals take over their feed. Each tweet, from standard housekeeping to sharing the scares, is accompanied by a well thought out image, graphic or video. When it comes to social media it’s a well-known fact that visuals inspire better engagement, and Alton Towers just proves the point. Flicking through their Twitter feed I was quite happily clicking through to website links and liking the backstage photos and family snapshots.

Taking the time to source visual content alongside your social media posts can have a huge impact. It may seem too simple to mention, but it is often overlooked, and little online activities like this can make a big difference when trying to raise awareness for an event or a product. This is true not just for Halloween, but any time of the year (just perhaps make sure that you keep the pumpkins and ghouls to the October festivities).  

Conclusion

As one of the most playful festivities of the year, Halloween provides the perfect opportunity to have fun on your digital platforms and join in with the trends. Merlin Entertainments prove that small activities can provide big opportunities, like fresh content and higher social media engagement. And thoughtful content pieces can really prove to a digital audience that you’ve thought about them, and what they need (mostly a jaw-dropping Halloween costume).  

 

Elena Pearce – Digital Marketing Executive
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