By Casea Peterson
Independence Day is an ideal holiday for small businesses to leverage from a marketing standpoint. The holiday promotes a sense of community and local pride which enables small businesses to pivot their marketing campaigns toward promoting on a more local level through community outreach and people-to-people interactions. Building credibility and authenticity in person and through user-generated content (UGC) is a powerful way to promote your brand and define your core values.
Small businesses can benefit from showcasing their customer pride with a visual timeline of meaningful, relevant UGC across the history of their brand. Emphasizing the heritage and core values of your brand will show authenticity to your audience of current and potential consumers. Not to mention, a timeline of user content will express credibility and gratitude for their business over the years.
A great way to generate leads from this type of promotion is to ask current consumers to share their own content representing your products or services while sporting Independence Day colors. Up to date consumer images of your product in action is up to seven times more trustworthy than advertising images on social media. Your audience will likely be inspired to see a community they are already a part of and participate in adding more UGC to your brand’s history.
Stand Out at Local Independence Day Events
Show up to every community event that celebrates Independence Day in your area and, if possible, snag a booth! Having your top products and helpful staff on site will give new and potential consumers a chance to interact face to face with your brand. By participating in the celebration of a national holiday while also giving away freebies to promote your brand, you’ll find many consumers will appreciate your effort to be a part of the community and create stronger bonds with those that shop locally.
If you manage to snag a booth at a local event be sure to leverage part of that space as an interactive area where consumers can snap selfies or record their experience and then share it online to their friends (think dunk tank). These fun but supportive engagements in person can drive leads and new followers online in a big way.
If you can’t find a booth or something that allows you to get face to face with people outside of the store you should consider creating an interactive map of Independence Day events in your area. These kinds of efforts on your brands part show that you’re paying attention to the community and that you care about helping out locals whether they are already consumers or not.
Make sure your booth and freebies are branded well and include a hashtag making it easy to share and participate online and off. And don’t forget, you should document the entire holiday experience as well, not just your consumers. Show pictures of your booth, your store if you decorate it, or your employees decked out in patriotic gear.
Give Back to Veterans
The holiday is, after all, about gratitude, so show how thankful you are by offering an even bigger discount to veterans and to anyone who posts a photo or tweets thanks to veterans or military service members while showcasing your product or service, or with a branded hashtag.
Show your gratitude this Independence Day by offering special deals and discounts to veterans and those who currently serve in the military. To push this concept further, your business can run a promotion available to all of your consumers asking for photos or videos of them expressing their own gratitude for the veterans and military members in their life.
Those who included the branded hashtag can either be submitted into a drawing or given a discount code or coupon for their next purchase. Don’t forget, you should get as many of your employees as possible to share their own posts of gratitude to emphasize your brand’s national support this Independence Day.
Free Giveaways with Incentive to Post Later
When you attend events, add a hashtag or contest info to products you give away that entice the consumer to follow through and share their experience of in-person interaction with your business in order to get an online discount or to be submitted for a contest. A selfie booth, or even a patriotic themed photo booth with hats and party favors, is a great way to welcome new consumers in, let them have fun taking photos, and answer their questions about your services face to face.
To promote your in-person campaign online, you can host a selfie or photo contest on Instagram where the winner of the day’s event gets a special surprise gift from your store. Celebrating is meant to be fun and memorable, so make sure you find creative ways to showcase your products while emphasizing the fun and enjoyment of the freedoms we have.
If your products can be used in a patriotic way or have patriotic colors, encourage consumers to snap photos of themselves with your products by allowing any image with that particular hashtag to be submitted for an online contest.
Unboxing videos are an excellent way to prompt consumers to share their personal experience of your product with their friends and family.
Prompt users at checkout to complete an unboxing video for added discounts on their next purchase or to be submitted into a sale event. The popularity of video is still on the rise so any way you can prompt your online consumers into sharing their experience and reaction (hopefully positive) to your products is a plus.
To give this type of campaign a patriotic twist, you can only offer the unboxing contest with products that are red, white, and blue, or Independence Day themed. Make sure the packaging also rings true to the holiday theme and put a little extra love into the box, like a freebie or handwritten note, that will catch the consumer by surprise and stand out to the viewers.
The easiest way to develop an unboxing trend or contest is to offer discounts to those who participate and to encourage users at checkout to take advantage of the discounts made available if an unboxing video is made and a branded hashtag is included.
The best way to celebrate Independence Day this year is to engage with your customers on a personal level, not just through a massive contest online. Get boots on the ground and go to where a majority of your consumers are. Celebrate with them, engage with them, learn more about them, and most of all have fun being grateful with them. Your brand will be remembered by those who experience meaningful, face to face interactions with it and if they remember your brand and love your products, they will undoubtedly become lifelong advocates who share your business with their own friends and family.