How to Generate Hype with Timely Social Media Content: Halloween Edition

Joining the social media conversation to capitalize on timely events and holidays is an effective strategy that can prove to be very beneficial in generating hype. We took a look at what some of the best brands were doing to seize the Halloween Instagram momentum this year.


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'Tis the season.

Fall is taking its sweet time this year, but that doesn't mean that everything else has stalled. While the month of October might have broken heat records, it hasn't slowed down the clock, and Halloween seems to have crept upon us even faster than usual. Or is it just me? 🤔 It seems like one minute we were basking in summertime rays and they next we were being flooded with Halloween advertising and social media costume ideas galore. That's the way the cookie crumbles, I suppose...

Being successful on the social marketing circuit involves creating a dialogue with your community and engaging your audience. Brands that excel at it never skip a beat when it comes to being on the front-end of current events, pop culture moments, and special holidays in an effort to capture the attention of their followers. The goal is to be relevant and to maintain a conversation with them, all while putting a branded spin on universal observances.

Businesses that are proficient at visual storytelling meticulously plan out their content calendars in advance to capitalize on popular happenings with viral potential (#nationalicecreamday, anyone?). Chiming in the digital dialogue with personalized content about what's on people's minds is smart, pertinent, and will undoubtedly earn you some double-taps.

For outright holidays, brands can not only plot themed posts in advance, but can also devise business strategies around them. Buzzy times of year can be ideal for concocting a conversion-driving game plan, dispatching influencers, showcasing specific functionality, or focusing on a launch to hit specific marketing targets. Case in point: the social media Halloween opportunity.

The spooky autumnal holiday makes for exceptionally appealing visual fodder (don't pretend like you hate all the pumpkin talk), which can translate to mega-hype potential on social channels. Especially a visual one like Instagram. Engaging in the digital festive discourse serves to amplify brand relevance while also supporting biz goals.

We took it upon ourselves to scour the 'Gram in search of categories that had embraced the witchy holiday with smart Halloween marketing ideas. Whether or not you've activated some Halloween ads or added your voice to creative Instagram costume posts, take note for future timely content or next year's spookfest.



@ragandbone dips a toe in fright night themed content in its cool, nonchalant brand way: an iconic clip of Jack Nicholson in The Shining summons its audience to a special screening.

Halloween advertising trends run the gamut, and @hm_ kids is fittingly using Instagram to drive awareness to their boo-tiful seasonal line.

Say boo in pretty dresses, scary tees and spooky prints! 👻 Available in store and #hmkids

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@topshop puts its own fashiony stamp on Halloween social media posts by driving followers to their site to check out stylish costume ideas (that presumably include their clothing).


@dunkindonuts has really embraced Halloween this year, with the brunt of its latest content specifically dedicated to the holiday. Everyone's favorite doughnut chain —America runs on it, remember?— is taking brand storytelling up a notch by using Instagram to get in the spirit, advertising themed doughnuts and a bona fide costume contest. A super creative, innovative way to generate hype, seize seasonal momentum, build on fan love, and drive major engagement.

@foodandwine gives spooky a classy twist with a cocktail fit for a grownup hallow's eve soirée, helping to redirect traffic to their site by offering an irresistible recipe.


@marthstewart has a whole line of Halloween decor (duh!) and is helping to promote it with Instagram and repurposed fan content. The editorial team is also driving traffic to the website with other themed posts. That's like a quadruple whammy right there.

@westelm is getting into the spirit by harnessing its authority as a lifestyle destination. The social team is driving traffic to their company blog with creepy (yet tasty-looking) recipes like this black cat cake, bringing value to their audience and increasing web clicks. Ba-bam.

@thenest is chiming in for a very apropos sub-holiday (count us in for National Pumpkin Day!) and joining the fright night anticipation conversation while doing so with a spooky black gourd iteration.

Happy #NationalPumpkinDay // 📸@themerrythought

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@opi_ products is all about building on timely momentum, and Halloween is no exception for the iconic nail brand. This time, they're displaying fan nail art by redirecting followers to the blog. Smart conversion strategy!

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@boohoo is broadcasting the fact that it has a whole cosmetics line by showcasing a killer Halloween makeup creation on an Instagram power influencer. That should do the trick (and perhaps a little treat) to drive awareness to it!

Instagram makeup looks reach a creative apex around Halloween, and @limecrimemakeup is a leading participant. The brand does a stellar job at showcasing the capability of its products with influencer-generated, inventively prolific looks for the haunting holiday.


Mashable has done a combo of seasonally-appropriate fun factoid videos and humor-filled posts (make sure you catch that caption) to relevantly contribute to their narrative. Lolz.

When you're trying to be fit but also seasonal 📸@8fit #8fit

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@buzzfeedobsessed is really going for it with the Halloween content. The vertical's latest Instagram account is providing followers with fun facts that involve celebrities to generate buzz (pun intended) for it.

It's time to FINALLY get your costume together, who are you going to be?

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@nymag is ever so subtly broaching the Halloween theme and putting a activist twist on it. It shows they're at the table, but they're not going to cross over into novelty territory because that would be out of character.

It's important to remember that social media is both a branding exercise and a communication channel with your community. Engaging in timely events and holidays is an opportunity for your brand to drive the conversation while simultaneously serving your marketing goals.

Ain't nothing hocus-pocus about that. 🎃👻

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