People are naturally more active on social around special events – for example, Facebook activity rises by 26% around Christmas, while discussion of Valentine’s Day on Facebook almost doubled in 2016 over the previous year.
With so many conversations already happening, you have a captive audience, a chance to reach them where they’re already engaging. The businesses that can tap into this, in a clever, relevant way, can see huge benefits.
This is why it’s worth factoring major holidays and events into your digital marketing strategy, marking them on your content calendar and working to come up with a relevant angle for your business to take. A good one coming up soon is April Fools’ Day – here are some examples of great April Fools’ campaigns to get you thinking about how you might be able to capitalise on the event.
1. Cat readers
The internet loves cats. Last year, online discount site Groupon sought to tap into the web’s feline obsession by launching a campaign in which users could pay to have people read to their cat – including a ‘mystery ’80s sitcom star’ (for $5,000 per hour).
The campaign worked because, as noted, everyone loves cats, but it also brought attention to what Groupon does and how it works – it wasn’t just a random tie-in.
This is a key element, and a step many brands miss – while you might get a lot of attention with a funny campaign or a motivational quote, if it’s not tied into your business purpose, it’s not moving you closer to your end goal.
Consider the message you want to convey for your business, and how you can weave that into your April Fools’ strategy.
Back in 2015, Qantas ran an April Fools’ campaign in which they announced that they were adding a ‘U’ into Qantas – making it ‘Quantas’ – in response to the many years of spelling errors and misinterpretations that people have made.
It makes sense – when you pronounce Qantas, it sounds like it should have a ‘u’ in it, and when you consider tourists who are less familiar with the name, and with the English language more generally, you can see how this mistake gets made a lot.
The campaign’s a great example because it acknowledges a common error, taking a light-hearted perspective of a common critique, while also serving an educational and awareness purpose – there’s no ‘u’ in Qantas.
Is there a common misinterpretation or nickname people have for your business? That could be an interesting angle to take.
3. Introducing “Unovation”
A more common April Fools’ hoax strategy, which has been employed by many brands over the years, is what’s become known as ‘unovation’.
How many times have you heard people talk about how things were better ‘back in the day’, how things were easier or less complex without all the modern devices and technology? But then again, when you actually look at how things would be if you were to remove modern advances, they’re maybe not so great.
An example - back in 2012, comedian and late-night host Conan O’Brien offered an alternative to Twitter – manual tweets. How do manual tweets work? You write your short message down on a piece of paper then screw that paper up and throw it away.
It’s light-hearted and silly, but with the right angle, this can be a great way to get attention for your April Fools’ campaign.
Is there an area of your business that has been significantly transformed by technology? What would it actually look like if those advances were taken away, if you decided to stop using them and go back to how things were? It can be a simple way to come up with an entertaining angle.
There are many ways you can use April Fools’ in your outreach strategy, but the key, as noted, is to ensure you adhere to your core business messaging – that you’re not only sharing a joke, but ideally, you’re also working to highlight a key element of your business and raise awareness of what you do.
A well designed April Fools’ campaign can help build better connections with your audience, and raise awareness through sharing. It’s worth giving it some thought and seeing what you can come up with.