Is Your Social Media Marketing Strategy Built for Summer?

Summer is soon to be upon us again, and many brands are already reaping the benefits of their great social media marketing strategies—or suffering the woes of poor planning. Even though summer can be one of the hottest shopping periods of the year for some brands, it still presents unique challenges that brands need to be ready for if they want to make the most of their seasonal collections. 

From timeliness to creative choices, promotions, and order value variance, deftly taking advantage of summer on social requires a lot of thought and planning. In this blog, we’ll assess some of the challenges and opportunities so you can determine if you’ve got the right approach in place from now until the leaves turn. 

Understanding Seasonality in Online Shopping

Summer might only last a few months, but as an eCommerce concept it stretches a little longer. Consumers often start preparing for summer in late spring months of April and May. As we’ve discussed in other blogs about seasonal sales events, the social platform known for its plan-in-advance audience is Pinterest. If you’re looking to make an impact early by reaching those trendsetting audiences, it may be wise to explore if advertising on Pinterest is a good fit—we love it for its highly-visual style and affordable ad flights.

The peak summer shopping months are June and July, with dominant themes including: travel/vacation, beach/pool products like swimwear, and outdoor-related activities. Many brands also run sales during this period to help drive volume on more “evergreen” items. TikTok is where the largest population of last-minute shoppers can be found. Though, as always, Meta Ads (Instagram and Facebook) are the dominant social advertising platforms, and will be vital to your summer social strategy throughout.

For brands whose products target families and youth, the shopping mindset should switch to back-to-school prep by mid-to-late July. But whether you’re advertising to those audiences for school clothes and items or generally positioning for fall collections and activities, you should again be paying attention to those plan-in-advance audiences well before the start of Q3.

Summer Creative Ideas: Seasonal images, relatable, and pattern-heavy

You always want your ads to evoke the feeling you want your products to convey—and for summer advertising that means they should be, well, summery. That often means beaches, picnics, barbecues, and travel destinations dominate imagery and videos. Help people picture ways your products will help complement their summertime plans. 

But how should you present those summertime themes? By making them look real and lived. Unproduced, vertically shot video resonates even more in the summer when many users will be out and about, posting content on their own social feeds. User-generated content (UGC) or UGC-like content blends in with users’ summer feeds and feels more authentic than a traditional ad—and on social media, it’s typically best to blend in if you want to stand out.

And as a small observational tip, specifically for apparel companies, ADM finds that patterned products sell particularly well in the spring and summer. Not only are they eye-catching in ad creative, they pair well with humorous or entertaining ad copy. 

Summer is the Season of Small Orders 

For many brands, summer is the most important sales season of the year (outside of the holiday rush). But there’s a drawback to that: Summer buyers often pick and choose from your selection rather than stocking up all at once. This is especially true for apparel brands.

In order to address lower average order value (AOV), we encourage brands to run collection ads (pictured right) with messaging to “shop the outfit”. Collection ads can feature a lifestyle image with the products highlighted below or a video highlighting an outfit (UGC unboxing or try-on hauls work great for this) with the products you mention highlighted below. 

Combining multiple matching or alike items into collection ads encourages users to investigate a wider range of your offerings and stock up on multiple products at one time, driving up AOV. 

Promotions can be a great way to drive up AOV for any type of brand. One method is to deploy and message around a free shipping threshold. This is a good way to encourage larger carts when AOV may naturally drop in the summer season. Another idea is to offer seasonally-appropriate free gifts with every purchase.

No matter what promotion you’re pushing, advertising a deadline can be a great way to garner even more sales from it—even if the offer is technically evergreen. Verbiage like “don’t wait” or “before summer ends” creates urgency for users to act on the whims you inspire through your effective summer creative.

When Should You Prep and Launch Your Summer Social Campaigns?

Because the summer selling period is so dynamic, brands should begin preparing early. That means if you need new creative, it’s best to begin shooting it in early spring to ensure you’re displaying sunny scenes, but still getting your ads out there in time for the bulk of summer. 

Brands that are targeting the aforementioned early planning audiences should start advertising their summer goods on Pinterest first. This could begin as early as February, but should pick up in March/April.

For summer-focused campaigns on other platforms, we encourage May launches. Brands should plan to have their ads live with summer creative by Memorial Day at the latest.

If your brand is going to be dropping new products over the summer, we recommend creating hype and excitement in the final spring month leading up to the drop. This can be done through coordinated efforts that combine organic and paid social. It’s important to make the connection early and then have a way to remind interested users when the product becomes available. 

Video view campaigns with hype videos for the new drop will allow you to create a retargeting audience of everyone who watched the hype video in full. Email campaigns can also give excited audiences an action to take to be the first to know when the drop is live or even to get them early access. 

If your brand is looking around this summer and wondering when sales are going to pick up, it probably means you or your marketing partners didn’t have the right plan in place. It happens—but you should try to rectify or avoid it entirely. If you’re looking for an expert paid social media marketing agency that knows how to reach the right audience no matter the season, consider reaching out to the team at ADM for a digital marketing audit or consultation.