It’s Halloween week, and in honor of this spooky holiday, we’re breaking down the social media lessons we learned this year: Trick or Treat style. Watch this edition of Content and Coffee or read the text below. 

First: Should you jump on holidays?

Nyquil got some heat when it posted a Tweet relating Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream Speech with a plug for their sleep-aid. Offensive? Not really. A shady way to plug your brand into a trending topic? Well…yes.

ZZZquil

On the flip side, if you can find a relevant way to incorporate your brand into a trend – you should. Marketo picked a topical theme -The Walking Dead- and created an infographic that offered real value and tips that directly related to their product. Well done, Marketo.

Next – Should you jump on trending hashtags?

DiGiornio clearly didn’t do its homework before making its way into the #whyIstayed conversation around domestic abuse. Later the brand had to apologize – admitting that they hadn’t researched the topic before they tweeted.  

A more positive way to get remembered is to create something (or someone) that your audience to associate with.

This year Starbucks took hold of the Pumpkin Spice Latte phenomenon with its own signature Twitter handle. Creating a mascot makes a brand recognizable- and you don’t have to be a B2C like Starbucks to pull it off.  Look at MailChimp or Moz’s robot – they’re using a traditional advertising concept of building a character to represent the brand – and it works.

Finally – To respond or not to respond? Respond. Always. Do it.

Customer service has always been a huge aspect of brands on social – but now it’s required. In fact – 53 percent of customers expect to hear back from brands within an hour – but across industries, the average response time for a social media question is over 24 hours.american airlines

Just look (or look away) from what happened when American Airlines left its Twitter handle unattended – an explicit photo posted to the account and was left up in the middle of the work day for more than an hour. This should not happen – monitor your activity so you can maintain control over your brand’s reputation.

Want to see more social media victories and flops from this year? Check out the links below and let us know what social media moments were most memorable to you.

Molly Buccini is Brafton's community manager. She joined the team with a background in digital journalism and social media. She's a theatre nerd, pop culture junkie and lover of summertime.