Be Still, My Heart: The Best Valentine’s Day Content of 2016

On Sunday, love was in the air and social media was abuzz with Valentine’s Day posts. And as we discovered between enjoying candy hearts and boxes of chocolate, brands had a little bit of something for everyone this Valentine’s Day—from the hopeless romantic to the heartbroken skeptic.

Here’s a roundup of all the sweetest and sassiest content that won our hearts this time around:

Shred ‘Em to Pieces

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Not everyone is a fan of Valentine’s Day, especially those who are single or were recently broken up with. Hooters took advantage of this and created the #ShredYourEx campaign for Valentine’s Day. Social media users were prompted to visit the restaurant’s microsite, take a brief quiz providing details on how their relationship ended, and then given choices on how to destroy their former lover’s photo that they uploaded—it could be virtually buried, burned or shredded.  Afterwards, users were offered a BOGO wings deal on Feb. 14 and were able to physically shred a photo of their ex at participating Hooters. Talk about eating your heart out.

Something every social media marketer must remember is that consumers want to know, “What’s in it for me?” when they decide to interact with your brand or campaign. Hooters did not disappoint with this simple, yet unique idea and tasty offer.

XOXO, Target

Who doesn’t love Target? You enter the store intending to buy only one or two items, but still manage to leave with nearly 16 things you didn’t need. The retail giant is well aware of its shoppers’ loyalty, and decided to show them some love this Valentine’s Day by tweeting personalized #TargetLoveNotes. Anytime someone mentioned loving Target in a tweet, the retailer would send a personalized reply:

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Though these kind of one-on-one personalized interactions are a labor of love for content creators, it was a smart, cute and low-budget campaign that resonated well with Target’s audience. It appears Target’s community managers had a little fun and went out of the way to reach out to brands like Method, Optic White, and even The Onion.

Get Gif-y With It

What better way to say “I love you” to the basic bae in your life than a customized gif?

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Starbucks nudged fans to its Tumblr to create and send personalized, branded gifs to send to friends for a #StarbucksDate. We’re loving these short, sweet graphics that aren’t overly promotional:

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Love at First Bite

A brand talking about baes and selfies? It sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but Applebee’s nailed it with their Valentine’s Day #BeeMine activation. The restaurant directed fans to send photos with their loved ones for the chance to receive a hand-drawn selfie or a gift card.

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One of Ignite’s own community managers gave it a shot, and it certainly paid off (pun intended):

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Adding a personal touch to your social campaigns, like Applebee’s, Target and Starbucks did, is worth the extra effort to truly set your brand apart on holidays. You can always count on social media being oversaturated with holiday content, so be ahead of the curve and really consider how your activation can resonate strongly with consumers in a timely, relevant way. Making it about them, and not your brand, is key. We’ll finish this blog with an example of what not to do on Valentine’s Day:

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While we are head over heels for this visual, Clinique’s copy just doesn’t cut it for us. Don’t push an advertisement for your products while simultaneously wishing your customers a Happy Valentine’s Day. Keep it authentic—show your fans some love.

Which Valentine’s Day posts have your heart, and which ones broke it? Let us know in the comments below!

Ignite Social Media