Valentine’s Day is upon us, and the holiday is second only to Christmas in terms of consumer spending.  Last year, consumers spent an average of $126.03 per person on flowers, chocolates and more, which is an increase from $116.21 in 2011, according to the National Retail Federation. Furthermore, the average annual spending on Valentine’s Day totals $13.19 billion. Your small business can benefit from this if you can position your products and services to cater to the needs of your “in love” customers.  Also, posting about topics, holidays and current events that your social media users already have in mind can help you take advantage of commonly searched trends and cause your media to go viral. Here are eight steps to implement your Valentine’s day content campaigns:

Google Doodle1. The first step to getting your consumers into the holiday spirit is to show your brand is feeling festive!  Play on the Valentine’s Day color palette of red, pink and white by temporarily incorporating this theme on your website and on your social media profiles. Don’t be afraid to add hearts, cupids, roses or any other love-related visual elements to your Facebook cover photo, Twitter background or Twitter header. This strategy aims to spread goodwill and helps to have your small business stand out. Google does this by creating a Valentine’s-themed doodle annually.  

Also, think of other ways to incorporate the color red in your business.  If you are an e-commerce site, you can discount all red items until February 14th.

Burberry Heart2. Write status updates by merging your brand and the Valentine’s theme.  Use your company, product or service while refraining from being too promotional. These kinds of posts go viral because they’re seen for entertainment value as opposed to your businesses’ profitable gain. Burberry did this last year by using its silk fabric to form a heart shape on its website and wishing visitors a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Besides getting creative with using the typical social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram  and Google+, you can also utilize the newest network, Vine. Create six-second videos as your Valentine’s status updates. Make sure to incorporate the hashtag #ValenVine

3. Have fun with the word “Love.”  This doesn’t have to be about romantic love, necessarily.  You can include love for friends, family, parents, kids or nature to appeal to a broader audience, or make your products relevant to the holiday. For example, you can plan a “We love you” sale.  Starbucks celebrates love through the company’s tagline “everylove,” which is a term they created for people who inspire one another.

4. It’s also important for businesses to target social media content accordingly. Plan different packages for “him” and “her.” If selling a female-targeted product like cosmetics, target males (males spend twice as much as females during Valentine’s Day). Appeal to men by giving them incentives to buy for their partners. But don’t forget to target those not in relationships. No one wants to be alone on Valentine’s Day.  Often, groups of friends get together to celebrate this occasion, so offer discounts to groups of friends, as well.  

5. Don’t just stick to the same bland offerings of candy, hearts and Teddy Bears when it comes to offers.  Bungee jumping for adventure seekers and gaming prizes for tech enthusiasts are out-of-the-box ideas.

6. Don’t forget to engage your audience to share the Valentine’s Day spirit. This is a great opportunity to win some user-generated content. Hold a photo contest by asking users to upload their photos and share them online. After your prospects have uploaded their photos, announce a prize for the winning couple, and promote the event through your website and social hubs. You can also add these images to a specific pinboard on Pinterest or hold a Vine video contest.

7. Be creative: Build the bridge between this holiday and your company. What if your business isn’t in the e-commerce field or doesn’t sell products usually associated with Valentine’s Day? There are still creative options for companies across other sectors. For example, you can run a co-promotion with a brand that has Valentine’s Day offerings. Bank of America does this through giving credit card points with partner businesses that sell V-Day merchandise, as seen below:

BOA Valentines Day

If you’re a financial consulting firm, position your company in such a way that customers don’t forget about you during holidays like Valentine’s Day. If you’re a nonprofit, you too can be remembered during Valentine’s Day as Alex’s Lemonade Stand demonstrates:

 Alexs Lemonade VDay

8. Integrate all of your social channels for a cohesive Valentine’s Day campaign!  Year-over-year, Victoria’s Secret doesn’t disappoint when it comes to making the most of this special holiday. The lingerie brand offers an example of integrated marketing. Historically, the business kept it to its direct marketing campaigns through the company’s ubiquitous catalogs and TV spots. In the digital era, Victoria’s Secret understands the power of social media. The brand uses Instagram to highlight sneak peaks from its Valentine’s Day lingerie collection, and the company promotes in-store events via hashtags on Twitter.

VS InstagramBehind-the-scenes footage of the Angels are filmed and uploaded to YouTube, which are then shared across other networks to maximize reach.

Victoria’s Secret also explores social media networks that often go overlooked by other companies. For example, the brand creates unique playlists and promotes them through Spotify, and creates Valentine’s Day themed pinboards to pull prospects in using visual media.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to making a connection with your new and existing customers on Valentine’s Day. Make sure you plan well in advance and develop a clever strategy to cast a wide promotional net, but don’t dilute the power of the holiday with overly promotional media. The more creative you get in your Valentine’s Day marketing efforts, the greater your odds making a real impression on your target audience – so much so that a select few might even fall in love with your brand, products and creative team.