As a startup, it is very difficult to compete with big, established brands during the holidays. But as a startup in Hong Kong you are actually very lucky, because you can make the most of both traditional Chinese festivals such as mid-autumn and lunar New Year, and international commercial holidays such as Halloween, Cyber Monday, Christmas and Valentine’s Day, to name just a few. From a PR perspective these holiday seasons provide the ideal occasion to target a new set of customers and expand your market, so we wanted to share some top-level strategies and communications best practices for the festive season.
Keep up with the Clauses
Don’t just promote your own company and goods on social media, but be timely and relevant by connecting your business to trending topics and themes.
Ask yourself, how does your business solve holiday challenges? Does your ecommerce startup easily help people identify hot items for Halloween? Does your directory app help people find cool venues for Valentine’s Day? Does your bakery sell Christmas treats? If so, then share these solutions on social media, explaining common holiday hurdles and ways of overcoming them.
Share relevant news stories, with a comment on how your business ties to that article. For example “Giant mooncake breaks world record” could be followed up with your own blog post about “our favorite Mid-Autumn stunts from around the world.”
Some say content is king. We say user engagement is supreme. Be creative and engage users with fun hashtags and consumer campaigns. Don’t worry if some of it is not entirely related to your business, make it funny or emotional and build your brand as human-centrically as possible.
Ask yourself the question: what’s funny about the holidays? You’ll probably come up with ideas such as awkward family gatherings, stomach bursting meals, silly costumes, annoying songs and lame gifts. Leverage these themes, as humor goes a long way.
#Pumpkinated: You could ask your Facebook/Instagram followers to share photos of their ‘most embarrassing Halloween costumes’ with a catchy hashtag and award the best photo each week with a discount or prize.
#FightingFit: If your startup is health related, tweet some tips for losing the extra holiday weight and ask users to contribute their own advice, using the hashtag.
#KaraokeCarolFail: Leverage Vine, and ask social media followers to post clips of themselves singing Christmas carols. Edit a compilation of the best 10 to share on Christmas day, with contributions from your team as well.
#KungHeiFatChoi: For a more emotional response, share a video of your Hong Kong team reuniting with friends and family during a Chinese New Year gathering.
Think you know your industry well? Prove it. The media loves showcasing stats and unique insights, so go get famous by showing off your smarts.
- Be visual! Prepare an infographic about user / shopping trends related to your business around the holiday season, such as: “most popular product sold on Halloween” or “most used app feature during Chinese New Year.” Journalists and bloggers enjoy sharing interesting infographics.
- What is your startup’s view on industry trends during the holidays? Pitch these thoughts to the media well in advance in order to secure space in their editorial calendars and push for interviews with your startup’s founder/CEO to give your brand a human face.
- In these media interviews and pitches, share anecdotes about the holidays, including challenges and difficulties. Journalists enjoy a story which shows how you overcame obstacles in your path.
The holidays are great time to kick start a proactive PR strategy, so remember to be social, engage with your audience and show off your startup’s expertise. Oh, and don’t forget to wish your customers and followers happy holidays!
Thomas Glucksmann-Smith works at The Hoffman Agency, where he helps brands from the tech and online space engage with audiences across multiple digital channels. The Hoffman Agency is an independent PR agency that helps companies in markets of technical complexity communicate compelling messages across the world. Since coming to Hong Kong in 2000, The Hoffman Agency’s Hong Kong office has been working closely with global tech companies, local startups and major Asian brands across a variety of sectors.