Enjoying the most carefree months of the year does take a bit of planning, especially for brand managers eager to boost social media engagement year-round. For sizzling results, check out this summer’s top social media marketing trends.

1. Keep it lighthearted.

Summer is an ideal time to experiment, shrug off the doldrums, and bring a sense of fun and adventure to digital communication. As industry newsletter Marketing Dive put it, people want a break from the bummers of real life! Throw some excitement into product launches, like Doritos did with the #BurnSelfie campaign. The chip company dared customers to snap a photo of their reactions to the spicy new Doritos Roulette flavor and share the laughs on social media networks. The campaign sparked curiosity and ultimately conversions, simply by creating a feel-good, fun interaction for Doritos customers. How's that for a user-generated content (UGC) campaign!

2. Think seasonal content.

The best marketing professionals think of the consumer’s interests. Meet your fans where they are, and they will gladly return the favor. Coach New York nailed this approach with the #CoachFromAbove hashtag campaign. For the luxury fashion house, summer is a time for stylish sandals, so the company simply invited customers to post pictures of their favorite shoes to Instagram and Twitter. Receiving nearly 100 submissions of user-generated content per week, Coach celebrated with a gallery of product images – a huge benefit to sales, as customers increasingly rely on UGC in making purchasing decisions.

3. Create mobile-friendly, mobile-driven campaigns.

Although web browsing and TV time dips in summer, mobile phones travel with us— and that means your brand can maintain its connection to consumers best through social media marketing. In fact, comScore reports that 78% of social media usage occurs on smartphones! To maximize impact, ensure posts are short, with attractive, appropriately-sized images. Even better, ask your followers to share their own on-the-go content, like Booking.com did with the #WingItYeah advertising campaign. As fans submitted their best summer activity photos, the brand built further engagement by reposting some as humorous GIFs. Clever!

4. Say it better with emojis and GIFs.

Staying relevant means keeping up with the modern-day vernacular. Time Magazine reports that, for millennials, pictures really are worth a thousand words. A recent study by Harris Poll revealed 80% of consumers ages 18–34 believe emojis and GIFs communicate thoughts and feelings better than words alone. Regardless of age, most respondents agreed that the images make people laugh, lighten the mood, and make conversations more fun. If an emoji works for your brand, go for it!

5. Plug in to summer events.

An easy way to capture more digital traffic is by integrating search terms that will be popular this summer. Consumers are already interested in major sporting events, local festivals, and national holidays, so take advantage of the opportunity to connect your brand to those activities. Kick it up a few notches by getting creative, like Newcastle Brown Ale. The “no bollocks” British beer company made up a new U.S. holiday, Independence Eve, in a tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign. The If We Won promotion invited Americans to grab a bottle and “toast to the country that nearly ran yours.” As Senior Director of Marketing Charles van Es told AdWeek, “Newcastle is a very British beer, and needless to say, it doesn’t sell that well on July 4. So why not establish it as the beer you drink on July 3?” The campaign succeeded because it was timely, relevant, and unique enough to stand out from the noise.

6. Take a fresh look at social causes.

One of the world’s biggest social media movements occurred during the summer months. Although faced with a serious topic, the ALS Association was able to raise awareness about Lou Gehrig’s disease in a surprisingly fun, organic way. Videos began surfacing on social media networks, with supporters speaking out about ALS, dousing a bucket of ice water over their heads and nominating friends to do the same within 24 hours. The challenge went viral, and people followed through. In one year alone, ALSA received more than $100 million in donations and a steady stream of user-generated content.

Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to have fun, play games, run contests—embrace the season! Social media marketing should get people talking about your hot brand or cool products year-round, but, remember, it’s important to let them know you’re listening. too.

For more ideas on how to promote shared enthusiasm around an idea, product, or community, check out our solutions gallery. Then, kick off your own success story with a free 30-day trial of TwineSocial. Let us know how we can help!