The holidays are getting closer, and with Halloween right around the corner, retail giant Target has launched a new virtual experience for its Instagram followers. Dubbed Halloween Hills, users are introduced to a cartoon world filled with do-it-yourself projects and fun Halloween-themed recipes.

By tapping into its followers’ DIY nature and love of all things Halloween, Target is looking to gain greater brand awareness and serve their loyal customers in a fun and interactive way. Users view different photos from the fictional cartoon land and can “trick-or-treat” at each photo. A trick will take you to a DIY craft project, while a treat will feature a recipe for a Halloween snack or beverage.

For example, if you click on one of the scenes’ “trick” option, you could be taken to a DIY spider craft, whereas clicking on the “treat” option might teach you how to make a cake that looks like candy corn.

What makes this interactive is the ability to tag others in the photos. If you know someone who would like to learn how to make a chocolate spider or fruit punch that looks like brains, users are encouraged to tag them in the photo to spread the word about their Instagram experience.

In the challenging world of retail, even major corporations need to go above and beyond their competition to reach new customers and encourage loyal brand enthusiasts out of them. However, even small businesses and leverage social media to create an interactive experience and reach new potential customers online. The following are some ideas:

  • Share employees’ recommendations: When it comes to social media content, don’t be afraid to get personal. Provide your followers with recommendations from your employees, and let the people who work for you serve as your brand ambassadors online. They can share information and news from your business with their own social networks.
  • Offer special deals: Providing exclusive offers through social media gives people a reason to follow your brand. If they know they’ll regularly receive great discounts on your products or services, they will be much more likely to engage with you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms.
  • Practice good customer service: Customers often share their experiences, good or bad, through social media. If an experience was good, be sure to thank the customer for the kind words. If it wasn’t good, respond in a timely manner and see if you can fix the problem right away.

As we approach the busy holiday season, consider ramping up your social media marketing efforts to engage existing and potential customers in entirely new ways.