Grab your cones, National Ice Cream Day is almost here! In honor of this glorious holiday, shops across the United States are offering promotions on the sweet stuff this Sunday, July 15th. Even if you’re not serving ice cream, you can get in on the excitement.

National Ice Cream Day is a massive social media event, appealing to people from about every demographic possible. If you’re curious to see how excited people get, search for #NationalIceCreamDay on any social media site. As of this writing, there are over 200,000 tagged photos on Instagram.

Unique food holidays like this give retailers the ability to join in topical conversations and create promotions all their own. The only goals need to be to making people smile and encouraging them to share the joy of food with friends. And if you’re running a nice promo, you might even get some people in the door.

We suggest focusing holidays with universal appeal or that fit your business in some special way. For an example of the latter, imagine you own a bowling alley. March 6th is marked by fans of The Big Lebowski as “Day of the Dude” because that’s the anniversary of the film’s premier. It’s not nearly as big as National Ice Cream Day, but if you offer 2-for-1 White Russians to customers, they will come in to knock some pins down. Or at least throw some beverages back.


Scream for ice cream

Frivolous foodie posts provide a much-needed break from political rants and apocalyptic news feeds. Ice cream is a particularly good subject because everyone loves it. Another great thing about ice cream is that it’s remarkably photogenic. Use ice cream themed photos to tell a story about your business. Is it family friendly? Feature some cute kids. Is your kitchen full of characters? Customers might enjoy seeing behind the scenes prep.

Ice cream is also nostalgic. Who doesn’t remember getting a cone at a fair or chasing down an ice cream truck with friends? Social media expert Lauren Friedman, writing for Forbes, says, “Aligning marketing strategies with emotion has already proven to be successful, but tapping into fond memories can be an invaluable tactic, especially for engaging millennials.”

Nostalgia is powerful. There’s a lot of science that explains the power of emotion and nostalgia. All you really need to know is reliving positive memories puts smiles on faces. And smiling boosts sales.

Keep your ice cream social

After ice cream parlors, social media is the best place for celebrating National Ice Cream Day. Make sure you like and comment on other people’s posts. If you’re not sure what to say, keep it simple. Posts can be as simple as, “What’s your favorite flavor?” or  “What 90s sitcom goes best with Cookie Dough Ice Cream?”

For inspiration, check out San Francisco ice cream maker Humphry Slocombe. In the early days of Twitter, their irreverent posts and unusual flavors launched their brand into national notoriety. Their tone is cheeky and bold, like their flavors.

Consider your brand’s tone. Humphry Slocombe has a reputation for bizarreness, so their messaging can be delightfully odd. However, even if your establishment is straightlaced, weird holidays can be just the excuse to go a little wild. You might find it suits you.

Our friends at Mooyah do well with their social media marketing, too. Especially for food holidays. Last year their National Ice Cream Day post did a nice job of referencing their usual offers and educating customers about milkshake customization.

Coolhaus is a Los Angeles based ice cream company. The two women who founded it are quite design savvy. They reinforce their brand powerfully with bold imagery and use carefully framed shots with bright colors. Their Instagram page practically jumps off the screen.

Don’t sweat it if you don’t have a huge photography budget. Pics taken from any decent smartphone camera can do the job. Encourage people to tag your business when they post pictures from it. If anyone takes a good pic, reach out to them and ask if it’s ok to post it in your feed. Most people are happy to have their photos featured.

Don’t forget to have fun

National Ice Cream Day is a blast. If you’re having a fun time, your customers will pick up on it. This goes for any holiday. Capture the buzz from a few special events and you’ll give customers more reasons to keep coming back.

Doing special events well can be a powerful differentiator. They create positive reactions which make people have fond memories. So don’t be afraid to go big on little holidays. Just make sure you get some pics and reach out to people who are as excited as you are.