Everybody remembers the ‘good old days.’

Holidays like Memorial Day certainly usher in the feeling, but no matter how old you are, there’s always time that you refer back to fondly, whether it was the 90s, 80s, 70s—or further back still.

Nostalgia is part of the human condition and it’s also becoming a part of the marketing world. Nostalgia marketing is, simply, marketing that evokes a feeling of nostalgia, or a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place in time, in your customers.

It easily translates to social media, too. Consider the popularity of #ThrowbackThursday (which is now a bit of a throwback, itself) or Facebook’s Timehop, and it’s easy to see how well the two go together. Everything moves at such a break neck speed these days, encouraging your audience to pause and reflect on the past can be incredibly effective

Here are a few tips:

  • Keep it natural. The best use of nostalgia in marketing is not forced. Keep track of current trends and tap into them—there’s no need to push the envelope. Nineties nostalgia has been popular for the past couple of years, and 80s nostalgia before that. It’s not all that hard to think of what will be popular next.
  • Take what’s old and make it new again. Coca-Cola is probably the best at doing this, from their use of 1930s Christmas images to the re-issue of 1950s bottle styles. Also consider Jimmy Fallon, whose skits that brought back the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or Saved by the Bell or even Nintendo. It an age where video games are increasingly realistic and complicated, Nintendo relaunched its classic system to remind everyone what made video games so popular to begin with. Do you have an old product you can bring back like that?
  • Showcase your company’s history. Comb through your photo archives or even old advertisements. You can offer specials or discounts based on upcoming reflections of major historical events, based on what your business—and pricing—was like back then.
  • Be authentic. Your nostalgia marketing has to fit your business niche or else it will seem like “newsjacking, or trying to fit your brand into a rending topic. That doesn’t always work and usually sounds forced. If you run an auto shop, for example, you can get away with posting pictures of classic automobiles and using them to advertise specials or invoke nostalgic feelings. That doesn’t work if you sell quilts.

Above all, write content that will be fun and increase engagement—and make sure that what you post isn’t inadvertently offensive. Times and sensibilities change.

In the fast paced world of impersonal digital media, nostalgia marketing can be a breath of fresh air. It can help you build a connection with your audience, either by helping them relive positive memories or realize how far they’ve grown from painful ones.

Have you used nostalgia marketing? Let us know in the comments!