The 10 Commandments of #TBT (#ThrowbackThursday)

By Sam Sudakoff How does a brand connect with customers in a friendly way rather than come off as a huge, faceless company? Social media creates key opportunities for the humanization of your brand, like in the way you tag photos, share office culture moments online, and how you encourage your communities to engage in conversation. There’s no robot or auto-reply on the other end. There’s also another tactic you should utilize – themed hashtags. Specifically, #tbt or #throwbackthursday.

Throwback Thursday, the process of uploading a nostalgic photo from the past specifically on a Thursday, is one of the most popular Instagram trends. In the last 30 days alone, #tbt was used over 2.3 million times (Brand Bonus: That is a lot of user generated content). So, how can brands get in on the action?

Here are the 10 Commandments of #TBT.

1. Invoke Jealousy. This sounds like a harsh one to start with, but when a brand shares some amazing product that I always wanted as a kid, that makes me laugh and deepens my connection.

2. Share the worst possible photo of the entire photo shoot. #TBT is not for the classy, perfect, photoshopped images that ended up in Vogue. It’s for the hilarious, embarrassing, blooper reel. That’s where the human element comes in.

3. Self-deprecation is gold. Brands have to be careful about what they say and how they make fun of themselves. However, when you’re talking to an audience on Instagram, you have the opportunity to play and tease a little more.

4. #Use #As #Many #Hashtags #As #You #Want. I don't advise this for other networks, but I do for Instagram. For example, a picture from the '90s allows for tags like #TBT #Baggypants #Bighair #ClownTie.

5. Share across all networks…except LinkedIn. In social media we often hear the ultimate question – is re-purposing content across every network my brand is on a good thing? Or does it look like I ran out of good ideas? For #TBT, it’s such a fun and playful message that you can share away. Click, click, click.

6. Side by side comparisons are fantastic. Not only are they great visually, but you will have the opportunity to show how much you have grown and what you have accomplished as a brand without being overtly bragging (the ultimate social media faux paux).

7. Tag everyone mercilessly. If you’re sharing a photo of your COO, tag away (with permission, of course). Especially if it’s a funny photo. Especially if they’ll get in on the banter and respond. Tagging alerts people to activation, which sparks conversation.

8. When in doubt – costumes. Always costumes. If you’re looking to dip your toe in the #tbt space, there is nothing like a little Halloween throwback.

9. Drastic changes are the good kind of drama. Remember your logo from thirty years ago that had nothing to do with who you were as a brand and no one would even recognize it now? That’s a part of your brand history – share away.

10. Stick to #TBT. #FlashbackFriday is just for people who forgot about #tbt that week.

What would you add to this list? Share in the comments below!

sam