August 27, 2016

10 Ways for a Small Business to Celebrate #ThrowbackThursday


throwback thursday (1)

Most trends on the Internet last a couple hours. A few days or weeks, maybe, at best.

There might be something to this #ThrowbackThursday thing, though.

In case you’ve been off-the-grid and/or planet since you last updated the profile song on your MySpace page, #ThrowbackThursday is a social media phenomenon. On Thursdays, obviously, it’s proper to post photos, videos, sentiments, and the like of a wayback nature.

Slap on the #ThrowbackThursday hashtag and you’re set. You’re part of one of the biggest things on the web. And since Twitter isn’t the only one using hashtags to sort popular content these days, the reach of this trend is even bigger.

This whole thing, according to at least one account, reportedly started on a sneaker blog a decade ago. In and of itself, #ThrowbackThursday is almost a throwback itself already. Blogger Matt Halfhill posted a pic on his site of an old sneaker from his collection and called the feature … you guessed it, Throwback Thursday.

So, here we are, a decade later and this is still a thing. And a pretty popular thing, too. It makes sense. People are suckers for nostalgia. With few exceptions, it’s fun to celebrate the past.

And your small business can definitely get in on the trend.

Try out these ways a small business can celebrate #ThrowbackThursday and, of course, be sure to post photos of your company celebrating on social media:

1. Drop a Price

Depending on the product or service your small business offers, a throwback pricing promotion could have people lined up for blocks outside your doors.

Of course, there’s no reason to take a bath on the promotion. Pick a popular product your business can afford to discount drastically — even for a very limited time — and price it like it’s 1985.

2. Don Vintage Threads

Celebrate a throwback time for your business and encourage your team or employees to dress in that era’s garb.

If your business only started in the 1990s or early 2000s, remember, a lot of people now consider those times to be throwbacks … sadly.

3. Post Old Ads

This sort of participation in the #ThrowbackThursday trend doesn’t take too much time or effort and makes for great social sharing material. Root around for some old newspaper ads for your company. Seeing prices of products as they once were gets people thinking and talking and sharing. “Ah, do you remember when bananas were a quarter a pound?”

Just be careful to label any and all vintage ads you post as such so customers don’t get any wrong impressions.

4. Use a Retro Logo

What business hasn’t changed its logo once or twice (or more) over time. Find old logos and plaster them everywhere you can: signage, social media, in ads, on store displays … anywhere you can.

5. Share Old Photos

Dig out some old photos of your business “back in the day” and share them to your social media accounts.

If there’s a picture of you standing next to a company car and that company car is an AstroVan, let’s see it.

There may be one of you wearing something we may now think is ridiculous (think, mustache or big hair) but it’s a great way to show your business’s fun side.

Got any screen shots of your company’s early websites? People love seeing the Internet in its infancy.

6. Get the Playlist Right

If you’re permitted to play any sort of music in your establishment, create a playlist or two using a streaming service that allows you to do so or just set the satellite radio on a station that’s appropriate to the era you’re celebrating.

7. Run a Contest

Encourage customers to participate in your #ThrowbackThursday promotion, too. Have gifts or rewards at the ready for customers who post a best social media comment or who show up at your store with the best vintage outfit. Offer discounts to customers who own or show up in a vintage vehicle.

8. Use First ID Photos

This one really isn’t for public consumption but it’s a great way for companies that don’t really interact with customers too often in a retail setting.

Make ID cards with employees’ first photos you took of them, maybe for the company newsletter or for their ID badge. Others will get a kick out of seeing people as they once were when joining the company (and perhaps what might happen to them over time).

9. Get Some Work Done on a Typewriter

This is one even the solopreneurs can do and have a little fun. If you’ve got a Thank-you email or some other type of light-hearted communication to make with a customer, try and send it on a typewriter. Heck, even sending it via snail mail is a bit of throwback anymore.

You can find vintage typewriters in working condition for about $20. When writing this letter in a throwback manner, be sure to indicate to its recipient why you’re sending in such an old-fashioned way.

10. Honor Former Employees and Partners

If you’re celebrating #ThrowbackThursday, you’ve obviously shown a little bit of staying power. Thursdays are a great day to honor the people who helped get you there but no longer with you.

Post on the company blog, share a little update on social media about how the people who were there in the beginning are doing now.

* * * * *

Big big brands have made fortunes honoring their pasts.

Sports teams make millions selling throwback jerseys and hosting turn-back-the-clock nights and have been doing it for decades. Pepsi now creates soft drinks with real sugar — again — on the heels of a successful Throwback campaign that featured retro packaging and a retro recipe.

While your business may not escalate to those standards by posting a few pics of days gone by on Facebook on Thursdays, it’s a great way to show the public your brand’s maturity and fun, “with it” side.

Vintage Television Photo via Shutterstock

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Joshua Sophy - Assistant Editor


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Assistant Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 17 years of experience in traditional and online media, Joshua got his start in the newspaper business in Pennsylvania. His experience includes being a beat reporter covering daily news. He eventually founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown. Joshua supervises the day-to-day operations of Small Business Trends' busy editorial department including the editorial calendar and outgoing assignments.

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3 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    Really great ideas you have here. I think that if your business has been up for quite some time, it is also a great time to celebrate some past milestones and share it with current employees.

  2. There are quite a few companies pulling in bits of their old commercials for TV advertising lately. It definitely hits the emotional hot buttons of long time customers. It would be interesting to see how this type of advertising plays with the Millennial generation.

    • Joshua Sophy

      Great points, Terri. I think the nostalgia loves seems to know no generational boundaries; it’s just a matter of finding out which generation is in love with which era of the past. I’m a little more removed from my 20s now than I care to think about (sigh) but it seems the 90s are playing big with the millennial set. Sadly, one day very soon, stuff from the early 2000s will be considered nostalgic, too … if it already isn’t.

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