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How to Use Micro-Nostalgia in Your Marketing

“Nostalgia...it’s delicate, but potent.” If you’re a Mad Men fan, you’re likely familiar with this quote from Don Draper’s poignant speech about the power of nostalgia in marketing. Brands using a nostalgic approach have found great success (Volkswagen’s famous “The Force” commercial is just one example), and the tactic is an excellent way to establish brand loyalty with Millennials. A quick scan of BuzzFeed’s articles demonstrates this age demographic’s love of reminiscing with articles like “12 Toys All 90’s Kids Loved” and “The Best Snacks From Your Childhood.”

But infusing your marketing with nostalgia doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be looking back several decades. With social media has come the rise of micro-nostalgia. The faster pace of the social media world has expedited the development of fondness for past events. Facebook and Twitter have both recently tried to capitalize on this, with Facebook’s “look back” videos and Twitter’s recent stunt that allowed users to find the first tweets from any Twitter handle.

So why is micro-nostalgia so successful? Its real strength lies in personalization. In a selfie-filled culture, being able to review recent personal achievements, important moments and even clever musings is valuable. Online personas are carefully cultivated, so seeing the highlights from an already polished version of your life is rewarding in a self-involved way.

Though this idea fits well with social media’s purpose, it can easily be translated to businesses in two steps:

1. Keep track of your customers. What item or service did they purchase the last time they interacted with your business? Were they seeking out your business because of a special event? Track as many details as possible (without being creepy) so that you have good information to draw from.

2. Take the time to personalize your marketing. Did someone rent party supplies from you a year ago on their birthday? Wish them an early happy birthday and offer your services again. Did you create invitations for someone’s wedding? Send them a card with a high-quality photo of their invitations the week after they’re married. The occasions can be big or small, but if you can find a way to connect your business to micro-nostalgia, you’ll create effective marketing.