Marketing on #ThrowbackThursday

Everyone loves a good throwback. ‘90s music, awkward teenage photos, or perhaps some retro ‘60s style—vintage is a great way to engage fans and followers on social media. Arguably, the most popular use is the ubiquitous theme day #ThrowbackThursday, or #TBT for short. Some leading marketers have been masters of using this popular trend. And it’s one that most any company—whether B2B or B2C—can use. In fact, according to a recent study cited on, nostalgia makes people value money less and spend more.

So, what makes a good #TBT post?

Think old. Like, really old. The best throwbacks stir up feelings of nostalgia, so somewhere between five and 20 years is a great benchmark. You want a reference that people will remember but that’s far enough so that your audience will begin to reminiscence. Or post something that even surprises people how much things really have changed over time.

I think Fox’s hit show Empire recently missed the mark, especially since the show premiered in January. This throwback is too soon. So the #TBT reference to the first season’s plot just doesn’t work.

However, Bounce TV—a relatively new broadcast network with programming targeted to the black community—mastered the #TBT reference with a post that encouraged viewers to vote in a ‘90s sitcom battle. Viewers picked between their favorite characters, Jamie Foxx’s Wanda from In Living Color versus Martin Lawrence’s prolific caricature Sheneneh. And a little cherry on top: Martin Lawrence retweeted it.

But what makes a good throwback for a company post?

Something that’s relatable to your audience and, of course, is organic to your business. It just has to be interesting, which in turn makes it shareable. Then people are excited to talk about not just your brand but their own memories.

Some vivid examples:

We will always be the one setting the pace.

A photo posted by Dodge (@dodgeofficial) on

Can you find Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders and Derrick Thomas in this pic from waaaaaaay back in their college days? #tbt

Posted by NFL on Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wolf Blitzer joined CNN in 1990. Know what his first job with the network was? Crime reporter, teleprompter operator, White House reporter or Pentagon correspondent? Quiz:

Posted by The Situation Room on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

#TBT Modeling days. The erm… early 1990’s “nautical” look??? Apparently. Complete with fake tattoo. Haha! 😉

Posted by Katherine Heigl on Thursday, May 21, 2015

After you’ve mastered #TBT, try other nostalgic hashtags like #WayBackWednesday or #FlashbackFriday.

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