With the dust of Black Friday and Cyber Monday finally settling down, the data is intriguing. According to the NRF Thanksgiving Weekend Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, overall shopper traffic was down on Black Friday by 5.2%, but online sales were up by 20.6%.
That means that people are becoming more interested in spending their money online, and less interested in going out to their local store to beat the crowds.
And it’s on social media that we see a lot of these customers research and recommend gifts.
In fact, this year saw the most social Black Friday ever. According to the social media analytics firm Spredfast, in the 7 days prior to Black Friday there were over 2 million Twitter conversations around the topic – That’s twice as much as last year!
How much these conversations actually lead to conversions, is still an open ended question. But one thing is for sure: Social media is where your customers are talking about their shopping habits, so that’s where you should be too.
While the biggest shopping days may be over with, there’s still plenty of shopping time left coming up to the end of the year holidays, such as Christmas and New Years.
So here are a few tips on how to get the most of your social media this holiday season.
1. Stand Out of the Crowd with Informative and Entertaining Posts
The holidays can be a stressful time of year for many, so while it’s important to be informative, useful and relevant, being entertaining can really lighten up the atmosphere for customers.
Use social media to create someoof you own fun hashtags for a Christmas deal, a holiday campaign, or you can leverage the festive hashtags that are already trending like #HolidayDeals or #festivefinds.
Indigo Chapters currently have a #askIndigo hashtag campaign going where people who haven’t found gifts for their loved ones are encouraged to Tweet the questions to Indigo for answers!
Or Gap’s #givethemgap campaign that encourages people to purchase with them. People have used the tag to indicate the product that they’d like to get from the retailer.
2. Prepare Your Social Media Sharing Ahead of Time!
The holidays are that unique time of year where work increases, but so does the amount of time we take off. It can be a struggle to keep up with the increased work, while also maintaining your content strategy.
That’s why having a content calendar around this time of the year is of utmost importance. Figure out what you want to share, when you want to share it, what’s trending and when and where the content will be distributed ahead of time. Tweaking your content sharing, distribution and schedules is much quicker and easier to do, so when things start to get hectic, it’s one less thing to worry about.
3. It’s Time to Get Ultra-Human
I feel like there’s a few things that I’m always writing about, and being “human” is one of them. Funny, since most* marketers already are human.
*All marketers are human. Unless they’re cats. In which case they’re meow-keters.
But there’s something about digital marketing that turns us into robots, throwing out the same tweets, posts and content time and time again. Sometimes it’s a lack of creativity, at other times it’s because it’s a tried and trusted method. Sometimes it’s because you think there’s nothing really to talk about (which, by the way, is never true!).
The holidays gives businesses a great opportunity to connect with their customers, because all their customers will be effected by them holidays in some way. Share stories, photos, funny anecdotes, ask questions, see if you can help by answering them, or even just wishing people a happy holiday is a great way to humanize your brand during the season!
4. Now’s the Time to Surprise & Delight your Customers
Surprise & Delight is one of the best ways to generate word of mouth advertising for your business, and the holidays are the perfect excuse to finally give back!
- Be generous by giving away free products, such as gift cards, coupons, discounts, shipping etc. Even just popping a candy cane in a parcel will put a smile on your customers face when they open it up, creating a link between your business and positive feelings.
- Encourage customer loyalty by promoting discounts ahead of time and special discounts for returns customers etc.
- Show your customers you really care by paying attention to the details. For example, free wrapping, free baby-sitting services, kids’ Christmas reading corners etc. are all great ways to make the holidays a lot more relaxing and even encouraging employees to find the product in another store, if you don’t have it.
5. Slow and Steady Wins the Race During the Holiday Season
It’s super easy to get really excited about the season and spend all your energy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, only to be exhausted by December. While these two super shopping days are fantastic for business, there is still a ton of time between then and the end of the holidays where people spend a large amount of their hard earned cash.
To keep your customers engaged, research popular queries such as “gift ideas”, “gifts for him/her” etc. Find communities where people are asking questions regarding products that you sell, and then send them links to what they’re looking for. These direct conversations are not only super helpful to your customers, but they’ve a high success rate.
6. E-mail Marketing is Still Super Effective Too!
Sure, it’s important to utilize social media this holiday season, but don’t forget email marketing too! The NRF’s Thanksgiving Weekend Spending Survey showed that 35% of people surveyed said that they utilized a retailers’ emails to keep track of deals!
So if you’re still under the delusion that email marketing is dead, you might want to change your tune on that old song.
Moreover, you can add your social media buttons to emails and encourage people to follow you for holiday deals!
7. Engage Women on Pinterest
Pinterest-ers are majority female, and referrals from Pinterest spend 70% more than any other platform. Crazy, I know. But if you’re lucky enough to have a product that appeals to a female audience, you have to get on to Pinterest.
Create a mix of boards, from product-focuses ones, to DIY and crafts for Christmas, create a mix of your own product and content that your customers will really feel interesting and useful!
Oh, and don’t forget to link back to your website. Pins can quickly become very pretty empty images when they don’t have captions (and relevant links) so that potential leads can find out where to purchase the products.
8. Engage Millennials on Instagram
Instagram is one of the top social media platforms that are used by millennials on a daily basis. Millennials, who are people born around 1980 – 2000, are fast becoming one of the most powerful spenders, and are going to have more buying power than any other generation by 2017.
If your audience is in at least part millennial, and you have a physical product that translates well to photo, then Instagram is where you can really tap into this group of shoppers during the holiday season! Hashtags on Instagram are super effective because people often search for them, so you can be easily found if you tag your products with seasonal terms such as #festive, #christmas or #holidays.
Another great idea is to run holiday competitions. For example, this year to be entered into the Sweepstakes, people have to complete the #cheerchallenge that encourages Instagrammers and Twitterers to complete the #cheerchallenge, and upload photographic evidence of it to Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win a sweepstakes prize!
9. Exclusive Online Deals
Because people like to physically have the product relatively quickly, potential customers often research online, and then go out to the shopping mall to make their purchase. To ensure that these potential customers buy the product with you and not someone else, create a distinctive incentive to purchase with you.
The king of Christmas, Indigo, have got this down to an art form with their 12 Days Of Golden Deals countdown where a new and exclusive online deal is introduced each day. These are products like branded electronics and books that can be found in other stores, but people are encouraged to buy with them because of the great offer.
There’s further encouragement to make a purchase now (rather than put it off until later, when they might change their mind), Indigo have also made each deal only available on that particular day. Moreover, the deals are so good that people will be checking in every day hoping to see products that they want to purchase go up! (I know that’s what I’ve been doing anyways!)
10. A simple “Thank you” Can Go a Long Way
Saying “thank you” to your customers is wonderful, but go a step further and try to reach out to individuals who have shopped with you. Tweeting your thanks will let people know that you take their custom very seriously and that you’re genuinely grateful and appreciative that they chose you.
In the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Adam Grant found that:
“gratitude expressions can enhance prosocial behaviour through both agentic and communal mechanisms, such that when helpers are thank for their efforts, they experience stronger feelings of self-efficacy and social worth, which motivate them to engage in prosocial behaviour”
Translation: Saying thanks encourages people to share their experiences with their friends and family!
Sharing is caring, so please let us know what are some of the ways you’ve utilized social media this holiday season?