Marketers (especially retailers) continue to be immersed in holiday plans, even with Cyber Monday now behind them. The reason: Nearly half think online holiday revenues will grow 10% or more over last year (eMarketer). Brands are looking for ways to drive sales and spread the word about holiday-related deals over the next month, and many will leverage their social media presence for extra pickup.
Many already began with Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Four in 10 retailers used Facebook to promote Black Friday deals, according to the National Retail Federation. Some major brands are focusing heavily on social promotion. Target’s Black Friday campaign included a Twitter Promoted Tweet buy, daily Facebook and Twitter gift card giveaways and Facebook video advertising.
Promoting your products through Facebook posts and tweets is important, but adding even more social elements can boost your return. There’s still time to upgrade your ongoing holiday strategy. Here’s six ways how:
1. Introduce email to social: Email continues to generate one of the strongest returns in online marketing. If you haven’t introduced your email program to social, now’s the time. A strong call to action in holiday emails can make budget-conscious shoppers aware that sharing a deal with a friend is part of getting into the holiday spirit. Many email service providers now offer tools that allow recipients to share your emails with their networks on social channels. At the very least, include links to your company’s social outposts and invite recipients to follow your brand.
2. Find the perfect mix of good timing, great deals, and choice of channel: Coupons and deals are everywhere during the holiday season, so making sure they get to your audience through the channels they use most and at the times they are most useful is key. In mid-December 2009, Rayovac batteries created a widget that offered a generous coupon on its newly created Facebook page—and the outpouring of positive comments by parents needing to power holiday toys was incredible. By collecting emails through a Shoutlet-powered sign-up widget on Facebook and sending coupons via email, they were also able to grow their email database by more than 8,000 in five days. What would work for your customer base? Whether it’s a deal with a mobile twist, a video that clicks through to a promo code, or a quick Twitter giveaway, finding the right mix can help you meet your goals.
3. Make it relevant—and let your community help: Far from a new concept, making your content relevant to your audience and your product is as important to social media as any other area of marketing—even when your product has no obvious holiday angle. Enlist your fans and followers to “holiday-ize” your message and get involved in the conversation. Sell tires? Post tips for making sure families get to grandma’s house safely, then ask them to tweet their favorite holiday road trip traditions for a chance to win a brand new set. But keep it simple—customers’ to-do lists are long, and there’s 11 other months to roll out a more complex social media initiative.
4. Turn your Facebook page into a social shopping hub: This holiday season, customers will be recommending products and researching gifts online more than ever. If you’re an e-commerce retailer, you can easily turn a Facebook custom tab into a social shopping experience and make it simple for them to discuss your products. With tools like Shoutlet’s Shop & Share™ feature, you can pull your product feed into a custom tab and give your fans a social extension of your e-commerce site (see a live example).
5. Offer exclusive content and build fans with a Facebook reveal tab: The holiday season is packed with limited-time offers and products. Set up a reveal tab on your Facebook page that requires visitors to Like your page before they can view content on a specific tab. By offering exclusive Facebook promo codes and deals on a reveal tab, you can gather new fans while serving up share-worthy holiday savings.
6. Save yourself some time: Even marketers have to throw parties and shop for gifts. Save yourself some time this holiday by investing in a social media management platform, especially one with a Social CRM component that allows you to track conversations and gain insight into fan activity. Your whole team will get more done and see better results in less time, which will be in short supply when the cocktail parties and winter snowstorms hit in December.
Adding more social media elements to your holiday campaign invites shoppers into your brand’s social circle. Short-term impacts include a boost in seasonal sales, but engagement with fans and followers now can create valuable year-round connections.
Jason Weaver is considered an authority in social media and frequently authors articles and speaks for organizations such as American Marketing Association, Public Relations Society of America and American Advertising Federation. Jason currently has patent-pending technologies in Web 2.0 marketing, such as Shoutlet (www.shoutlet.com)—a social media marketing tool for advertising agencies and brand marketers.