Prepare Your Brand For The #HolidaySeason

Hi everyone!

This week’s post will help you and your business prepare your brand for the holidays on social media (especially if you’re running short on time!)

1) Create A Strategy, One Channel  At A Time

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Do your research! Evaluate the needs for all your social media profiles and create a holiday mission statement for each. Which kind of mobile devices are your customers using? What social media channel will have the most engagement with your customers?

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

For Facebook, start a Facebook Like or Comment giveaway. Ask fans to do one (or both) to be entered. Make clear instructions – just ‘Like this post’ – and a valuable cool prize. It’s almost too simple. Lots of giveaways also ask for Page Likes and post Shares too. But remember, these are not allowed by Facebook for promotions.

For Twitter:  Try a Twitter Retweet giveaway, The simplest Twitter giveaway and easiest for fans to enter is one that asks for a Retweet to enter. Other ‘asks’ could include asking for a Mention (Tag), Follow or Tweet with hashtag. If you create a unique hashtag or combination of hashtags, then it’s easy to search for entries to keep track of them. In this case #holidayseason #giveaway #winter would be easy to track.

For Instagram: Instagram hashtag giveaway & Instagram free shipping promo. You can post your special offers on Instagram, whether it’s free shipping, a store-wide discount, or coupon code. Your promotion can give your sales a boost (if you have a relatively large following). It also helps to create a sense of urgency with a ‘one day only’ promotion. Even if your promotional pricing will run on one day only, you can build anticipation for it by promoting it before the day, and even tie a giveaway in to ask fans to Repost the exciting news!

IMPORTANT: Avoid promoting  content in “corporate speak”. I will touch more on this point in #5.

2) Post Constantly, Consistently, And Use Hashtags

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Leading up to the holidays, customers will head online to research what deals are being offered at their favorite stores. Since Black Friday marked the official start of the holiday season, consumers will head to stores (and now-a-days online) to see the latest deals retail companies are offering.

Use your brand’s print ad to create an editorial calendar with content you can schedule to post periodically across your brand’s social accounts. Don’t limit these to just Facebook; expand out to Twitter and Instagram where you can use trending hashtags such as: #HolidayDeals and/or #TisTheSeason, which are trending in the search results. 

For examples of possible tweets, check out Best Buy’s twitter. They have periodically tweeted out its Black Friday deals this past weekend and we anticipate that it will continue throughout the end of the holiday season.

Lastly, amp up what you normally do. What are the main drivers to e-commerce for your brand and how will you capitalize on that? Don’t overlook email marketing strategies, as email opens around this time tend to skyrocket because people are looking for deals.

3) Monitor For Engagement

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While posting your brand’s holiday deals ahead of time is good practice, don’t clutter your feed with promotional content only. Instead, listen to what customers are saying  – especially the mentions related to your brand. Use social media analytic tools such as Sprout Social or HootSuite to identify brand mentions.

Using metrics for buzz, engagement and brands can understand the impact their social media campaigns are having on the social public and then use this data to refocus activity, combat negative buzz around campaigns or reach out to influencers to help amplify content reach.

4) Learn From Others

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The best way to get a good baseline for campaign success it to compare performance to similar campaigns you’ve run in the past or your competitors’ campaigns. Learning from your competitors allows you to get a clearer insight into their strategy and can give your brand a clearer idea of the success or failure of your campaigns.

Examine the posts to identify best practices and mistakes that competitors have made and learn from them! In the U.S., Walmart  is one of the brands most associated with Black Friday, so monitor the conversations surrounding their Black Friday and holiday campaigns for about 10 days. Study the mentions and engagement of Walmart’s (or another influential company). Walmart’s recent activity has had a significant impact with mentions and engagement increasing by over 400% and respectively. The spike around November 12th was largely due to Walmart’s announcement of their Black Friday strategy.

5) Build Brand Advocacy

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Utilize increased brand awareness, your website, and social media traffic to reward your engaged customers. Be generous; give away FREE products, gift cards, shipping discounts, and coupons to customers who engage with your brand leading up to the peak of the holiday season.

With expanded store hours and increased social media engagement comes an abundance of tweets, Facebook posts, Vine videos, and Instagram selfies revolving around your brand, associates and in-store promotions. So, embrace what’s unique about user-generated content – anything that’s not “corporate speak” or promotional by nature.  Through monitoring and social listening tools, retweet and share some of the best or funniest user-generated content involving your brand this holiday season. It might just go viral.

The best way to build brand advocacy with customers is by showing them that you value their loyalty and authenticity. As part of your content strategy, ask your customers to tweet pictures from their shopping experience at your store or post a picture on your brand’s Facebook page showing what they purchased as potential gift ideas for other shoppers. Another suggestion is to take your time to have a one-on-one dialogue with customers as well as prospective ones too. Ask engaging questions across your brand’s social media channels, such as: What is your family’s tradition for Christmas or what they look forward to the most about New Year’s (Don’t forget hashtags!)

Want to take it a step further? Give your most engaged brand advocates an incentive and you’ve won yourself a customer for life as well as the influence they possess over their network of friends and followers.

Brands: step up your campaign game! Follow these tips and make sure you stay ahead of the pack throughout the holiday season.

–  A