The holidays will soon be upon us. With just 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas and a reported 15.5 percent growth in ecommerce sales at stake, retailers should leverage every marketing opportunity.
Social media is one such opportunity. It can help extend brand reach, build awareness for promotional efforts, support overall sales activity, and do so at minimal expense to the merchant.
With that in mind, here are 10 social media marketing tips you can employ this holiday season.
1. Use Social Media as a Layer, Not a Channel
Don’t think of social media as an individual channel, but as a layer that blankets other marketing activities. While it may not prove to be a catalyst that directly contributes to sales, use of social media can support everything else you do. The key is to think omnichannel and integrate social media into every activity.
For example, tie social media into email marketing by asking people to share your message with their friends and followers. Add social sharing buttons (including the Pin It button) to product pages on your website. Create content on your website that people will want to share, as well as social network content that links back to your ecommerce site.
Read my post, “8 Ways to Integrate Social Media with Existing Marketing,” for more ideas.
2. Decorate Your Social Media Graphics with Holiday Themes
Almost every social network utilizes profile images and cover graphics. Some, like Twitter, also include background images. Put your shoppers in the holiday spirit by updating such imagery with seasonal themes.
If you do not have access to a graphic designer, sites like fcoverphotos.com or Canva offer plenty of ready-made images. Pixlr, a easy-to-use photo-editing tool, enables you to overlay text on graphics. You can also achieve the same effect with PowerPoint.
3. Give Your Content Visual Appeal
One of the biggest social media marketing trends to emerge from 2013 is the use of visuals. So, in keeping with changes to profile and cover graphics, add some visual spice to your holiday posts.
As a general rule, include a graphic with most of your social posts. Add a graphic element to blog posts so that when visitors share your content on social networks, the image will appear along with it.
4. Use Pinterest to Inspire Shopping Ideas
Pinterest is especially popular during the holiday season as people look to it for inspiration on everything from Halloween decorations to Thanksgiving table centerpieces to Chanukah and Christmas gift ideas.
Two simple ways to build on that interest include creating holiday-themed boards and adding Pin It buttons to product pages on your site.
5. Run Contests on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Contests are a fun way to utilize social media, especially at this time of year. Sites like Offerpop and Antavo have several out-of-the-box contest solutions to make it easy.
6. Send Personal Holiday Greetings to Loyal Customers
Businesses can take a cue from individuals and send special holiday greetings to customers via social media as a way to express appreciation. It’s an unexpected message for them that could lead to increased sales for you.
Create a Vine or Instagram video and post it to your Facebook Page timeline, send out direct messages to customers that follow you on Twitter or host a Google Hangout with your most loyal customers just to say hello. If you happen to be friends with customers on Facebook, send an e-card using an app like the one from 123 Greetings.
7. Create Relevant, Interesting Content
Posts to your blog, Facebook Page, Twitter feed or another social network should not be just about you and your products. Think in terms of creating content around topics of interest to your customers, particularly during the busy holiday season.
That could include creative seasonal decorating tips, a list of ways to reduce stress during the holidays, ideas for making the holidays more meaningful, inspirational quotes, and more.
8. Support Organic Efforts with Advertising
Social media ad campaigns are cost-effective when compared to other forms of advertising and are a good way to increase reach and introduce new people to your brand or products.
9. Draw on Your Customers’ Social Influence
Shoppers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. Because people tend to trust others with similar interests, it makes sense to draw upon your customers’ influence. Due to its inherent sharing capabilities, social media is a primary outlet to make that happen.
10. Support a Worthy Cause
People’s minds turn to giving during the holidays, and that doesn’t mean just friends and family; charitable giving tends to rise, too.
Businesses can use social media to achieve social good — by supporting a worthy cause. Aside from the benefits charities receive, it is a way to build goodwill between you and your customers that can result in greater loyalty and increased lifetime value.
Use crowdfunding sites such as Go Fund Me or YouCaring.com to provide your customers with an opportunity to give, as well.