Social media helps current and prospective customers feel valued, appreciated, and informed. It instills trust.
To entice holiday shoppers to come to a smaller store instead of, say, a leading brand, go the extra mile — from product selection to customer service to marketing, including unique social media campaigns.
The most effective retail campaigns are personalized, emphasizing a shopper’s moods and feelings. Personalized campaigns entice customers to come back, refer friends, and, importantly, not ask for a return or exchange.
Organize social media holiday campaigns by channels, such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest.
4 Ways to Use Social Media
Inform. Informational social media campaigns tell your followers about specials, promotions, featured products, holiday lines, and gift sets. Here are examples:
- Percent off sitewide or any line or product.
- Holiday-themed gift wrap with every order for followers.
- Holiday gift sets available during a certain period.
- Last-minute overnight shipping for late shoppers.
Educate. Educational campaigns are for giving your existing and potential customers valuable, preferably exclusive, information that they cannot find elsewhere. The information could come in multiple formats, such as how-to text, videos, graphics, and infographics. It could be gated or not, residing on your website or a social media property.
You could, as examples, show your customers how to style and wear products, what to cook, and how to decorate. Carefully research the topic and make it unique. It will pay off.
Displaying influencers with your products in their lookbooks, style guides, or product reviews can be effective, too.
Holiday-related testimonials also make valuable social media content. Do not underestimate social proof. Ask customers to talk about your merchandise, promotions, and customer service.
Entertain. Holiday social media entertainment campaigns should be themed. They should lift your customers’ mood, to help feel the seasonal spirit. Use appropriate graphics, videos, images, and text. Hashtags should trigger holiday-related emotions.
Shoppers are bombarded with holiday sales offers. Be different. Instead of asking shoppers for money, offer something fun. Put smiles on their faces.
Examples of entertaining social media content are holiday quotes, humorous product-related videos, and anything cute. Each social channel requires a different approach.
Interact. Dialog with your customers on social media. Ask them what they like, what they want, and what you can do to improve their lives. It is an opportunity to connect without asking for a purchase.
Give to your customers as much as you can — quality, quantity, gifts, packaging, gift wrap, customer service, promotions, and one-of-a-kind information. Consider customer-centric surveys, polls, and contests. Don’t overthink. Ask questions and provide comprehensive, thoughtful, timely answers.
Sample Holiday Promotions
Emphasize quality, superior service, premium pricing, and over-giving. The more unique your products, the less competition. Spend money on stylish packaging and on valuable gifts with every purchase (which dramatically reduces returns and exchanges). Price your lines high enough to have a room for deep holiday discounts. Most retailers never discount new arrivals, for example. Perhaps you should.
In my experience, an effective social-media promotional timeline includes:
- Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Up to 35 percent off sitewide.
- Cyber Monday. Up to 30 percent off sitewide plus free ground shipping.
- Week before Christmas. Up to 20 percent off sitewide. Before the final cutoff dates, offer free 2-day shipping and then free overnight shipping for last minute shoppers.
As for each social channel, consider these holiday campaign ideas.
- Instagram is a key holiday channel. Implement all aspects of your holiday marketing strategy.
- Pinterest is not only a social media platform but also a search engine, responsible for 5 percent referral traffic to many retailers. Make sure your keywords reach boards and pins where you display holiday product lines, gift sets, gift baskets, and promotions.
- YouTube. Create videos for lookbooks, how-tos, and previews for next season.
- Facebook. Your Facebook group should be your most engaged customers and prospects. Retain your most generous promotions for this channel. Do as many live sessions as you can. Don’t aim for perfection. Shoppers can relate to a real-life presentation. It adds a human factor. Go live and talk about what you can offer to your community this holiday season.
- Snapchat works like a charm for younger consumers. Snap and showcase your daily holiday specials.