When it comes to the holiday shopping season, retailers and businesses from sea to shining sea all have their own set of apprehensions and concerns. And, as each year passes, the need for businesses and brands alike to have a social media plan in place for the holidays is paramount.

For example, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become ubiquitous in marketing conference rooms since they came into vogue — and they are very much at the heart of social media marketing. According to AddShoppers, a leading onsite social platform for innovative retailers, on average, social traffic converted 77% higher than normal during Black Friday 2012. Here’s a breakdown of the big social media networks: AddShoppers1 AddShoppers then added in conversion rates for Cyber Monday — which, in some cases, were higher than those seen on Black Friday: AddShoppers2The reason I share all this is to not-so-gently remind you that the holidays are a very important and vital time for your brand and business to be social-media ready and savvy.

Having said that, below are three tips for a holly jolly social media holiday season:

Tip #1: Stay Active

Yes, things tend to slow down around the holidays. However, ours is not a nine-to-five world anymore; social media and mobile devices pretty much did away with that concept. Far too many businesses and brands will take the holidays off from their social media duties. Yet this is precisely when you need to be even more active, for this is the time when your customers, particularly those of the retail variety, will be more social media active and aware.

Oh, and in case you forgot this little point too, customer service never takes a day off. Ever! If someone Tweets you or leaves you a message on Facebook re: an issue or concern or question, you darn well better be there to answer them and in a timely manner. Otherwise, you might as well put a sign like this one to the right up on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

closed for the holidays

Tip #2: Share Your Holiday Promotions

Okay, so perhaps you missed your “Christmas In July” campaign this year. But, assuming you do, in fact, have other holiday promos planned, social media is the perfect channel through which to share them.

Last year, some 86% of retailers said they planned to use Facebook to promote their holiday campaigns, and so should you. One great use of Facebook around the holidays comes in the form of coupons. Mark Cooper, co-Founder and CMO of offerpop, a fan-marketing platform for Facebook and Twitter, tells of a great example using Facebook and the all-important “E” word: exclusive.

The company was Tiny Prints, and last year they offered their fans a Facebook Exclusive which came in the form of a discount on holiday cards and address labels. All Facebook fans had to do was input the code on the coupon via their website to receive the discount. Easy — and effective!

Tiny-Prints-Exclusive-copy

Tip #3: Pull Back The Curtain

Yes, you should be open and transparent about the culture of your company year-round, but especially during the holidays when spirits are bright and bells are jingling. Take lots of photos — not necessarily of the company holiday party, but perhaps of employees decorating the office, their work spaces, etc.

Maybe you’re having an ugly sweater or goofy holiday gift contest or something along those lines. Off-the-wall, non-business, holiday-themed pictures are a great way to engage your fans on social media. Consumers not only want but expect to see you and your company/brand/employees’ collective personalities. Show them there are real people behind the products, services and wares.

Put A Bow On Social Media

Social media can be an extremely helpful tool when it comes to hitting your holiday revenue and sales goals — not just around those days with the special names attached to them (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.) but every day during the holiday shopping season.

Follow the tips above (which are all truly based in common sense if you think about it), and you too can have a holly jolly social media season — and when it’s all over, you can sing your praises and Go Tell It On the Mountain.

Oh yeah, one last thing. To all those out there who think it’s too late to start their holiday marketing campaigns on any channel (social media or otherwise), consider this stat: Last year, with just three weeks to go until Christmas Day, more than a third (36%) of Americans had not even started their holiday shopping.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Social Media Marketing | Social Media Marketing Column

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About The Author: is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading global provider of on-demand email and cross-channel marketing solutions, and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing.



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