5 Ways to Tactfully Start Your Holiday Social Media Strategy Now

5 Ways to Tactfully Start Your Holiday Social Media Strategy Now

You should already be started with your holiday marketing campaign.  Around 15% of retailers begin their holiday campaigns by October 1st. But what if you want to get your promotions going sooner? How do you handle an early launch of your holiday social media campaign without looking desperate? Do you risk annoying or burning out your client base with too much cheer, too soon? Twitter bird icon

Here are 5 ways to tastefully lead the pack with your holiday social media approach:

Expand on successful past holiday campaigns.

AlternativeLandingPagesHolidaysIf you’ve used social media for your holiday marketing in the past, analyze your performance to determine which approaches generated the most pre-holiday traffic and conversions. Campaigns that resonated with your customers last year should receive the most focus. Which demographics responded the most to your earliest efforts? Focus on these customers first when planning your pre-season strategy.

Study the successful early holiday social media promotions of businesses that are similar to yours. Which apps or content sparked the most holiday buzz for them? Analyze how these companies engaged with their earliest holiday users and study how they presented their campaigns to get an idea of how you can reach the same customers. Which social media platforms did they employ early? How can you do what they did, but do it better?

There are numerous articles and blogs offering suggestions for holiday social media strategy. Use these resources to help you create your own methods of reaching your first holiday customers.

Choose a distinctive holiday presence and use it right away.

Holiday SalesEven your earliest social media outreach should reflect your holiday theme or at least offer a hint of it. If your theme is successful, social media users will be able to recognize one of your posts immediately.

There are endless ways to present your image during the holidays, but consistency is the key. As you collect the various product photos and descriptive copy that you plan to spread via social media, be sure your holiday campaign won’t lose focus by creating a unique border/font/color combination that will be used in all of your holiday messages. Twitter bird icon

Use your distinctive brand colors in a seasonal logo, or have a character or brand spokesperson as part of your strategy. It’s okay to vary the style of communication and images to meet the needs of diverse markets, but maintain your own “look” throughout all of your campaigns to solidify your brand presence. Don’t forget to create plenty of holiday-themed hashtags for your campaign, and do tag every single image you post.

Strategize for and respect new contacts.

The more contacts you have, the more your brand is recognized and the more your message is spread. Well before the holiday season begins, you should be building your social media networks with targeted incentives that encourage participation.

You can generate holiday contacts when you:

  • Provide product samples to registered users.
  • Offer holiday store credit for referral e-mail addresses. Twitter bird icon
  • Invite web visitors to order holiday catalogs.
  • Hold sweepstakes for gift certificates and prizes.
  • Host product wish lists on your site for registered users.
  • Stage pre-holiday sales events for members only.

It’s a mistake to overwhelm all of your new, unproven contacts with holiday e-mails and texts, unless you want to alienate and annoy them, so plan a measured promotional campaign that respects their time and their inboxes. Make your outreach messages to your newest followers short and to the point, focusing on the value to the customer and offering several ways to engage. Continue to analyze these new relationships in order to hone in on the deals, contests, and messages that actually get early results.

Create advance holiday content that evolves with the season.

Coca Cola Instagram Photo

Fans of Coca-Cola share their holiday photos on Instagram

A recent retail study found that 71% of shoppers don’t like seeing Christmas items in the store before Halloween. The funny thing is, only 59% of millennials are bothered by this practice, probably because they’ve grown up with the sight of pre-Halloween retail holiday displays. Twitter bird icon

Take a lesson from this study by creating early social media content that isn’t blatantly seasonal, but that eases into the holidays. Your campaigns should build interest without blowing off all of your fireworks at once. You might start by focusing on one or two products, tagging them as the coming season’s must-have gifts. Remember that you’ll risk less early seasonal backlash if you turn your attention to younger customers first, so choose products they will appreciate.

Host a holiday photo or essay contest with a long entry period. Everyone knows that contests take a while to judge, so they won’t be distressed by the early holiday references in your promotions for the contest. Each entrant should receive a coupon or some recognition for their contribution, which helps build loyalty early in the season and lets them know you appreciate them.

Customers will also appreciate a fun little holiday-themed video game, or a gift-idea generator that advises users on which of your products is the best choice for their loved ones. How about an app that tells gift wrappers exactly how much paper they’ll need to cover a present? None of these ideas is too pushy, but each helps associate your brand with the holidays.

Try something new this year.

To move your seasonal game up to the next level, use an app like Twitter’s Periscope to stream videos full of holiday how-to advice or cheerful musical performances. Periscope will also allow you to conduct real-time video tours of your brick and mortar stores and your factory, offering interactive chat capabilities for your viewers, too.

Find and put into service other new tools and apps to enhance your online holiday presence. Dip your toes into the water of social media platforms you’ve never used, or actively join user forums related to your product line.

If you’ve never hosted user-generated content on your site, take the plunge and try it out a few months prior to the holidays. The pre-holiday period is a great time to experiment with new approaches since you have plenty of time to expand on or abandon efforts depending on their performance.

Last but not least, remember your commitments to your community. Provide seasonal charitable giving to individuals and causes identified by your followers. Early on, you should let your customers know how you will make the holidays brighter for the less fortunate, and encourage your customers to join you. The pre-holiday and holiday seasons are optimum times to build your brand and your sales, but they also provide your business with the best opportunities to build good will.

Melanie Crabtree
[email protected]