The US National Retail Federation forecasts that holiday sales will be increasing by 4.1% this year (which adds up to a whopping $616.9 billion). So ramp up your Holiday campaigns folks, because a well-planned, well-targeted Holiday campaign will not only help to boost your sales to existing customers, but it will help you make some new ones as well.
You need to start putting your marketing efforts in place as soon as possible. Remember...if you want to impress your target market this festive season, then knowing where to market is just as important as knowing what to market.
Here's some websites that have the potential to take your holiday campaigns to the next level:
Facebook needs no introduction. It is the most popular social networking platforms worldwide. In fact, it was the first website ever to reach 1 billion users. That's insane!
We're all aware of the basics surrounding Facebook. It lets you post updates to your friends and followers, it lets you hold contests, and along with many other functions it also lets you run focused ad campaigns, but chances are that you already knew this. You likely already have a Facebook Page for your business, as well.
The real question is…how can you use your pages to get the most out of Facebook in this Holiday season?
Here's some ideas that may help you to start your brainstorming session:
Update Your Cover Photo
Along with promoting your sales and discount offers, one of the first things that your customers will see on your page is going to be your cover photo, so how about giving them something that makes them come back to your page again and again. For example, you can keep changing your cover daily during the holiday season. You can turn it into an advent calendar, and update it with something creative every day. It's a lot of work, but your customers will love it!
Spruce up Your Logo
You should also add a holiday element to your logo. Perhaps give it a Santa hat, or tweak it in one way or another that reflects the holiday season.
Another thing that you can do is play with humor. Post holiday-related images on your page, and add some light-hearted messages. Consumers are always more likely to spend when they're in a good mood!
Ask Questions (and maybe run a contest)
Facebook can also help you get an idea of your customers' preferences. You can post something engaging and see what they're looking for. For example, post "This Christmas I want ____." You'll get an idea of what they're looking for, and this will help you shape your campaign in a better way. For instance, you can hold a Christmas contest, and offer one of the products in high demand as a prize. This will increase customer engagement, and your brand awareness too.
Target Local Customers
Finally, if you're promoting a brick and mortar store then Facebook has something special to offer you. With its new local awareness feature, you can target people when they're physically near your store. You can send them directions right to their phone.
Hopefully you can see that Facebook has a lot to offer, so start planning and give your customers something to remember you for. Just remember to think as a person, and not as a brand. Don't just promote offers...learn to communicate with your customers. Share tips, ask them questions, and show them you care.
Google Plus is the darling of the giant search engine Google, and Google is really making a push for it to compete with Facebook. Initially this new community had a rocky start, but things are definitely picking up now. Many brands are recognizing the power of Google+, and more and more company pages are being created to harness that power.
If you don't already have a Company Page on Google Plus, then I suggest you create one ASAP. Your company page should include a detailed description of what it is you do, what products or services you provide, having rich text, and relevant keywords...because Google+ plays a very important role (and many SEO experts believe it will continue to grow in importance) in your search engine rankings. In fact, go one step forward and add links to your other pages, because the Google Bots love that!
The SEO capabilities of Google+ are one of the major advantages that it has over other websites. So how can you benefit from Google+ during the holiday season?
Use Images and Videos
Like Facebook, imagery is very important on Google Plus. Always try to complement your posts, discount offers, and other promotional activities with some great images and videos. With the holiday season around the corner, customize your post to reflect the holiday season.
Let's take a look at an example from BlendBee's Google+ Page:
As you can see, they used an eye-catching image to promote a deal they were running.
Use Hash Tags
Another great way to get attention on Google Plus is with the use of hash tags. This will help people to find your posts easily...not just now, but in the future as well. If you're not sure what tags to use, Google Trends can help you find the current hot topics.
Once you have written your post, just type # along with the relevant term and this will add a tag. Google+ even displays a drop-down list of suggested terms, to help you out.
By adding hashtags, you also give your post a chance to show in the "What's Hot" section of G+. If your post gets there then it will have exposure to a much bigger audience. So next time you're posting a discount offer how about using #holidaydiscounts with it?
Use Those Circles!
One of the things that I love about Google+ is the circle functionality. Circles are your Google+ contacts/followers organized by groups. This can be extremely helpful in targeting your audience. You can create separate posts for different demographics, and give each of them offers relative to their own holidays. You can post Christmas offers for Christians, and perhaps Hanukah offers for Jewish people. So give some thought about how you can use Circles to increase your sales this Holiday season.
Fun fact: 78 out of 100 shoppers claim that social media posts by brands impact their purchases.
When it comes to conversion rates, Pinterest is one of the best websites for promoting your business. While people go to websites like Google+ and Facebook for engaging and socializing, they come to Pinterest to get shopping, do-it-yourself, cooking, and inspirational ideas.
According to a recent survey, 47% of US shoppers say that they bought something as a direct result of a recommendation from Pinterest. Now that is impressive! The question is...how can you harness this power?
The Power of Boards
During the holiday season, customers are looking for perfect gifts to buy, and this is the mentality that your holiday campaign should be based on. We know that people are inherently impatient, but they also want their gifts to be different and unique. You can use this opportunity to promote your business to them by creating a Pinterest board containing unique gift ideas.
Creating a unique gift board will make it easier for your customers to do their holiday shopping, and this will also draw attention to your products. You can make the task even easier for your customers by creating different boards for different people the customers may be shopping for, such as parents, kids, spouses, co-workers, and teachers.
Think about what sort of troubles your customers may have while finding gifts, and then simplify their problems for them. Problems faced by your customers may include:
- Shopping on a budget.
- Finding the right gifts on time.
- Confusion about what type of gifts to buy.
Once you have all those details in mind, you can create some fun, engaging, and useful boards to entertain your customers. Here is how you can combine all that information into some perfect Pinterest boards:
- Presents for Someone Who Has it All
- Gifts to Impress Your New Boss
- 15 Gifts Under $15
- DIY Gift Ideas
- Gifts that are Easy-To-Ship
The more time you spend on developing your boards, the more success you're going to have in promoting your business. Remember...customers who come in contact with your products or services through Pinterest are typically ready to buy, so they should have an option to take action then and there. You can either do this by directly linking them back to your website, or you can give them directions on how they can buy from you.
Twitter is another popular social media (to be more specific, a micro-blogging) website that you can use to promote your business this holiday season. With its 140 character Tweets, it allows you to really pinpoint your message and be precise...short and sweet can be powerful too :)
Unlike your posts on Facebook which have a limited reach (Facebook's algorithm is constantly changing, but it's even possible that not a single person sees your Facebook posts!), your updates on Twitter will reach ALL your followers. In your tweets you can promote your holiday offers and discounts. You can add holiday-themed images, and you can even link them back to your website.
Make Use of Images
I recommend that you use Twitter to run a visual marketing strategy. Use creative-themed photos of your products to draw your followers' attentions. Complement your pictures with either questions or light-hearted puns. Engage your customers, and strengthen your relationship with them by sharing the spirit of the holidays through images that touch their emotions.
One thing that people love more than engaging pictures is getting discounts and coupons. Whether you're running a business online, or you're promoting your brick and mortar store, it doesn't matter. People are going to LOVE it when you give them discounts, so don't wait too long to start your coupon campaign…or your competition may beat you to it and get all the glory!
Run a Contest
Twitter is as effective for running holiday contests as any of the sites mentioned above. Host a contest and draw people's attention to your page. The reward you set for the customers should be based upon demand in the market. Host a good contest, and your brand awareness will start spreading like wild fire!
Some contest tools that you may want to consider:
Here's an example Thanksgiving contest that SocialAdr recently ran using Rafflecopter: http://socialadr.com/Thanksgiveaway/ (they received almost 700 entries!)
Promotion during the holidays shouldn't be just about your products or services. This is especially true for Twitter. Your followers will be having a stressful time dealing with the holiday season, so how about giving them something that might ease their mind. You can upload some recipes, some DIY gift ideas, or perhaps some decoration tips.
Complement these posts with images and link them back to your website or any other useful blog. If you genuinely help out your customers, you'll earn their respect. Your customers like to know that you aren't there for just selling goods; they like to think that you care.
Don't Forget Hashtags
Finally never underestimate the power of hashtags. Include popular seasonal #tags in your Tweets. This will spread your reach to a broader audience on not just Twitter but Google as well. Some popular #tags this season are:
To get more ideas for hashtags, you can have a look at hashtags that your followers are using, and you can include those tags in your tweets as well. This will help you to reach like-minded people.
These are just a few tips to get your campaign started; there is so much more potential waiting to be unraveled on Twitter. Get creative, and start planning out how to promote your business this holiday season.
Tumblr is one of the most powerful yet underrated tools to run a marketing campaign. Did you know that it ranks second after Facebook for targeting young adults in the age group of 18-29?
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Tumblr, it is a blogging site that allows you to post multiple types of content such as audio, video, text, and photos. Unlike normal blogging platforms, the key to Tumblr is brevity. Long posts that may be popular in traditional blogs, G+, or Facebook will not work on Tumblr. Short but creative posts work best on Tumblr.
One of the best things about Tumblr is that people really love to share (known as a Reblog) other user's posts, so it gives you a high probability of your posts going viral!
So get started! Create an account and give something meaningful to the community. Blog about some holiday recipes, blog about your product, give them tutorials and draw attention. Follow other members and comment on their posts in order to build your own following.
Perhaps you can hire some existing bloggers on Tumblr within your niche to promote your products or services?
Experiment with different features of Tumblr, and find what works best for your particular niche.
While all the websites mentioned above promote your business to consumers, LinkedIn is used primarily to help you promote yourself to other businesses or business people. Most of the holiday spotlight usually falls upon business to consumer relationships; I believe business to business customers deserve equal attention.
Reach out to your fellow businesses by customizing your LinkedIn Company Page to reflect the spirit of the holiday season. Regularly post updates with holiday-related posts and keep your consumers interested.
Use a little curiosity to keep them looking forward to the next post. What works for normal consumers may not always work for businesses, so plan your campaigns specifically to attract other businesses.
With just a bit of planning, LinkedIn will do wonders for your business!
The holiday season is all about sharing joy, memories and gifts. Promote your website by giving your customers these three core ingredients, and you can win customers who will remember your website long after the Christmas lights have been taken down and packed away.
Memuna Umber from DoSocial
Memuna is an MBA student who loves learning about online marketing, social media, and conversion optimization. She brings a lot of business and marketing expertise to the DoSocial team.