Before the Internet, businesses celebrated the holidays by decorating their stores and playing Christmas music. Business-to-business retailers and service-based organizations celebrated with greeting cards and gifts for their clients. But with so many people getting their information from social media these days, it’s important to find ways to make the most of the holiday season. Here are eight ideas for improving your holiday season through social media.
1. Deck the Walls
While most social media sites limit the customization you can bring to your profile pages, you can do a few things to celebrate the season. Add a festive cover photo or update your business logo with a little holiday cheer. You can even change your profile photo to something more festive. If possible, use the same festive theme across all of your social media and ecommerce channels.
2. Promote Your Social Media Sites
During the holidays, you’ll likely be communicating with customers far more than usual. Use the opportunity to include links to your social media sites on every receipt and invoice. If you send a special offer or newsletter, include icons for each social media site, as well as links, and encourage customers to share the information across their sites. Craft your emails using email marketing software like GetResponse, which provides drag-and-drop social media integration.
3. Make Sharing Easier
During the holiday season, customers are more interested than ever in sharing products with friends and family. In addition to letting your customers create a wish list on your website, you should also include one-click sharing of any photo to various social media channels. If a customer sees a great item, that item can then be shared to the people who are most likely to buy it as a Christmas gift.
4. Encourage Customer Participation
The best way to build buzz surrounding your brand is to get the customers talking about it. Find ways to encourage customers to tweet or share your big sales and special offers. You can start by inviting them to share, but that often will get limited results. Instead, host a contest that invites customers to share in exchange for eligibility for a special prize.
5. Use Real-Time Marketing
The holiday season is a short push at the end of the year that can significantly boost a business’s bottom line. But the time is limited. It’s important that brands use real-time marketing strategies to update your strategy on the fly. With every effort, you should be analyzing and adjusting your campaign to make sure you’re spending more time doing what works. Services like Google Analytics can assist in handling your social media analytics.
6. Provide Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Even the most straight-laced business has at least a small celebration during the holiday season. Invite your customers in on the festivities with at least a few pictures of your holiday party. If your workers are busy preparing orders or decorating your office Christmas tree, upload pictures of that process, as well. Customers will see your employees’ smiling faces and be likely to want to do business with you.
7. Build Your Database
During the holiday season, you’ll see quite a few new names across your social media feed. This is the perfect opportunity to boost your databases with names of people who have already shown at least a passing interest in your site. Tools like Mention will notify you whenever your brand name comes up on social media and SecureMySocial can collect the information, compare it with publicly-available contact information, and fill your databases with the names.
8. Count Down the Days
Christmas countdown calendars have been popular for a while, giving eager children and their parents a way to celebrate the big day drawing closer. You can accomplish an effect similar to an Advent calendar, offering a special deal each day. Your followers will feel as though they’re getting a gift each day and you’ll give them a reason to check back on a regular basis.
Social media is an important part of everyone’s social media strategy, and with a little creativity, a business can make the most of those few weeks, maximizing sales and increasing followers. The result will be increased sales throughout the year based on the great marketing work that was done between Thanksgiving and Christmas during the previous year.
About the Author: Dan Steiner is a technology entrepreneur, author, and marketing consultant. He is currently serves as CEO of security firm Online Virus Repair Inc., while also running Avila Web Firm, a web design and internet marketing agency based out of San Luis Obispo, California. Additionally, he is as an active mentor and volunteer at startup events throughout region. Get more from Dan on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.