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Our Gift to You: 7 Tips for Creating a Winning Holiday Social Media Campaign

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Happy Holidays, everyone!  For our Yuletide post, we thought we’d pass on some of what our experience setting up holiday social media campaigns for our clients at LLD has taught us.  Our hope is that you’ll find these 7 tips valuable enough to apply them and create your own winning holiday social strategy!

1. Define realistic, measurable goals

This may seem like a no-brainer, but we’re always surprised at how many people we see launching social campaigns that fail because a clear objective was never defined or thought through.  The goal you set for yourself will, of course, depend on the kind of business you run and who your customers are, but the overarching rule is: Make it realistic, and make it measurable.  Some examples of goals you might set for your holiday campaign include:

  • Increased sales: If you’re a retail business, this would be an obvious goal, but be sure to be specific.  Are you looking for a 10% bump in sales?  25%?  The more specific you can be about how much of an increase you’re looking for, the better you’ll be able to measure and tweak your campaign along the way.

  • Increased audience/exposure:  This is another popular goal for holiday campaigns, since many small businesses, such as media companies, increase their bottom line more by building an audience than they do by selling a product or service. Still, just as with the sales goal, you should be very specific about what kind of bump you’re looking to see, and plan your campaign accordingly.

  • Increased funding/donations:  For nonprofits, the holidays are a fantastic time to solicit donations because, first, people are (hopefully) in an altruistic giving state of mind.  Also, many individuals are looking for last minute tax write-offs for the year, and companies are looking to spend what’s remaining of their yearly budgets in order to justify their budgets for the coming year. As with any goal, be specific and make it realistic and measurable.

2. Refine your messaging for the holidays

This is an important step because it helps your customers align their holiday goals with your brand, product or service.  If you’re selling something, try asking yourself: “WHAT are you selling, and WHY and WHEN should your customers buy it? “ If you sell any type of food products, especially those that are popular during the holiday, you’ll probably want to focus your campaign on the weeks leading up to the holiday, when people are planning their holiday parties, family dinners, and so on.  On the other hand, if you run a retail storefront for inexpensive gift items that can be shipped overnight on the day of the order, you might want to focus your campaigns on last minute holiday shoppers who totally forgot to get something for Uncle Ned, or for their office Secret Santa. Also bear in mind that by “messaging” we don’t just mean copy.  Your images and other graphic assets are also a part of your brand messaging, and you may want to update those as well. Try adding a little holiday flair by updating your social media header images and profile pics to holiday-themed imagery to let your customers know you’re open for business and feeling festive!

3. Plan your budget  

We know holiday campaigns are fun, and it’s very easy to get carried away with setting up holiday campaigns anywhere and everywhere you can.  However, we recommend a bit of prudence and planning so that you are putting your marketing dollars where they will be the most effective.  Research your audience carefully, and plan which social channels you will use to reach the most people while not breaking the proverbial bank.  One of the reasons we really like Facebook Ads is they let you (actually require you to) plan out the budget for your campaign ahead of time, keeping you within the limits of what you can afford. After all, a holiday campaign is of little use if everything you earn in added revenue is spent on the campaign itself.

4. Define special offers and provide incentives

One of the challenges all marketers face during the holiday season is that they are competing with a LOT of other holiday messages, and it can be difficult to stand out among the competition. For that reason, we recommend thinking through what you’ll be offering that is truly unique. A good place to start is by thinking about what makes YOU unique — what does your business offer that others don’t, and how can you turn that into a special offer that only you can provide?  Some of the types of offers that you may consider, depending on the type of business you run, are loyalty bonuses for repeat customers, referral bonuses for bringing new customers to your website, giveaways and contests.  The value of social media is the sharing of posts, so providing an incentive for followers to share is a great strategy.

For the holidays, one tactic that’s always effective, especially on social media, is to involve your followers in your campaigns. For example, tweeting photos of your customers using your products is not only fun, but encourages sharing.  The one thing everyone loves sharing—even more than zany cat videos—is content about themselves.  Using this truism as a cornerstone of your campaign can make for an effective, and fun, holiday social media campaign.

If your goal for your campaign is to gain more potential customers/audience/viewers—as opposed to strictly sales — you may want to think about offering incentives for people to join your email list.  Typically, these are downloads or other types of giveaways and since we’re being holiday-themed here, they’ll be more effective if they are related to the holiday season.  For example, if you run a design or print shop, offering a free download of holiday fonts might provide a compelling motivation.

5. Determine your social channels

This point is one we make when giving advice on any social campaign, and should be no different for your holiday messaging.  Assuming your business is already using social media, the most obvious consideration would be to place your efforts where you’ve already been most effective. That said, given that your holiday social campaign might be a bit different from the others, you may wish to experiment with social channels you haven’t tried before.  If your business is selling beer, for example, you may have had the best response on Facebook or Twitter, but if you’d like to run a holiday campaign featuring photos of people drinking your beer, Instagram may be the way to go.  It’s all about choosing the best tool for the job, so think it through carefully!

6. Prepare to engage

Social media is, of course, all about engagement, but at the holidays you should prepare yourself for a bit more engagement from your followers than you’ve had in the past.  People can get REALLY serious (and emotional) about their holiday shopping, so be prepared to answer lots of questions and maybe even field some complaints as well.  If you need to take on an intern or a seasonal employee to monitor your social campaigns over the holidays, you may find it helpful.  Above all, make sure you’ve made provisions for more engagement than usual, as simply ignoring your customers will undoubtedly prove counterproductive to your holiday efforts.

7. Track, measure, and adjust

Finally, make sure you’re paying attention to your how your campaign is doing while it’s running.  Most social platforms allow you to access analytics that provide you with insights that are helpful in fine-tuning your holiday campaign for maximum impact. Additionally, by using Google’s free tools, you can track which searches are leading to your site and adjust your social accordingly if you like.  All campaigns are learning experiences, and the learning you can obtain from your holiday social media campaigns will only help you when “the most wonderful time of year” rolls around once again in 2018.

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful, and remember that LLD is always available to provide assistance with your digital marketing campaigns, holiday or otherwise.  In the meantime, we wish each and every one of you a wonderful and prosperous holiday, and all the best for the coming New Year!

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About Heather More from Heather

Hello! I'm the owner of Love Local Design, Heather Strycharz. When I'm not designing and building websites, I'm usually taking pictures and enjoying all that the New Haven area has to offer.

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