How to Leverage the Holidays in Your Social Media Strategy
For most consumer-focused brands, the holiday season is the most important, and of course, the most stressful. Customers are eager to spend, and it’s your last chance to push for big sales figures before the end of the year.
Stepping up your social media marketing efforts is one cost-efficient way to gain more followers for the holiday season, and increase conversions in your year-round follower base. But harnessing a holiday-focused social media strategy is about more than just posting a picture of Santa Claus and calling it a day. If you’re serious about increasing conversions throughout the end of the year, you’ll need to apply some bold new tactics to your existing strategy.
Maintain Your Voice
You’ll want to make some adjustments to your strategy over the course of the holiday season, but your roots need to remain the same. If your content voice suddenly transforms with the onset of the holidays, it could disrupt your audience. Remember, you’re speaking to the same audience, and you’re still the same brand. All the elements of your brand personality need to be evident in everything you post; for example, if your brand is formal and conservative, it wouldn’t make sense to post about “fun candy cane crafts for the family.”
Keep Your Content Evergreen—but Decorate It
You might be tempted to write blog posts centered around holiday themes. For example, if you sell car accessories, you could write about “car accessories that make great Christmas gifts.” However, this isn’t always a valuable strategy. Having such content onsite will give you a higher propensity to rank for seasonal phrases, but the content is dead in the water the moment January hits. Essentially, you’ll be writing content that’s valuable for one month instead of all twelve.
“Evergreen” content is content that stays valuable regardless of seasons, years, or any other changes with time, and it’s important to continue writing evergreen content even through the holidays. However, just like with real evergreen trees, you can decorate them for the season; you’ll just be using social media syndication instead of ornaments.
Let’s take the example above. Instead of building off a title like “car accessories that make great Christmas gifts,” you can simply eliminate the word “Christmas” and write a post around car accessories as any gift idea, which will last all year. Then, to take advantage of the season specifically, you can promote the post using seasonal content, such as “If you’re looking for an awesome Christmas gift idea, look no further! We have just the gift for your special someone” with a link to the otherwise evergreen content.
This type of strategy allows you to take simultaneous advantage of the permanence of your blog and the temporariness of social media.
Tease Reminders of the Season
As the season approaches, you can gently remind your audience of the impending holidays. If you start early with the intention of following through the actual dates, an obvious strategy is to start out slow and gradually build pace; for example, post once-a-week reminders that Christmas is coming through November, and escalate to once-a-day comments once December hits.
This is especially useful for e-commerce sites and other enterprises that rely on increased demand and purchasing decisions during the holidays. Playful comments like “only 20 shopping days until Christmas” will serve as a seasonal greeting, but have a subconscious effect that makes people think about all the shopping they still need to do.
One modicum of advice, however: your customers already know that Christmas is coming, and by mid-December, people are bombarded with holiday-themed messaging. If you hit the seasonal comments too heavily, you might actually turn some of your audience away.
Showcase Your Seasonal Items—or Make Your Items Seasonal
Not every company will be able to take advantage of this strategy, since it depends on having a line of products to sell. But if you’re a B2B company with no tangible products, you probably aren’t reading this article anyway.
Take a look at your product lines and pull out all your seasonal items—the obvious choices are holiday-themed items, like Christmas sweaters or reindeer toys. Somewhat less obvious choices are winter apparel and other seasonal items not specifically tied to a holiday. Even less obvious choices are any items that might make for good gift ideas, even if they have no significance to the holidays or winter in general.
Going through your products to find these candidates might take some time, but it’s important to have a functional working list. If you have an e-commerce site, it’s also a good idea to set up a separate product category for “Seasonal Items” or “Gift Ideas.”
This is a perfect opportunity for you to post pictures of popular seasonal items and frame them in creative captions that highlight their practicality and seasonal appropriateness, such as: “These earrings make the perfect gift for any high schooler” or “Don’t forget our toy selection is twenty percent off through Christmas.”
Drive Conversion More Than Engagement
For most of the year, your primary goal in social media should be engagement—increasing familiarity with the brand, building great relationships with your customers, and establishing trust with your followers. Conversion, or getting your customers to sign up or buy something, is secondary to that.
But the holiday season is characterized by an increase in consumer spending above all else, and you need to take advantage of that to get the most for your company. Accordingly, your conversion goals can take temporary priority over your engagement goals.
Don’t alienate your users with overabundant ads or pressure to buy items, but if you focus on engagement for eleven months out of the year, you’ll have earned enough trust and respect to increase your sales efforts. Push discounts and promotional offers frequently, and don’t be afraid to break one of the fundamental rules of social media marketing—never directly selling to the consumer—as long as you wrap your sales effort in a holiday-themed message.
Remember That Holidays Are Holidays
Finally, bear in mind that while sales are up and consumerism is rampant, the holidays are still a time for people to enjoy their families and friends. As the actual celebration days approach, tone down your sales rhetoric, and replace it with more compassionate, calming, and welcoming messaging. Few people will access social media on Christmas day, but those that do will want to see a heartwarming wish for a happy holiday, not a self-serving brand promotion. Temper all your sales and marketing efforts with a healthy dose of human emotion, and take the time to thank all your customers for their loyalty throughout the year.
Applying these strategies through November and December can help you take advantage of the increase in consumer spending associated with the holiday season. For the most part, you’ll want to keep your overall social strategy consistent, with a similar voice and posting frequency. But your individual posts should cater to people who are looking for gifts and enjoying the holiday season. Wrap your core posts in a shell of holiday spirit, and you’ll reap the rewards of greater conversion rates and of course, a greater stream of revenue to propel you to the end of the year.
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