This year’s holiday retail season is predicted to be the strongest since 2011, and that’s good news for business owners. But sales are no longer limited to brick and mortar stores, and holiday advertising via the much-awaited Sears Christmas catalog are a fond but distant memory. Consumers want to shop in person, online and via social media. Are you ready to handle the holiday rush? Here are 10 social media tips for the holidays to help you celebrate the season with more sales:
CREATE A HOLIDAY-THEMED POSTING ROUTINE
Think about the message you want to send through social media over the holidays and create a posting routine that works for you. Try to post at least once a day, and increase your posts whenever possible. If your holiday schedule is jam-packed, schedule them in advance. The key is consistency.
Clients don’t distinguish between what you’re offering in your place of business, online and through social media. They see you as one big brand, so be consistent throughout your marketing efforts. Create a memorable logo and tagline or slogan, and use them everywhere on social media. An example is “Mary’s Day Spa — Pampering Perfection!” Also, always include your contact information when you post in social media — clients won’t look things up if they don’t have to.
MIX IT UP
It’s a good idea to post regularly and diversely on social media networks. On Monday you could post a fun fact on Twitter about your industry; Tuesday could be a YouTube video showing a treatment you’re offering just for the holidays; Wednesday could be a Facebook reminder for a holiday open house you’re having for your best clients, and so on. However, since Facebook and Pinterest are currently responsible for most referrals to retailer websites, pay extra attention to those campaigns.
PLANT A SEED WITH GIFT GUIDES
Gift guides are a fun way to increase engagement on social media and get clients thinking about what they’re going to purchase and for whom. Include a little humor or attractive visuals to increase the likelihood that your posts will be shared. One day you could share “Best Gifts for Your Kids’ Teacher” (like soothing facials to calm their frazzled nerves). On another day, you could post “Great Gifts for Dudes” (laser hair removal, aka “manscaping,” might be at the top of that list).
GO FOR THE SOFT SELL
Yes, ‘tis the season for giving (and buying), but few people like being bombarded with sales pitch type social media posts that are obvious attempts to boost your bottom line. Instead of posting “Try our new holiday facial,” you could post a blog on how to get glowing skin for the holidays with a lead-in on how and where to get it. Also, most social media network experts suggest the 80/20 rule, which means that about 80 percent of your posts should be informative, fun or intended to drive interaction with your followers, with only 20 percent trying to sell clients something through special promotions and product links.
BE A GOOD LISTENER
Client engagement is key in social media, so interact with them by providing opportunities for THEM to do the talking. People love to talk about themselves, so try asking followers to share the best, and worst, gift they ever received or how they plan to incorporate some relaxation time during the hustle and bustle.
KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF SHARING
It’s important to be generous, but in this case I’m talking about sharing on social media. The more humorous, outrageous, poignant or enticing the post, the more likely it will be shared with hundreds or even thousands of others. Include holiday-related giveaways, too, such as “Register to win a free gift basket with skin glowing products — just for liking us on Facebook!” Sharing on social media gives you a significant amount of free advertising, so be sure your brand, logo and contact information are featured somewhere prominent in the post.
SPEAKING OF GENEROSITY…
Aligning your business with something that’s special or personal to you, such as a charity or nonprofit organization, just makes good sense. The holidays are the perfect time to take advantage (in a good way) of seasonal generosity and promote your good cause on social media by donating a percentage of your revenue to the organization. It’s a win-win for everyone involved — the charity, your client and you.
START EARLY AND SET REMINDERS
A lot of people start shopping early, so launch your holiday social media campaigns at the very beginning of the season. Start no later than Black Friday, or even Thanksgiving Eve, when millions of people are sharpening up their credit cards. But keep in mind those folks who wait until the last second, you’ll want to capture them too, with short reminders leading all the way up the actual holiday(s).
THE POWER OF VIDEO
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then on social media, a video is worth about a million (potential viewers, that is). The number of videos posted on Facebook last year increased 3.6 times from the prior year, and Tweets with images receive 18 percent more clicks, 89 percent more favorites and 150 percent more re-tweets. Creative, holiday-related visual content (even cute clips from holiday movies such as “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” or “Home Alone”) will get you more engagement and hopefully, more sales.