December is a time for retailers to be merry, with Australians expected to spend $9.77 billion on gifts alone this Christmas. You can take advantage of the holidays with these smart social media tactics.
Why should I use social media?
While traditional promotional activities can be expensive, social media is a great way to generate brand awareness while keeping costs under control. A newspaper ad will only reach a limited readership, but a Facebook post can be shared by hundreds or thousands at the click of button. That doesn’t mean you should replace all your existing marketing activity with social media, but you can use it to support your current strategy. So if Santa will be visiting for an in-store promotion, share details on social media to generate extra interest.
Get into the spirit
Your followers like to see that you’re getting into the spirit of the season and not just trying to promote your own products. Use this opportunity to give your social media platforms a holiday facelift. For example:
- Upload festive cover images on your social media profiles in the lead-up to Christmas. Make them personal and use a picture of your in-store Christmas tree or your freshly baked gingerbread house
- Post messages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn wishing followers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. With fewer people sending Christmas cards these days, it’s a good way to connect with those you may not see in person
- Create relevant content to help your followers throughout the season. Create a Pinterest board with images of Christmas gift ideas and link each pin back to your online store so it generates visits. If you sell home decor, suggest ways people can decorate their Christmas table. Or if you’re a cafe owner, offer New Year’s Eve catering services
- If you’re showing at a trade show or fair, why not let people know where they can find you?
Of course, the best way to really make your brand personality shine is by talking to people. Regardless of which social media platform you’re on, respond to people’s comments and thank them for sharing or complimenting your business.
Encourage sharing and clicks
Social sharing is one of the best ways to expand your potential customer base and raise brand awareness. This is when other people share what you post on social media. Some ideas to try include:
- In the lead-up to Christmas Eve you could have an online advent calendar. Post a picture of what’s behind each window on Instagram, and offer a daily giveaway to people who like, comment or repost your image
- Mention your community giving program on Facebook and ask customers, business partners and suppliers to share the post. You could even include a link back to your website extending the opportunity for others to participate in the sharing, building brand awareness and demonstrating your Christmas spirit
- Tweet about the specials you have available during the Boxing Day sales with links direct to your online store so people can buy immediately and avoid the queues
- Share cute or funny memes that show off your brand personality while wishing your followers “Happy New Year”. After all, no one can resist sharing a good joke or cute kitten
- Help your followers keep their New Year’s resolutions by running a competition for people to share low-calorie recipes or suggestions on how to help them break their bad habits
Whether you’re just starting out on social media or have a longstanding following, you can always reach a broader audience using hashtags. Hashtags are used on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Google+ to help people search for related information. You can use an existing hashtag or create one of your own. For example:
- In the days leading up to Christmas, try #christmaseve, #christmasgift, #christmasiscoming or #xmasoffers
- On Christmas Day you can be even more specific with hashtags like #merrychristmas, #christmastime or #christmasparty
- Once Boxing Day sales start, try #boxingdaysales or #boxdayoffer
- On New Year’s Day, use #newyearsresolution, #newyearnewyou or #detoxjanuary
If you’re running a competition over the festive season, don’t forget to include a hashtag like #contestalert, #giveaway or #sweepstakes. You can also use hashtags to tell people a bit about what you’re trying to promote like #gourmetfood or #homerenovation.
Just remember: while hashtags are useful, it’s best to keep them relevant and not overdo it. Usually a couple of hashtags in each post is sufficient.
December is the biggest month on the retail calendar, so make the most of the opportunity without breaking the bank. With some smart social media campaigns you can bring in more customers and build your brand awareness.
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