The holiday season brings out an extra dose of shopping, marketing messages and stress. How can businesses use this time of the year to their advantage without overwhelming their customers? The answer is balancing between promotional, community building, and research-based holiday posts.
With this being the premier time for shopping, while also being the season that most companies achieve their highest revenues, holiday promotions probably sound like a no-brainer. However, with all the other holiday sale chatter on social media, it is difficult to differentiate your brand from the other companies’ posts on Facebook and Twitter. The typical “use this link for 15% off” will still drive some web sales, but may not garner its usual numbers due to increased competition. Customers are being constantly bombarded with messages this time of year, so adding interest or engagement with any holiday promotions is vital. One example of taking social media promotions to the next level is Gander Mountain, an outdoor retailer. Their social media pages rewarded customers for sharing their products on Facebook and Twitter by reducing that item’s price by a certain percentage per share each day. This prompted customers to share the company’s content, while also driving the action of purchasing that day to both get the discount and avoid the inventory selling out.
There are two different ways to take a holiday approach to community building on social media: company-focused and customer-focused. As expected, the customer-focused content should outweigh the company-focused. However, sharing pictures of your holiday party or employee ugly sweater contest can be a fun way for customers to get a look behind the scenes, while also connecting a face to your product. Customer-focused community building can range from asking about holiday traditions or what customers are looking forward to this holiday season to something even more interactive. Customers will be looking at brands to inspire them, so posting gift ideas relevant to them (whether or not they are your product) will help establish a brand as a thought-leader.
Lastly, the holidays are an opportune time to use social media for market research. Using various platforms to discover what your customers are wanting or how they plan on using your product is invaluable information. Using this information can help decide strategies for the upcoming year, along with giving brands ideas to further engage customers the next holiday season.
An important thing to note is that only one of these reasons directly has to do with sales. While social media is a great way to facilitate sales, and the holiday season is a natural time to increase sales objectives, the combination of holidays and social media can generate other advantages for brands as well. Building a community and establishing oneself as a thought-leader can provide future sales opportunities and brand loyalty that can generate more long-term advantages.