Right now, marketers – especially retailers – are entrenched in discussions about holiday marketing. Nearly half think online holiday revenues will grow 10% or more over last year (eMarketer). Brands are looking for ways to leverage existing technology to drive sales and spread the word about holiday-related deals, with many turning to Facebook and Twitter to kickoff contests, promotions, and more.
Promoting your holiday efforts through Facebook posts and tweets is important, but adding even more social elements to your strategy can boost your return. Here’s five ways how:
1. Introduce Email to Social: Email continues to generate one of the strongest returns in online marketing. If you haven’t introduced your email program to social, now’s the time. A strong call to action in holiday emails can make budget-conscious shoppers aware that sharing a deal with a friend is part of getting into the holiday spirit. Include ways for recipients to share your email with their networks on social channels, as well as links to your company’s social presences.
2. Find the perfect mix of good timing, great deals, and choice of channel: Coupons and deals are everywhere during the holiday season, so making sure they get to your audience through the channels they use most and at the times they are most useful is key. In mid-December 2009, Shoutlet customer Rayovac batteries created a widget that offered a generous coupon on its newly created Facebook page – and the outpouring of positive comments by parents needing to power holiday toys was incredible. By collecting emails through the sign-up widget on Facebook and sending coupons via email, they were also able to grow their email database by more than 8,000 in 5 days. What would work for your customer base? Whether it’s a deal with a mobile twist, video that clicks through to a promo code, or a contest powered by UGC, finding the right mix can help you meet your goals.
3. Make it relevant – and let your community help: Far from a new concept, making your content relevant to your audience and your product is as important to social media as any other area of marketing – even when your product has no obvious holiday angle. Social media adds an extra layer: Enlist your fans and followers in “holiday-izing” your message and getting involved in the conversation. Sell tires? Post tips for making sure families get to grandma’s house safely, then ask them to tweet their favorite holiday road trip traditions for a chance to win a brand new set. But keep it simple. Customers’ to-do lists are long, and there’s 11 other months to roll out a more complex social media initiative.
4. Turn your Facebook page into a social shopping hub – If you’re an e-commerce retailer, you can easily turn a Facebook custom tab into a social shopping experience for your fans. With Shoutlet’s Shop & Share™ feature, pull your product feed into a custom tab and give your fans a social extension of your e-commerce site (see a live example). Fans can share items with friends on Facebook and on other social networks and get advice on purchases. For your brand, offering exclusive Facebook deals and adding a required “like” to access a Facebook shopping tab can gather new fans while serving up share-worthy holiday savings.
5. Save yourself some time: Even marketers have to throw parties and shop for gifts. Save yourself some time this holiday by investing in a social relationship platform this fall. Platforms like Shoutlet make you a more efficient social media marketer by providing your team with a web-based hub for managing social. Plus, features like Facebook Fan Page Management and widgets give customers quick, fun content they can share. Your whole team will get more done and see better results in less time, which will be in short supply when the cocktail parties and winter snowstorms hit.
What are you doing in social media for holiday 2010? What are your predictions for how brands will utilize social tools during the shopping season? Tell us in the comments.