It's nearly Halloween and you must have heard it through the grapevine that if you haven't already started planning for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season, then you're already too late.
Engagement with potential customers for the holiday season starts way before the temperature begins to drop outside. If you're late to the party, here are a few tips to help you cash in this year and get the ball rolling for next year.
This month we asked the experts: What are your best social campaign strategies for the holiday season?
Build engagement and conversation now on social platforms - the more interaction you have prior to the holiday sales season, the better.
Facebook limits reach even more than usual during the holiday selling season, so the more proactive interaction you have before you need eyes on your content, the better organic reach you will get, even when Facebook limits reach. You will also see less expensive cost per click rates, during and after the holiday selling season, than others who have not made an effort to build engagement proactively.
Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, HannahStonehouseHudson.com
For the holiday season, get out of the over-saturated paid ads and into your customers feeds with influencer marketing.
Influencers can share all your latest promotions, as well as giving genuine recommendations and reviews of your products. Reach out to a handful of influencers that post in a similar niche as your brand to power your campaigns, then allow them to share with their audiences in a way that feels real. Send them a few products so that they are able to share a bit about your best-sellers, or any item that you're specifically promoting for the holidays. You'll get a steady stream of traffic going to your site, which will definitely boost the holiday sales!
Sarah Donawerth, Carro
Before doing anything, dive into your campaign analytics for your previous holiday season performance and see what worked with the campaign and what didn't. Chances are you have valuable insights hidden in the data points,and this real-world data will set goals for your upcoming campaign.
Once you have a goal in mind its time to decide what it will look like. Consistency of your messaging is important and it should feel like it's part of one greater story. Every post should have a similar feel that aligned with the holidays which can be achieved through branding concept (like brand colors, fonts, visual identity, tone of voice or humor), timeline, and promotional strategy. This will get the audience into the holiday spirit and associate it with your brand so when they are ready to purchase you are top of mind.
Tanaka Parayiwa, Revium
I have three tips for handling holiday social media campaigns (assuming you're probably in a B2C environment where Black Friday is a key part of the sales cycle):
1) Aggressive re-targeting of leads with holiday-themed ads. Get people who've browsed your website or stories a reason to be excited about buying your product as a gift either for themselves or a loved one.
2) Make especially wholesome content. Do something good this year that you can share with followers and win some good PR/karma by doing so. Not that there's ever a bad time to be nice instead of naughty, but with the way the news cycle these days is especially fraught with endless hysteria and anger, it's certainly nice to give your audience something heart-warming or just plain funny to enjoy and get their minds off all the bad things going in the world.
3) When it doubt, stick to what you know. If Black Friday represents a major share of commerce, you probably shouldn't take a risk by doing something completely different. Use slower sales quarters for testing out rebrand concepts, new hashtags, or rolling out a presence on a new social network (right now a lot of businesses are just starting to try out TikTok, for example). Beware the learning curve and don't make any dumb mistakes. Whatever your strategy is, if it's given you success thus far you can probably tweak it for the holidays. Just save the major changes for later when there's less at stake!
Jake Rheude, Red Stag Fulfillment
Market research is vital for any marketing plan but often this is carried out by traditional means such as through surveys, focus groups etc. In this digital age it's important to carry out tangible keyword research using tools such as Google Keyword Planner to find out just how many people are searching for your product or service, what type of searches they are making, the intent behind it and the information they are looking for.
You can also use Google Trends to get a clear idea of how popular a certain keyword or entire niche has been over the past months or years. This is vital information to include in a marketing plan as you ideally want your product or service to be on an upward curve in terms of popularity and searches and you can also identify new demographics, regional or international markets to target based on this data.
Stuart Cooke, Levity Digital
Two huge challenges facing online retailers this holiday season are managing increasing ad costs and reaching target audiences. Incorporating artificial intelligence into paid social campaigns is the best solution for both of these challenges.
Because AI analyzes billions of consumer data points, it is able to determine how marketers can most effectively interact with their target audiences, as well as discover the biggest ways to save costs on their campaigns while increasing results. AI alerts users how to update ad placement, audience analysis and creative concepts, so they can decrease spend and maximize results.
For example, if millennial audiences are being drawn to ads with red bows rather than silver tinsel, and those ads are performing best on Instagram, marketers can update the ads in a moment for that audience's current preference.
J. Talyor, Pattern89