Attention retail brands and marketers! There’s only 70 shopping days left before Christmas! Even though Halloween is still on the horizon, store aisles are already being stocked with Christmas décor. And no wonder, as a recent Adroll study showed 40% of U.S. consumers begin holiday shopping in October—yet the average social cost per click is 12% lower in November and December.
With social media playing an increasingly important role for retail brands, it’s time to start preparing your holiday marketing strategies. To that end, here are six tips for effective social marketing that can help you maximize results for the busiest shopping season of the year.
1. Start Prepping Early
Technically, prepping to monetize social for this year’s holiday season would have begun on December 26, 2017. No, that’s not a typo. But don’t be alarmed; that just means appropriately tracking the audiences from your marketing tactics over the first 10 months of the year. It’s a marketing funnel: from January through October you’re building a top-of-funnel audience pool you can later push toward conversion with conversion-focused CTAs.
Facebook makes it easy with several ways to create custom audiences for retargeting campaigns. You can:
- Add a pixel to your website to allow Facebook/Instagram to retarget visitors or people who have taken specific actions on your site (like adding something to their cart but not completing a purchase)
- Upload email lists from customer/conversion data, email newsletter lists, lead-gen forms/content downloads, offline events, etc.
- Target users who have actively engaged with your Facebook/Instagram Pages, interacted with certain ad campaigns, or are following one of your Pages
2. Take Advantage of Social Ecommerce
It’s time to capitalize on all that work you put into growing your digital brand footprint. While consumers will venture out and try new things for themselves, when shopping for others they stick to what they know and trust, especially during the hectic holiday season. This makes those custom retargeting audiences one of the most important assets in your holiday marketing toolkit, but only if you tailor ads based on the data you have about them.
Along with Facebook’s expanded organic ecommerce options, Dynamic Ads enable businesses to create an even more personal ad experience for their audiences. Put simply, you’re able to upload your product catalog to create campaigns that target certain products to specific audiences based on their online browsing behaviors and what they’ve viewed on your site. While Dynamic Ads are especially useful for retargeting efforts, you can also build behavioral-based lookalike audiences in lieu of running general interest-based prospecting.
To add an extra pop to your seasonal campaigns, Facebook has released holiday-themed Dynamic Ad overlays using keywords likely to attract audiences, like Black Friday and sale indicators. These holiday-themed overlays are an easy way to add a bit of seasonal flair to your existing content to help it stand out from your evergreen campaigns.
3. Run Influencer Campaigns
While older generations turned to celebrity endorsements to decide what products to invest in, millennials and Gen Z-ers are more often persuaded by fellow social-ites known as influencers. With feeds being overly saturated with brand content during the holidays, influencers provide an authentic way to not only increase brand awareness, but to also drive conversion when you incorporate discount codes, contests, or even simply providing your influencers with custom, trackable links.
But don’t just leave all the work up to your influencers. Include sponsored posts in your daily community management efforts. Responding to comments on the influencers’ posts will increase both your reach and consideration.
4. Incorporate User-Generated Content (UGC)
We’ve all seen the “Expectation vs. Reality” meme that continues to make the rounds online. Younger generations are quick to call out brands who use inauthentic, staged product photos that don’t reflect real-life experiences. There’s nothing more authentic than a photo organically shared by one of your customers. Incorporating UGC into your social calendars is one of the easiest ways to showcase real, positive experiences with your brand. Plus, it’s free content you can use to bulk up your calendar! Just don’t forget to ask for the user’s permission before sharing, and always tag them in the post.
5. Increase Community Management
Social natives expect businesses to respond almost instantaneously. And when they have questions while shopping or interacting with your brand online, that expectation is intensified. To help ensure you don’t lose a sale from a question or frustration going unanswered during peak online shopping times, such as not during your normal business hours, consider quicker social response times during November and December.
And my top recommendation for driving ROI during the holiday shopping season…
6. Run Data-Driven Campaigns
No one knows your brand like you do. And no one knows what actually works for your brand on social like you do. Regardless of what high-awareness brands like Coca-Cola and REI may lead you to believe, the holidays are not the time to try something new or go for the gimmick . . . especially when they have the potential to drive your highest sales of the year. Take what you’ve learned from previous campaigns and apply them to your holiday social strategy. Use what has already been successful and adapt it to your holiday goals.
With the holidays accounting for as much as 30% of a retailer’s total sales, there’s a lot at stake. The good news is that there is still time to maximize the full potential of your social outreach efforts. Drop us a line to learn how Sagepath can help make your holiday marketing merry and bright by increasing inbound traffic and decrease marketing costs for greater brand loyalty and conversion.