Now that Halloween is behind us, it’s time to focus on dusting off the decorations and preparing your company for holiday marketing opportunities. Starting to plan and perfect your strategy now will really pay off later, so you can enjoy the holidays stress-free with friends and family. When you’re eating Thanksgiving dinner or attending holiday tree-lighting festivals, you should be free to clear your mind and rest assured your company’s marketing is well-planned and running on its own. Keep reading to learn how to plan and execute a successful holiday marketing strategy.
Planning for the Holidays: How to Prime Your Marketing Strategy
Between marketing holiday discounts and promoting products or services to new or existing customers, this time of year is busy for business owners. Needless to say, it is common for many entrepreneurs to neglect some facets of their marketing campaigns simply because they lack the time to execute them effectively.
One of the greatest advantages of social media marketing is that it is an enjoyable activity for users, so they spend lots of time on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Unlike traditional journalism, which may not reach your intended audience due to paywalls or specialized readership, social media marketing allows individuals and businesses to relay information as quickly as they can to their audiences; this helps them target their messages in an effective way.
Social Media Spirit: Transform Your Profiles
As soon as November began, social media channels’ newsfeeds were inundated with holiday-related posts, videos and memes. With the holiday aesthetic creeping into every aspect of our lives, it is especially important to incorporate the same theme into your business and social media routines. Here are two simple ways for any social media or content marketer to customize their company’s Facebook page for the holiday season.
- Create Customized Images: Social networking sites like Facebook give ample opportunity for customization of photos. Start with your cover photo: find a holiday themed graphic or consider creating a custom photo using simple editing software like Canva. Next, you can customize your Facebook profile picture. It is common for businesses to keep their logo as their profile picture all year round, but the holiday season is the perfect time to spruce up the logo by adding a seasonal image like a candy cane or replace the logo with a picture of your team members decked out in holiday gear. Be sure to create images that are in line with the season, non-offensive, all-inclusive and have some sort of tie-in with your company’s brand or mission.
- Try a Holiday Ad Campaign: The holiday season is one of the most decorated seasons of the year; everything follows a certain color scheme and is used to induce some form of emotional response or nostalgia. With this is mind, consider creating Facebook ads that will run throughout the months of November/December with a subtle holiday theme. Why does advertising on social media matter? It’s because the holidays are one of the highest social media interactive seasons of the year! It is important to keep your fans and followers engaged throughout the season to remain top-of-mind.
Take Advantage of Marketing Holidays
This time of year, turn your focus on seasonal marketing events or promotions. Retail companies should have this down to an art, especially when it comes to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday or other specialized shopping deals. Here’s a primer on these holidays:
- Black Friday: Since this is the biggest shopping day of the year, you should definitely take advantage of this as a marketing opportunity in a new and exciting way. While being transparent with your marketing is important, being ready to take a risk can help boost business this holiday season. Whether it’s implementing an innovative social media marketing plan or participating in a giveaway, calculated risks can lead to high rewards for your small business.
- Small Business Saturday: If you’re a small business, you should get in on this relatively new holiday that aims to support the littler fish in the sea. According to the creators, “Small Business Saturday is the day we celebrate the Shop Small movement to drive shoppers to local merchants across the U.S. More than 200 organizations have already joined American Express OPEN, the company’s small business unit, in declaring the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday.”
- Cyber Monday: While Black Friday is traditionally for brick and mortar stores, Cyber Monday is for online businesses. If you sell products or services over the internet, get on board with this holiday by offering a discount or special promotion the Monday after Thanksgiving.
- Giving Tuesday: An opportunity to give back and show your support for your community, Giving Tuesday encourages shoppers to make donations and support companies with social responsibility. How can you get involved? Show your consumers why you enjoy giving back; after all, being a company who cares is good business!
Have you participated in Cyber Monday?
If you are not a retail location or don’t offer a specific product, consider running a special on your services or conduct a specialized holiday themed event such as a toy, coat or food drive. This will bring community support and attention to your social media page throughout the holidays, and all year round.
4 Inventive Holiday Marketing Ideas
To really engage your current and potential customers during the busiest time of the year, I recommend the following holiday marketing ideas:
- Rethink the Traditional: Take a lesson from Starbucks and try something non-traditional this holiday season. While the coffee giant has had different holiday-themed drink cups in years past, this year’s marketing promotion puts creativity into the hands of their customers with a cup you can color in yourself. This may not be an exact fit for your business, but there are ways you can rethink traditional efforts to sell your products and services. For example, ask your customers to create a holiday wish list of your items and share with their followers using a specific hashtag, then run a contest where one lucky consumer will win an item from their wish list.
- Hold an Instagram Photo Contest: The holidays are all about joy and fun, so showcase the humorous side to your business by hosting an Instagram contest. Encourage photos of ugly Christmas sweaters and ask your followers to post their ideas for a chance for a special holiday treat. Prizes can be as simple as a Santa Hat with your company logo or a holiday mug.
- Start Pinning Holiday Inspiration: If your small business isn’t using Pinterest, now is the time. From new products to crazy DIY holiday decorating ideas, you can connect to potential clients and customers by pinning any holiday inspired inspirations from your business. Don’t forget to create a Pinterest topic board or boards specific to your products or services; think gift ideas, wish lists, last minute gifts, etc.
- Ask Seasonal Questions: Try asking your followers to get in on the holiday spirit through themed questions with seasonal rewards, such as:
- Who’s excited for Christmas? Like this post for a chance to win free item!
- What’s your favorite Holiday song? Let us know for a chance to win!
- How many other words can you create from the word, “Holidays?” Share below for your chance to get 50% off your next purchase.
Advice for Managing Social Media Over the Holidays
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to be in multiple places at once, even though we might like to be, especially over the holiday season. Taking a break from work during the colder months of the year can be one of the best ways to refresh and unwind before ringing in the New Year. If your small business uses social media to reach out to customers, be sure to avoid neglecting accounts during the holidays by using social media scheduling sites and available monitoring tools. Then you can relax over the holiday season and enjoy your vacation time!
Be Patient, Marketing Success Takes Time
As much as you might want to, your company will not see overnight social media success. Even the largest companies started with zero followers at one point, but time and patience have proven that they can gain thousands of fans by regularly and consistently posting helpful, interesting content. What’s most important is appreciating the small victories and acknowledging small leaps of progression eventually lead to great success. Because of this, plan a marketing campaign that is realistic and that allows for baby steps.
Hire a Marketing Partner
We understand that as an entrepreneur, you are busy focusing on other aspects of your business; after all, your time and attention is what makes your company successful! However, sometimes it can be beneficial to hire an outside marketing partner to help take some of the duties off your plate. Martine Alphonse Consulting specializes in helping business owners and entrepreneurs promote their products, services and themselves in the media and also offers comprehensive social media marketing campaigns.