The Holidays and Social Media

For traditional marketers, the end of year holiday season marks a massive push in terms of advertisements. Unfortunately, when small businesses don’t realize the power they wield with social media, they miss out. The holidays can be a beneficial time to ramp up your social media efforts in order to attract new clients or customers.

All too often, small businesses don’t understand the importance of an active social media presence and suffer the consequences. Developing a strategy for your small business in terms of social media can be just as important as the right location. With the advent of social media, businesses have been allowed the freedom to reach customers and other businesses in new and inventive ways.

While a presence is important for every month of the year, the holidays allow for increased visibility and better brand recognition.  Potential customers pore over internet sites looking for the next big deal, and social media is no different. If you don’t have a social media plan in place for the holidays, develop one now, it’s not too late.

Simply having a Facebook page or a Twitter following is not enough, and neither is the sporadic posting of statuses. To have a well-rounded social media plan, consistency is key. For social media success, a business should post on a regular basis (3-4 times per week) with relevant, timely, and interesting content. For the holiday season, themed posts work brilliantly.

Social media posting does not always have to be a sales push. Intersperse sales information with attention-grabbing facts about your business. Give your business a face, as consumers like to know there is a human involved in the businesses they frequent. An anecdote about holiday traditions, photos of your decorated business, or your charitable efforts are always great tips for posting during the biggest shopping season of the year.

If you’re in a customer based business, get their attention and don’t just stick with the safe and traditional channels. Branch out to hot and fresh mediums like Snapchat, Instagram, or Pinterest.There are a variety of techniques that are useful in utilizing social media during the holidays.

Rewarding customers is a great way to get social media recognition. Offer $5 off of a sale for customers that “like” your page, follow you on Twitter, RT you, or re-pin some of your pins. A small discount can go a long way with attracting new customers and showing gratefulness to loyal customers. Plus, during the holiday season, consumers are always looking for any way to save.

Establish a Snapchat account for your business and offer teases of new holiday merchandise. Have people flocking to your business in droves by offering a discount via Snapchat that they won’t discover until they are at the register. Once they open the message in your store, the customers find out what percentage of discount they’re being offered.

Use Instagram to post photos of your decorating efforts in your store, ask for people’s opinions via comments, or award people that follow you and consistently like your photos. A well-timed photo can be extremely beneficial in attracting new people, especially if you’re offering a product only available in your business or offering a great discount on a hot product.

Businesses that make charitable contributions during the holidays are often popular. As a consumer, knowing that a portion of sales will go to charity is pretty powerful motivation to buy from that location. Use your social media to get the word out that your business is accepting donations, or that a percentage of your proceeds will be donated. Pick a charity that means something to your business or to your client base, and assuredly people will line up to participate.

If you’re a business that provides a service to consumers, offer an open house during the holidays, and use your social media accounts to publicize it. With a minimal amount spent, you offer customers the opportunity to meet the staff, experience the ambiance of your location, or simply socialize and network. A simple effort like an open house, backed by social media endorsement, can foster business relationships that will last long past the season.

Using a medium like YouTube, you can thank loyal customers for their dedication. You can also film a staff holiday party or an event, as it will provide a personality for your business. People enjoy feeling like they’ve gotten a look at something they wouldn’t typically see, and this can directly translate to new customers or repeat visits from solid customers.

The holidays can prove to be a powerful marketing tool via social media if utilized properly. Don’t allow your customers to feel that you’re capitalizing on their holiday spirit, however. There is a fine line between a holiday push and being overly aggressive. The number one recommendation for social media is to think about what you’d like to see as a consumer, and follow your own lead.

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