Creating a Holiday Social Media Strategy: 7 Must-Haves

Holiday Social Media Strategy

Holiday sales continue to rise year after year. Unfortunately, as you’re probably already aware, this rich retail environment results in a lot of white noise when it comes to holiday promotions.

With what seems like every other business out there running splashy ads in magazines and on every TV channel, it can be difficult to see where and how you’ll stand out if you don’t have a big budget.

Fortunately, there are other options to explore that don’t have to bust your holiday marketing budget. Social media gives companies of any size and budget access to millions of people through both paid and organic advertising. Here’s your guide to creating a holiday social media strategy that gets results.

Importance of Having a Holiday Social Media Strategy

holiday social media strategy

The holiday season is synonymous with heightened consumer activity. For many businesses, this period can account for a substantial portion of their annual sales.

As social media continues to play an increasingly pivotal role in influencing consumer decisions, having a dedicated holiday social media strategy is not just beneficial; it’s essential.

Such a strategy ensures that businesses remain top-of-mind for consumers, capture a significant share of holiday spending, and foster brand loyalty.

A holiday-specific social media strategy enables businesses to:

  1. Engage with a Captive Audience: The festive season sees consumers actively seeking gift ideas, deals, and holiday-specific products. A timely and appealing social media campaign can capture this heightened interest and drive traffic and sales.
  2. Differentiate from Competitors: A unique and compelling social media strategy can set a business apart from its competitors. In a season flooded with promotions and advertisements, standing out is crucial.
  3. Promote Special Offers: The holidays are when businesses roll out some of their most enticing deals. Social media provides a direct and effective channel to publicize these offers and attract potential customers.
  4. Build Brand Loyalty: Engaging content, coupled with responsive customer service on social media platforms, can enhance the customer experience. A positive interaction during the holiday season can foster long-term brand loyalty.
  5. Increase Brand Visibility: The viral nature of social media means that popular content can quickly reach a vast audience. Encouraging shares, likes, and comments can exponentially increase a brand’s visibility during this peak shopping period.
  6. Gather Consumer Insights: The interactions and feedback on social media platforms can provide valuable insights into consumer preferences, helping businesses refine their offerings and strategies.

In conclusion, as the lines between social media and commerce continue to blur, it’s imperative for businesses to harness the power of these platforms, especially during the holiday season.

A well-executed holiday social media strategy not only ensures immediate sales boosts but also sets the stage for sustained engagement and loyalty throughout the upcoming year.

How to Craft Your Holiday Social Media Strategy

If you want to build the kind of buzz that leads to sales this holiday season, here are essential elements your holiday social media strategy must have.

Choose the Best Platforms

holiday social media strategy

In order to avoid having your company become a social media holiday horror story, be choosy about which social media platforms you’ll use. Don’t try to be on so many platforms and post so often that you tax your staff and resources beyond their abilities.

Unfortunately, being too busy and multitasking on social media can lead to abandoned feeds or, even worse, nightmare stories of mistakes gone viral. Instead, focus on the platforms where your paying customers are most likely to be, and be consistent about how you’ll engage them on these networks.

Focus on platforms where your target audience is most active. For a younger demographic, consider Instagram and TikTok, while Facebook and LinkedIn might be more suitable for a mature audience.

Utilize analytics tools to gauge engagement and tailor your strategy for each platform. This focused approach ensures your message reaches the right audience effectively.

Create Social Media Only Promotions

holiday social media strategy

One way to increase engagement over the holiday season when crafting your holiday social media strategy is to offer special deals only to those who follow you on social media.

The likelihood is high that people will share these deals with their friends and family by sharing and retweeting, leading to additional followers and brand exposure.

Whether it’s free gift wrapping in your store or a special discount on an online purchase, use social media based promotions to your benefit.

Create unique promotions exclusive to your social media followers. Utilize hashtags to monitor the campaign’s reach and engagement. Offer limited-time flash sales to create urgency. Partnering with influencers can amplify your reach, bringing these exclusive deals to a wider audience.

Advertise Free Shipping

holiday social media strategy

Go straight to your customers to find out what they want most. According to one recent survey, 46.7% of consumers said free shipping or other shipping promotions are important factors in their decision of where to shop.

And since consumers plan to spend 46% of their shopping dollars online this holiday season, this is an important consideration.

If you’re able to offer free shipping without destroying your profit margins, make sure your social promotions mention this perk, or offer special “free shipping” coupon codes to your social media followers alone.

Emphasize your free shipping offers with vibrant visuals and testimonials that highlight convenience and efficiency. Create engaging videos showcasing the care in packaging and shipping, making this logistical aspect a highlight of your customer service.

Use Giveaways to Build Your Email List

holiday social media strategy

Because people interact with businesses so much more frequently during the holidays, it’s a great time to use social media to run a list-building giveaway.

People are always interested in freebies and deals, but that interest reaches a fever pitch in November and December. And you can harness this to build a list that you’ll be able to leverage into the new year.

You can take advantage of this when crafting your holiday social media strategy by doing a drawing, creating an online game, or awarding something to followers who share a specific promotion with their family and friends on social media.

Just be sure you’re aware of the social media platform’s Terms of Service, as well as any local rules and restrictions, surrounding contests. The last thing you want is for your holiday giveaway to be shut down after running afoul of local laws.

Use giveaways strategically to build your email list. Design interactive, visually appealing posts, and incorporate gamification elements like quizzes or puzzles. This not only engages your audience but also turns your social media followers into email subscribers.

Use Pictures and Video

holiday social media strategy

All social media platforms, even Twitter, report higher user engagement when pictures are a part of the post that’s shared. To take advantage of this interest, find or create pictures and videos that share specific deals, or simply post pictures that give a behind-the-scenes look at your store during the holidays.

Creative companies even use pictures and video to create social media games – anything from a scavenger hunt to an animated challenge – to engage customers and drive additional sharing of their content.

Even if you don’t have the resources to create a JibJab-like experience (in 2007, the company’s “Elf Yourself” campaign generated 193 million website visitors for OfficeMax), you can still use pictures and videos on a smaller scale to pique your customers’ interest.

Invest in creating high-quality, festive-themed visuals. Share behind-the-scenes footage and utilize user-generated content to showcase real-life experiences with your products. This approach adds authenticity to your brand and enhances customer engagement.

Personalize the Customer Experience

holiday social media strategy

Customers love a personalized shopping experience. When crafting your holiday social media strategy, take advantage of the data available on social media, from your followers’ location to their ages and interests, to personalize their experience accordingly.

For example, use the targeting features of Facebook ads to reach a very specific demographic with your message.

You can also refer to you customer by their online name in comment replies and keep up a dedicated customer service presence on social media. Essentially, the idea is to find ways to wow your customers during the holidays to drive repeat business during the rest of the year.

Leverage data analytics to deliver personalized messages and offers. Use social media polls and surveys to gather insights and tailor your campaigns, creating a more personalized and effective marketing experience.

Provide Great Customer Service on Social Media

holiday social media strategy

No sales funnel is complete without the amazing customer service needed to drive repeat business and referrals after the holidays. Just don’t think that you’re limited to launching promotions and facilitating customer interactions on social media.

Many companies, including JetBlue and Nike, rock at customer service across Twitter and beyond.

However you reach your customers, it’s crucial that you know how to respond quickly to questions and complaints, and how and when to direct an unhappy customer off social and into a phone call or email conversation.

Don’t stop at tracking mentions of your company. Track keywords and hashtags as well to find opportunities to respond to even more customers.

Prepare your team for increased holiday inquiries on social media. Implement tools like chatbots for quick responses and share holiday shopping tips and FAQs proactively to address common customer concerns.

Overcoming Common Social Media Challenges During the Holidays

The holiday season brings unique challenges in managing social media for retailers. Increased customer activity can lead to a deluge of inquiries and comments, often requiring swift and effective responses. Retailers need to prepare for potential stock shortages or delivery delays, which are common during this busy period.

  • Prepare a Response Strategy: Develop a comprehensive plan to address common customer questions, complaints, or feedback. This can include crafting standard responses for frequently asked questions and setting up automated replies for basic inquiries.
  • Boost Your Social Media Team: Consider expanding your social media team temporarily to handle the increased volume of interactions. Providing additional training to ensure all team members are aligned with your brand voice and holiday strategy is also crucial.
  • Utilize Social Media Tools: Implement social media management tools to streamline processes like scheduling posts, monitoring mentions, and tracking customer engagement. These tools can help you stay organized and responsive.
  • Communicate Proactively: Use your social media platforms to inform customers about potential delays, stock issues, or changes in store hours. Transparency in communication can mitigate frustration and build trust.

Integrating Social Media with Other Holiday Marketing Efforts

To maximize the impact of your holiday marketing, it’s essential to integrate your social media efforts with other marketing channels. This approach ensures a consistent message across all platforms and leverages each channel’s strengths to engage customers effectively.

  • Coordinate with Email Marketing: Align your social media campaigns with your email marketing efforts. For instance, tease an upcoming email promotion on social media or use email to drive followers to your social media profiles for exclusive content.
  • Link to In-Store Promotions: Use social media to highlight in-store events or promotions. Encourage customers to visit your store by showcasing unique in-store experiences or exclusive products available only offline.
  • Cross-Promote on Different Channels: Share your social media content across other digital platforms like your website or blog. Similarly, promote your website and blog content on your social media platforms to drive traffic.
  • Create Unified Campaign Themes: Ensure that your holiday campaign theme is consistent across all channels. This unified approach strengthens brand recognition and reinforces your marketing message.
  • Leverage Social Media Insights: Use insights gained from social media, such as popular products or customer preferences, to inform your broader holiday marketing strategy, including product placement, store layout, and promotional offers.

By addressing these challenges and integrating social media with other marketing efforts, you can create a robust and cohesive holiday marketing strategy that resonates with customers and drives sales.

I know you’ve already got a lot on your plate, but a holiday social media strategy helps ensure you don’t miss out on the billions of dollars that will be spent online this holiday season.

By incorporating these seven must-haves into your business’ holiday social media strategy, you’ll be well on your way to holiday sales success.

Components of a Holiday Social Media StrategyDescription
Choose the Best PlatformsSelect specific social media platforms to prioritize, focusing on those where your customers are most active. Being overly ambitious can lead to stretched resources and potentially damaging mistakes. It's vital to maintain consistency in engagement across chosen platforms, ensuring quality over quantity.
Create Social Media Only PromotionsGenerate increased interest by offering exclusive deals and promotions only available to your social media followers. Such exclusivity encourages users to share these deals, leading to enhanced brand visibility and potentially more followers.
Advertise Free ShippingUnderstand what your customers value the most. Many consumers are influenced by shipping promotions. By highlighting free shipping offers, especially to online shoppers, you can significantly increase your sales. Exclusive shipping discount codes for social media followers can also be a powerful incentive.
Use Giveaways to Build Your Email ListThe holidays present an opportune moment to expand your email database. Leverage the increased engagement by introducing giveaways, online games, or rewards for sharing specific promotions. However, always ensure compliance with platform-specific guidelines and local regulations when running these campaigns.
Use Pictures and VideoVisual content consistently shows higher engagement across all social media platforms. Share engaging photos and videos showcasing special deals, or provide a behind-the-scenes view of your operations during the holiday season. Creative games or challenges using visual elements can further enhance customer participation and content sharing.
Personalize the Customer ExperienceCraft a tailored shopping experience for your customers. Utilize the vast amounts of data available on social media, such as demographic information, to deliver personalized content. Techniques can range from using targeted ads on platforms like Facebook to directly addressing customers by their online usernames. The goal is to captivate your audience and ensure they return even after the holiday season.
Provide Great Customer Service on Social MediaExtend your excellent customer service practices to social media. Companies can significantly benefit from actively addressing concerns, questions, and feedback on platforms like Twitter. It's imperative to respond promptly and know when to transition a conversation from public view to a more private channel. Monitoring not just mentions of your brand but also related keywords and hashtags can unearth additional opportunities to interact with customers.

What’s the most vital part of your holiday social media strategy?

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Sujan Patel Sujan Patel has championed Internet marketing and entrepreneurship for over a decade. His experience, ideas, and strategies have helped hundreds of companies build and strengthen their businesses online. Sujan is the VP of Marketing at thisCLICKS, the makers of When I Work — an employee scheduling software solution for small businesses.