Tis' the season for shopping and increased social media engagement, whether you're a retail brand or a small business, it can make all the difference this holiday season.
According to a Yesmail Interactive report, 50 major retailers social campaigns showed that engagement peaks in the days before stores open for the shopping frenzy.
With Black Friday 2014 just a few days away, big box retailers like Target, Walmart and Best Buy have already began promoting their deals much earlier than in years past.
As deal seeking consumers are turning to social media to find out who's opening at what time and offering the best #BlackFridayDeals around, below are 5 helpful tips:
1. Post Often and Use Hash-tags:
Leading up to Black Friday, including on Thanksgiving day, customers will flock online to research what deals are being offered at their favorite stores.
Use your brand's print ad to create an editorial calendar with content you can schedule to post periodically across your brand's social accounts. Don't limit posts to only Facebook, expand out to Twitter where you can use hash-tags such as: #BlackFridayDeals and #Thanksgiving to index your tweets into the search results.
Twitter works very much like a search engine, tweet often using relevant (trending) hash-tags to optimize visibility. Instagram is similar in nature with hash-tags and stunning, print-like photography.
2. Monitor for Engagement:
Customers tend to tune-out what's not relevant to them. While posting your brands Black Friday deals ahead of time is good practice, don't clutter your feed with promotional content only.
Instead, listen to what customers are saying about Black Friday - especially mentions related to your brand. Often times customers are already speaking about your brand however not always do they remember to tag your brand with the "@" symbol on Twitter, use social listening tools such as: Sprout Social or HootSuite to identify brand mentions.
What's great about Twitter is the aspect of being able to have 1:1 dialogue with customers and also prospective ones too. Ask engaging questions across your brands social media channels, such as: a family Thanksgiving tradition or what they look forward to the most about Black Friday - don't forget those hash-tags.
3. Post Opening/Closing Times:
Besides posting your holiday hours of operation on your brands website, be sure to also let your social communities know as well.
Especially important on Thanksgiving, remind your customers through Facebook and Twitter what time your stores will be opening and closing on Black Friday.
Something to keep in mind however, while your stores are open on Thanksgiving most likely your corporate or agency staff that run your brands social media accounts will be at home. Avoid a potential PR nightmare by having a person monitoring your social media handles throughout the holiday and engaging with customers as needed.
4. Build Loyalty (and Grow Sales!) Through Rewards:
Who doesn't want to save a buck during the holidays? Use increased brand awareness, website and social media traffic to reward your engaged customers.
Be generous; give away FREE products, gift cards, shipping, coupons and discounts to customers who engage with your brand leading up to #BlackFriday and on Thanksgiving too.
Your ultimate goal is to get a customer to buy, whether it's online or in-store, and it begins with making the customer feel valued.
Outside of social media, email marketing is a great way to provide your customers with instant value through offers and keep them connected to your brand. Tap into your brand's CRM, email or loyalty database and send an offer or two before Black Friday.
5. Build Brand Advocacy:
The holy grail of content marketing is in user-generated content.
With expanded store hours and increased social media engagement comes an abundance of tweets, Facebook posts, Vine videos and Instagram selfies revolving around your brand, associates and in-store promotions.
Embrace what's unique about user-generated content, the fact that it's not "corporate speak" or promotional by nature. Through monitoring and social listening tools, retweet and share some of the best or funniest user-generated content involving your brand this holiday season. It might just go viral.
The best way to build brand advocacy with customers is by showing them that you value their loyalty and authenticity. As part of your content strategy, ask your customers to tweet pictures from their shopping experience at your store or post a picture on your brands Facebook page showing what they purchased as potential gift ideas for other shoppers.
Go a step further by incentivizing your most engaged brand advocates and you've won yourself a customer for life as well as the influence they possess over their network of friends and followers.
Thanks for reading, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.