What comes to mind when you think of the holidays? Watching "Love Actually" for the 20th time? Braving the airport to fly home to see family? Hearing multiple versions of "Baby It's Cold Outside" at your local Starbucks? Baking 15 dozen batches of cookies in 2 weeks? (Maybe that last one is just me...)
All of those things are great, but if you're a content marketer, there's something you may be overlooking: your social media marketing strategy. The holidays require a special approach, particularly if you work on the consumer side. You'll need more than fancy new cover images to get the most out of the season.
You probably don't need to tweak your strategy drastically for the holidays, but you should have a plan in place to help you leverage seasonal trends and avoid any end-of-year social media crises. Here are 7 dos and don'ts your social media program should address during the next few weeks.
DO: CHOOSE A HOLIDAY THEME
Every company is going to be running holiday campaigns on social media. In order to create a consistent story and give your brand a unique framing, it's a good idea to choose a holiday theme you can use throughout the season. This theme should carry out in both your messaging and designs.
DON'T: MISUSE THE HOLIDAYS TO SELL MORE
For most people, the holidays involve some kind of religious or cultural significance. That means you should tread carefully when using holiday imagery, verbiage, and metaphors for your business marketing. Be extra thoughtful about who your target audience is and how they might respond to your holiday-related campaign content. Always err on the side of caution and focus on brand awareness rather than sales messaging when possible.
DO: ADJUST YOUR POSTING CALENDAR
The weeks of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's are usually pretty dead for business social media engagement. You should adjust your posting cadence accordingly so you don't annoy your followers with unwanted messages mixed in with their updates from family and friends.
DON'T: IGNORE YOUR CURRENT CUSTOMERS
During the Black Friday / Cyber Monday / countdown to New Year's retail season, it's tempting for consumer companies to focus their promotions on attracting new customers. However, the holidays are also a great opportunity to thank your current customer base for their loyalty and reward them for their business. A few ways to do this include:
- Feature customer stories on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Share customer-only previews and promotions across all channels.
- Send invites for customer-only events via Facebook.
DO: RUN A CONTEST OR GIVEAWAY
Source: Mercedes Benz
The holidays are the perfect time of year to be generous. Running a social contest or giveaway is one way you can give gifts to your loyal followers. Make sure to pick something that's juicy enough to be shareable, but not so generic that you fill your social profiles with new followers who will never become customers.
DON'T: GO OVERBOARD WITH COMPANY CELEBRATION PHOTOS
Source: Yates Chelt
The holidays are a time for celebration. However, when it comes to sharing your company celebrations on social, it pays to be judicious. A photo or two at the start of your team holiday party is fine; live Instagramming the entire evening as it devolves is probably not the best idea.
If your company has had any reputation or performance issues in the past year, you may want to refrain from posting any celebration photos. Better to avoid a deluge of hateful comments, even if all you post is an innocent staff photo.
DO: FEATURE FOLLOWER HOLIDAY POSTS
While it's a good idea to be restrained in sharing your own holiday revels on social, sharing those of your followers is an excellent idea. If customers post photos showcasing your products or services, so much the better!
THE BOTTOM LINE
With some careful thought, a clear plan, and extra attentiveness to your followers, you can drive some great results with your holiday social media marketing strategy.
What other dos and don'ts would you recommend during the most wonderful time of the year? Tell me in the comments below.