The holidays are almost here; Turkey Day is right around the corner and after that there's no denying that the Winter Holidays are in the crosshairs. Why is that such a big deal for social media users and marketers? Well, only because a strong sector of the national economy derives a large percentage of its sales from the month of December. According to America's National Retail Federation, holiday sales in 2012 represented 19.3% of total industry retails sales. Getting your message across this year is going to be more competitive and more important than ever.
With so much at stake, what are some new tips for social media marketing for this upcoming holiday season?
1. Free shipping! Of course it's not super new -- but it totally works. And it's time to hop on the bandwagon now. It's a short, succinct message to get across on social media. Even if the economics aren't the most compelling for merchants, customers are beginning to expect free Holiday shipping from the big box stores like Target, eBay and The Gap. Data shows that "free shipping" is even better for attracting customers than is offering discounts, so you should strongly consider this approach.
2. Consolidate your message across different marketing channels. So now that you're offering free shipping you want to get out the message, right? Makes sense. The old way of doing it was to post the news on Facebook and then to tweet and then to put it on LinkedIn, etc. This approach was both time-consuming for employees and frustrating to customers already inundated with updates and announcements. This year, consider using a comprehensive solution like Crushpath, so you can create a single piece of content and share it across all channels like Facebook, Twitter AND email and text.
3. Allocate your budget accordingly. Don't be shy. So if 19.3% of your yearly revenue comes from the holiday season, be prepared to set aside that around that much of your marketing budget to acquire customers then as well. More specifically, you should strongly consider ramping up your Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn spends during the month of December; demand for goods will be high and you need to get your foot in the door in the crowded market place. Our favorite social media investment is on sponsored content posts on FB. You can target specific audiences while promoting excellent content, and of course your brand.
4. Get a custom url shortener. It's important to think of Twitter as, among other things, a traffic-driver to your site. And clearly the most efficient way to drive that traffic is by sharing links. But sometimes links are too long and/or ugly for tweets; url shorteners like bitly and tinyurl can make them fit nicely and look tidy. The only problem with these links is that they are not branded and Twitter readers really have no idea what they are clicking on.
What isn't as widely known is that it's fairly easy and super cheap to get rid of the "bitly" in your shortened url, while still using the bitly service. The best way to do this is to go shopping for a short domain related to yours on Domainr. For example, if your business is called Sharknado you might have a long url that you want to share, something like Sharknado.com/blog/why-are-sharks-bad-pets-sometimes. Of course that url is rather cumbersome but with a custom shortener you could have the link read something branded like this Sharkna.do/BadPets. No need to spend a boatload of money on Domainr, maybe fifty dollars maximum. After buying the domain, follow these steps to get your custom url shortener live, and your branded tweets will have even more flair.
So there you have it; with the economy picking up (however slowly) this plans to be a big holiday season for retails shops online. Of course, social media will play a major role in getting out the word for your business. You'll stay atop this already trendy world by following the handful of tips above.