Using Organic Social Media To Boost Your Holiday Sales
If you’re not in marketing you may be irritated that we’re decking the halls with boughs of holly three months early. And that’s ok. If you work in marketing, you will understand that now’s the time to start planning and actioning your holiday campaigns on social media. At Moondust Agency, we begin our holiday content planning after the summer. In this article, we will be looking at using organic social media to boost your holiday sales. What are the big brands doing? What tips and tricks can we steal? Will there be pumpkin spiced latte? Let’s delve in.
Holiday Marketing Stats
Want to know why marketers care so much about their holiday content? Check out these stats:
· 8 in 10 holiday shoppers are influenced by search engines before making a purchase.
· 68% of shoppers visit YouTube on their smartphones to determine what to buy.
· Holiday retail sales crossed the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018.
· It is predicted that more than 50% of holiday orders will include free shipping.
· The average online shopper purchases 16 gifts during the holiday season.
· Clothing and accessories, electronics, and toys are the top items users shop for.
· Email was responsible for 24% percent of holiday sales in the US last year.
· Over 40% percent of users start online shopping before Halloween.
· 73% percent more people used Instagram for holiday deals during the 2018 holiday season compared to 2017.
If your brand wants to increase sales during the holiday period, you need to utilise the best social media and content marketing techniques. And, as an agency specialising in getting organic results, we’re going to tell you how we do it without an advertising budget!
#1 Create Festive Social Media Wrapping
Just like those wrapped gifts waiting tantalizingly under the Christmas tree, your products and social media can be wrapped to get the holiday vibe. Whether it’s creating a new cover image for your social media pages or adding a holiday spin to your product packaging, this is certain to excite your followers.
Steal their Style
Last Christmas, Penguin Books decorating their cover photo on Facebook with a lovely set of festive illustrations representing the company brand. The colours remained on brand and the illustrations were tastefully created to appeal to all holiday demographics.
Taking things one step further, Starbucks creates a set of winter holidays cups each year that you receive while buying a coffee. These have become cult classics alongside the famous pumpkin spice latte. The scarcity of the cups and PSL, creates an element of FOMO and a surge in Instagram pics during the holiday season.
Not to be outdone, Costa Coffee filled its Twitter with user generated images of its Christmas cups. The fact that users are choosing to share these images speaks volumes about the campaign’s success.
Marketing Tip: Creating a new cover photo is a simple, cost effective way to inspire holiday sales. You could also choose to make a rolling gif or short video to promote your seasonal offerings. Add a link to your Christmas promotions page or catalogue and you’re good to go.
#2 Create a holiday story
The holiday period has a cherished magical glow about it and that’s something consumers want to maintain. Nobody wants brands hard selling them Christmas gifts or making them feel guilty for not spending more. The big brands know this and capitalise on it via storytelling videos that each year capture the hearts and minds of viewers. John Lewis is one such retailer known for its Christmas television adverts. Let’s take their 2014 Monty The Penguin campaign as an example.
Within 24 hours of its release, the penguin video was shared 202,953 times, with 14,500 people confessing that Monty had them all teared up. John Lewis anticipated this and had a ton of Monty penguin toys ready to sell at £95 each. Ebay even reported that penguin related toys saw a 300% sales spur within hours of the video release. Last year the luxury high street retails reportedly paid Sir Elton £5 million to star in it. But wait, we are talking about nonpaid social media. So how can you achieve results without the big brand budget?
Social media users love storytelling. Brands can increase the value of a product or service by 20 times with storytelling and 92% of users prefer it over obvious advertising. Creating a holiday story for your blog can be fun, enchanting and effective. Deliver it in instalments to create intrigue and allow for social media sharing and of course shopping along the way. Essential elements will include a feel-good story, a strong positive message, zero promotion for your brand and beautiful imagery or a video. If you can create an alignment with your products without saying so then you’ve won the holiday storytelling game.
Don’t forget to include a strong hashtag for your story. Debenhams did this in 2017 when they created a story about Cinderella, her smartphone and a lost shoe.
Using the hashtag #YouShall the campaign encouraged users to retweet the message to help Cinderella. It also included instore boards and selfie props.
And of course, Debenhams sells party dresses and shoes…
Marketing tip: Instead of churning out random Christmas marketing, pick a theme and coordinate your social media, blog, website, banners and PR. This will guarantee a bigger impact and more holiday sales.
#3 You Don’t Need A Christmas Product
Not selling pumpkin spiced lattes and woolly hats? Our clients are sometimes despondent because their B2B product or service doesn’t lend itself to holiday marketing. We get it. If you’re marketing outsourced B2B technology solutions, how can you create fun holiday campaigns? Actually, the answer is simple. The campaign doesn’t need to be about your products and services. It can simply be your team getting in the festive spirit.
This may not drive direct sales, but it will drive engagement, brand loyalty and positive PR.
Check out Costa Coffee’s Instagram post offering a tutorial on how to make a chocolate yule log.
Let your staff have fun with a Christmas song to share on social media. This will work for most sectors and shows a human, transparent side of your brand. Something that’s social media gold dust right now. Check out the Kellet staff Christmas song.
You can also choose to give back to the community for a social media campaign that will really endear your audience. West Jet’s Christmas Miracle was a well-orchestrated campaign that saw airline passengers receiving the gifts they wanted on their luggage conveyer belt. The campaign showed off the company’s speed and efficiency in addition to providing viewers with those all-important warm fuzzy feelings.
But you don’t need to spend huge amounts to achieve great results for your brand. You also don’t need to give away stacks of product to make an impact. A charity drive or community event will create positive results.
If you don’t want to create a campaign, then why not pledge a percentage of your holiday sales to charity?
For every Venice bedding set purchased, Parachute Home donated one malaria bed net through Nothing But Nets.
Or Sackcloth & Ashes who pledged to give a blanket to the homeless each time you purchased one on their site. At Moondust we love to see campaigns that give back to the community. So why not save on advertising budget and create a naturally shareable message?
Did You Know: Millennials are more likely to give to charity with 84% donating last year and 2/3 saying it’s important for brands to take public stands on social issues.
If you’re creating a charitable initiative you need to advertise it well in advance with relevant hashtags, matching blogs and well-placed PR. Encourage your social media community to get involved by sharing social media posts even if they can’t attend or donate.
More Tips to Drive Holiday Sales…
We’re full of ideas to promote your brand and drive holiday sales so here’s a few more:
- Utilise User Generated Content (UGC) - A Christmas social media campaign about your brand, made by your fans is social media nirvana. Encourage your social media users to contribute photos to win a prize or to help you circulate your message. Office Depot’s Elf Yourself has become a holiday tradition. In fact, between 2012 and 2015, the app was downloaded over 92 million times. And just look how cute their October messaging is… we can’t wait!
- Create a unique holiday gift guide- Your followers and fans are on the lookout for gifts at this time of the year. Create a helpful holiday guide to gift buying. This could be promoting your own products or simply giving generic ideas. Make it fun with ideas for Eccentric Aunt Erica and Troublesome Uncle Tim. You can even create a separate guide for families, men, women children, and pets. Another good way to segregate is by price. Separate your products into “Under $10” “$10-$30” and so on. Check out this great guide from Goop which you can emulate by creating segregated content on your blog.
Marketing Tip: Create fun social media posts along the “12 days of Christmas” theme and recommend or review a product each day. It’s essential that you prepare this content in advance along with any gifs and images you will need. Preparing in advance will ensure seamless posts without all the holiday stress!
Fun Fact: Pet owners love to shop online with 17-21 year olds spending up to $71 per pet.
- Create FOMO- the truth is that 61% of shoppers will buy their last gift in the final Christmas week. You know who you are. Emphasise key features like next day delivery, free shipping and delivery guarantees to snare those last-minute sales. Your FOMO marketing can also include special offers, limited stock supplies and special edition Christmas products.
Holiday Marketing Checklist
So, before we go, let’s run through that all-important holiday marketing checklist:
· What holidays are relevant to my audience? In Belgium, we focus predominantly on Christmas and New Year, but if you’re in the US or UK you will want to include Halloween and Thanksgiving. You may also wish to include Hanukkah.
· What content do I need? You will need plenty of blog content, press releases, content for social media and content for any videos or gifs you’re planning. Now’s the time to start building up your Christmas marketing supplies.
· What visual materials do I need to make these content pieces effective? You will need to work with your graphic designer or a photographer to make your products and campaigns pop. Be sure to provide clear briefs and share the content where possible.
· Do I have clear goals for my sales campaigns? Have you set targets and KPIs? It’s always a good idea to align your internal teams with clear goals and expectations.
· What are my customer touchpoints? If you’re running a Christmas campaign you need to think about all your online touchpoints. That’s your social media channels, your blog, the home page on your banner and of course, your email marketing, text message marketing and in-app notifications .
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