We just got our tree yesterday, and while some say that is way too early, I’ve been thinking about Christmas since Halloween ended! (Yes, I’m one of those people.) I have also been Christmas shopping for weeks now!
Small businesses need to capitalize on the holiday season – when we all tend to go a little bit overboard and over-budget. Check out this data from The Washington Post today: Online shopping purchases reached nearly $6 billion during the week that runs from the Sunday before Cyber Monday through this past Saturday, marking a 15 percent increase over the same week last year, according to new data from comScore. The record-breaking numbers were led by e-commerce sales on Monday ($1.25 billion), Tuesday ($1.12 billion) and Wednesday ($1.03 billion) — all of which eclipsed the high mark set by Cyber Monday in 2010 ($1.028 billion).
ONLINE shopping. That means that a lot (billions of dollars worth) of customers are ONLINE. How are are you maximizing the use of Internet and online marketing to reach these customers? I have created a small list of tips for you!
1) Create a seasonal, festive logo – add a Santa’s hat or some holly to your regular logo, and post that on your website and social media profiles. It’s a cute, inexpensive way to create holiday cheer and a smile when people visit you online. An example is this one I created for Skin For All Seasons:
2) Ask lots of questions! People love to talk about their favorite holiday traditions, their favorite (and least favorite) Christmas carols, their favorite holiday foods. Encourage conversation and interaction by using Facebook Polls and Twitter Polls, or just posting a question and asking for answers in the comments section of your Facebook Wall.
3) Be as helpful as possible with your posts – remember, this is a very stressful time of year for people. Don’t simply say “visit your local retailer” or “call us for more details”. Put phone numbers, addresses, directions and website addresses into your posts to make it as easy as possible for the overwhelmed consumer with a lack of time on their hands.
4) Find and post links to articles relating to holiday shopping, holiday cooking, holiday headaches, holiday safety, etc. – anything that you think will help your followers and fans. Tis the season to share, to encourage, to support, to acknowledge, and to help – not to just push your product as much as possible.
5) Advertise your social media profiles on all other marketing materials – coupons, newspaper ads, radio/tv ads, in-store promotions, signs, even on the customers’ receipt!
6) Take and post a very merry holiday photo of your staff and your company. Post photos of the best decorated office and/or cubicle, Christmas/holiday lights and decorations in the office, your office party, etc. – consumers love to see a more personable and accessible side to business, and the holidays are a perfect chance to show people that you are just like them!
7) Have fans and followers post and tweet their most awkward family photos from the holidays, or have an “Ugly Sweater” contest on your Facebook page, with a special prize awarded!
8) Be prepared to answer questions and respond to comments immediately. If you are inviting more engagement and interaction during the holiday season, you need to be able to respond to people in a timely fashion. Have at least two people monitoring comments and posts on your social media profiles – people who are trained and knowledgeable in your company and also have a customer service background.
9) Partner with a charity. Offer to donate $1 or more per new Like on your Facebook page or per Retweet on Twitter for a certain period of time. Make sure to publicize this often and to partner with the charity to ensure consistency across all channels. Share photos and stories of the people that you helped through this giving campaign.
10) Have fun! Enjoy yourself – post lyrics to Christmas carols, post your favorite Hanukkah photos, post a photo of your dog dressed up like Rudolph. The most important thing is to dive in and start engaging!
Do you have any tips for ways in which small businesses can maximize their use of social media during the holiday season? Post them in the comments section or email firstname.lastname@example.org