Despite the digital and mobile surge in holiday shopping, social media has puttered along in terms of direct attribution for sales.
Last year social media channels (limited to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest) were responsible for a meager 1.7% of sales, according to a report by Custora. It is likely there will be little change in that share, given only 9% of internet users surveyed plan to make holiday purchases directly via social networks.
Don’t Discount The Power Of Influence
Despite limited direct sales, social media contributes a significant amount of influence over purchases by pushing consumers further down their consideration sets and purchase funnels.
The top ways in which shoppers use social media while holiday shopping include:
· Getting gift ideas
· Finding discounts / coupons / sales
· Reading reviews and recommendations for products and stores
· Browsing for products
· Checking with family and friends on their wish lists
NOW Is The Time To Plan
Holiday creep means it is critical to get social channels in shape for the holidays NOW. Like all great marketing endeavors, the first step is to build a plan for activating and maximizing social activity during the holiday season and through the end of the year, if one doesn’t exist already.
To get started, here a few suggested tactics to fold into your social media plan to help you make the most of your channels this holiday season:
Today: Prepare your pages
· Prune content for anything that may be incorrect or irrelevant (does your Pinterest page include products you no longer carry?).
· Make conversion as easy as possible – if you haven’t already, activate your “buy now” buttons, available on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.
· Include and be mindful of trending hashtags throughout the season (and always).
· Drive your customers to connect with you in social. Create buttons on your site, hand-write it on receipts, put up signs, talk it up with customers – get the word out!
Early November: Set the tone
· Update your profile and cover images – ideally to something more seasonal and festive.
· Build a top 10 list to spark a conversation and engagement – everyone loves a list. Highlight some of your limited time offerings or best sellers.
Mid-November: Be a tease
· Start teasing out a Black Friday / Small Business Saturday / Cyber Monday special. The competition for attention and dollars is severe from Thanksgiving through the following week, but it is worthwhile to have a compelling offer to highlight in social. Get ahead of it with earlier messaging.
Early December: Get them engaged
· Update your profile to reflect holiday hours (do this sooner, if you have extended hours before December).
· Consider a pro-social / charitable initiative. Individual contributions to charities peak between October and December, and folks feel more encouraged to give more generously during this time of the year.5 For example, donate a fixed amount or a portion of proceeds for an item / service that you sell.
· Profile popular gifts for difficult-to-buy-for people (mother-in-law, co-workers, etc.) – this will keep you top-of-mind and may give you an opportunity to showcase even more of your products and / or services.
Mid-to-Late December: Pique their interest
· Create social-based promotions, such as a Twitter flash sale or a Facebook coupon, targeting last-minute shoppers. Remember, these can (and should!) Be shared widely, so be mindful of what you’re promoting and how steep the discount, if any.
· Don’t forget to include messaging around gift cards.
Post Holiday / Early January: Keep them interested
· While the surge in shopping may have passed, there is still opportunity to engage with gift card recipients and New Years resolution makers.
Michigan.com Can Help You Socialize
Throughout your social media holiday efforts, there is a place for investing in social media advertising. This will help break through the congestion and ensure your messages are seen widely. Relying entirely on organic impressions and traffic will limit the ability of social to impact sales severely.
These suggestions are only a portion of what should be a comprehensive and robust activation plan. If you’re having trouble building out the rest of your social effort – or you’d like some support with refining it and adding scale through advertising, give us a call. We are expert social media marketers, and we would love to position you for success this holiday season.
Contact us here or at 313-222-2775.
1 “What Role Does Facebook Play in Holiday Shopping?” eMarketer 18 Dec 2014
2 “Holiday Shopping Survey 2015” Market Track Report Qualtrics 21 Sept 2015
3 “29th Annual Holiday Shopping Survey” Deloitte 29 Oct 2014
4 Morell, Katie. “How to Promote Holiday Sales Using Social Media” Open Forum American Express 15 Dec 2010
5 “Charitable Giving in America: Some Facts and Figures” National Center for Charitable Statistics 30 Sept 2015