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6 Ways to Leverage Social Media for the 2017 Holiday Season

by Zia A., posted 9 months ago
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

When you hear that familiar refrain, you know the holidays are fast approaching. And now, with the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us (what deeply discounted goodies did you score?), it’s now time to focus on what is indeed the most wonderful time of year. Unless you’re a social media manager.

If you’re a social media manager, the holidays may feel like the time of year when you want to email your boss and say, “Coming down with a cold. Think it’s best that I take a sick day… or 25… see you in January.” Kidding, sort of. While everyone else is getting into the holiday spirit, drinking eggnog and licking a candy cane or two, those of us whose days are spent on Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, and in the Twitterverse are burning the Christmas lights at both ends.

This is, without a doubt, one of the busiest times of the year for social media managers. It’s the time of year when brands big and small look to leverage the joy of the season and stuff their stocking with higher sales, new followers, and increased engagement, all before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. The pressure is on. And while you may not have a team of elves at your service or a sleigh pulled by nine mischievous reindeer, you’ve got something even better – six tips to put the sparkle in your holiday social strategy and wrap up the year with a big bow.

Holiday Social Tip #1: Assess campaigns of Christmas past.

Heed the tale of A Christmas Carol and examine the ghosts of Christmas past – in other words, look at how your past holiday campaigns performed. What worked, what didn’t work, what lessons did you learn, what can you improve? Examine your goals and KPIs (that’s Key Performance Indicators for anyone not versed in marketing jargon) and see what content and platforms performed best and what fell short of expectations. Use these analytics to create a baseline for this year’s campaign and you’ll be well positioned for success.

holiday tips social media

Holiday Social Tip #2: Make a wish list of your chosen social platforms.

Once you’ve set your campaign goals, it’s time to choose the social media platforms that will best support them. Social media users are increasingly looking to their feed to make purchase decisions.

  • 81% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts. (Forbes)
  • Consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. (Hubspot)
  • 31% of consumers say they use social media to browse for new items to purchase. (Aimia)
  • 84% of millennials say user-generated content from strangers has at least some influence on what they buy. (Gartner)
  • 53% of consumers recommend companies or products in tweets, with 48% following through to purchase those products or services. (SproutSocial)
  • 78% of consumers say companies’ social media posts impact their purchases. (Forbes)
  • In 2015, Facebook influenced 52% of consumers’ online and offline purchases. (DigitasLBi Commerce)
  • Global social commerce revenue reached $30 billion in 2015 (Statista)

The potential is huge! How do you capitalize? Focus on the platforms that have performed well for your brand in the past and are most likely to have the biggest impact this season.

According to an infographic from Social Media Today, the popularity of platforms varies by demographic group (duh, for the same reason I don’t own a landline while my grandmother only recently ditched her rotary phone in favor of cordless, true story). For Gen Z, Instagram comes out the winner in their holiday gift hunt. For millennials and Gen Y, Facebook takes first place.

holiday tips social media

Holiday Social Tip #3: Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Santa rewards planners. Or he should anyway. With your goals set and your platforms selected, it’s time to plan your holiday content. Tweak your copy and tone slightly for each platform, and have some fun (the holidays are a great opportunity to showcase a little personality in your posts) but remember, don’t sacrifice function for frill – your key message should still come through loud and clear.

For an additional stocking stuffer, try adding images to your posts. They’ll help boost engagement and are a great opportunity to sprinkle in some inspirational holiday scenes. Once your content is mapped out, create your very own social media advent calendar and schedule it to post when it will have the most impact and maximize reach.

holiday tips social media

Holiday Social Tip #4: #SantaLovesAGoodHashtag

Hashtags are a great tool to help boost your message and they’re especially handy come holiday time. Research trending hashtags popular with your target audience or, better yet, create a customized hashtag for your holiday campaign and encourage your followers to use it to interact and engage throughout the season.

holiday tips social media

Holiday Social Tip #5: Unwrap social advertising.

In the social realm, organic is a great way to grow, but don’t overlook the power of social media advertising. Paid ads don’t have to break the bank, even a small budget can produce a cost-effective way to amplify your message during your holiday campaign. In a recent survey, over 50 percent of B2B marketers ranked social media as a ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ low-cost ad option. Social media ad spending will exceed $35 billion this year and represent 16% of the global digital ad spend. Get on board or get left behind.

holiday tips social media

Holiday Social Tip #6: Get tracking.

When all the planning and scheduling is done, it’s time to measure and monitor your campaign. A campaign without tracking is like a Christmas tree without a star on top – unfinished business, Santa would not be impressed. Put a monitoring system in place. Track website visits and conversions using UTM tags in your links. Stay on top of online conversations and trending hashtags and join the chatter with engaging comments and relevant content. Keep an eye on your Twitter stats for insights on audience growth and engagement during your campaign. With analytics you’ll be in a better position to assess which channels were the most successful and what content performed best, setting you up for a great 2018 campaign – it’s never too early to start planning ahead.

holiday tips social media

Helpful Holiday Hint: A service like Twitter Counter can help you monitor and analyze your accounts, gain followers, track engagement, and achieve your social media marketing goals all in time for the holiday season. Start today at