Social media marketing is a great way to sell more during the holidays. Here are eight ways you can put social media to work for you this holiday shopping season — and why it’s important to do so.
We live in a world where social media has to be part of your marketing in some way. As of April 2022, Facebook alone has more than 2.9 billion monthly active users worldwide. Looking at just U.S. figures, the Pew Research Center shows that the percentage of social media users between the ages of 18 and 29 is 84% , while it’s close to the same at 82% for people 30 to 49 years old. Even 45% of US adults 65 and older use social media.
The bottom line: even if you’re not a big social networking fan yourself, your business needs to be on social media. If it’s not where your customers are, you’re missing a major opportunity — one you may be giving away to your competitors.
Consumers, especially, spend big during the holidays. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales increased 14.1 percent to $886.7 billion in 2021. Online and other non-store sales were up 11.3 percent.
Even when they’re not buying online, consumers are looking for gift ideas online and frequently turn to social media for gift ideas and opinions. Here’s how to capture their attention — and their orders.
Recognize the power of photos and videos
People like to know what they’re buying. In a store, they will spot something on a shelf, touch it, feel how heavy it is, turn it around to see all its sides, and read the information on its labels. That ability to touch and feel is lost online. But you can replicate part of the experience using images and videos. Post images of your products or services that will appeal to social media users. If appropriate, post product demo videos. Or, post photos showing closeups of features customers might look at. Be sure, of course, to link from your posts to allow customers to buy and/or get more information.
Contests and Promotions
Not all contests work. Some fall flat and show less interest than you had hoped. But with a little experimenting, you can find one that resonates with your customers. If you’ve already found one that works, adapt it for the holidays. If it was an in-store contest, adapt it for online and make it holiday-themed.
Before you begin the contest, set your expectations correctly. Don’t make your contest or promotion primarily about making sales. Instead, make it about collecting leads. Building your mailing lists, both email and traditional mail, is just as valuable.
Use digital marketing
Digital marketing isn’t expensive when compared to print. What if you only paid to place your ad in front of people who lived less than 10 miles from your business? What if you only targeted men ages 18-24 or people who were married and had children?
Tightly targeting your audience allows you to place your ad in front of the people most likely to buy, and that pushes the cost of the campaign lower than print ads. You can spend $5 or less per day and still potentially reach thousands of people.
Take a cue from Amazon. During the holidays, they load their website with messaging like, “Two days left to order and receive your shipment by December 25.” Amazon is creating urgency. You can create it with time, by saying that a certain product is in short supply, or beat the crowds before Black Friday.
Few people come to social media for advertisements. They can turn on the TV if that’s what they want. They come to social media for community. Your customers want to interact with others and consume content that resonates with them. Take a lesson from the big brands. Coca-Cola, with its 89 million Facebook followers, fills its page with beautiful images, videos, and other community-building posts. For Halloween, they posted a tip on how to make a cooler out of a pumpkin.
Make your page about giving people something that makes them feel good. Solve a problem, say something uplifting, or thank them for being part of your community.
If you want to sell, it has to be soft. Instead of advertising your next sale, offer a coupon or tell your fans about a free gift.
Partner with another business
Unless you pay, Facebook is probably going to put your content in front of about 10% of the people who like your page. What if you partnered with other non-competing businesses in your area and cross-posted? They post your content and you post theirs. Again, it’s not about posting your latest sale; concentrate on educating people about you.
Use your store to gain followers
If you have a physical storefront, make business cards that have your social media information. Tell them that you’re offering web-exclusive holiday coupons on your social media pages. They can’t find them in your store — only online.
Don’t try to be everywhere
There are a lot of social media platforms. You don’t have time to have a huge presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. Pick one or two and concentrate your efforts. If you cater to younger customers, include Instagram. If your customers are a little older, use Facebook.
You can’t ignore social media this season. Your customers are there. If you don’t reach them, your competitors will. Don’t make it about the hard sell; make it about brand education and gifts. Gifts could include coupons, in-store free gifts, holiday advice, or just a thank you.
Above all, experiment. If something doesn’t work, try something else, but don’t give up.