Social media is arguably the most important resource for small businesses as they prepare for the holiday season. By capitalizing on the channel over the next few weeks, companies can ensure that they can capitalize on the expected growth in consumer spending. The National Retail Foundation recently estimated that sales will increase 3.9 percent over 2012's returns. NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay expects the increase despite federal uncertainty.
"Overall, retailers are optimistic for the 2013 holiday season, hoping political debates over government spending and the debt ceiling do not erase any economic progress we've already made," Shay said.
Similar to promotional items and other advertisements, social media marketing campaigns have to be adapted for the holiday season. This is actually much simpler than it seems, especially if small business owners follow these tips.
Numbers never lie
The first step is capitalizing on analytics to determine how customers are interacting with branded content. One social network has recently streamlined this task. According to the American Express OPEN Forum, the updated Facebook Page Insights allows company leaders to easily monitor activity on their pages. The news source explains that owners can track "who's clicking, liking, sharing, hiding, commenting" and flagging content as spam.
This tool can make a world of difference for entrepreneurs as the holidays near. Accessing advanced metrics allows enterprises to learn what followers think of their messages. The data tells owners which content successfully drives engagement and which elements shouldn't be used moving forward. As a result, small business owners will be able to optimize their social media marketing efforts and ensure that customers enjoy reading, liking and sharing every branded message. The only real downside to this resource is that it's only available on Facebook and not other social networks.
Make a list, check it twice
MarketingProfs explains that simplifying the holidays for consumers and allowing them to make digital wish lists on social media can be an extremely effective tactic. Sephora used this tactic successfully back in 2009 with its "Sephoraclaus" promotion. For 30 days leading up to the holidays, customers were asked to post merchandise that they wanted to receive that year. Each day for a month the retail chain turned someone's wish into reality by giving them exactly what they wanted.
The news source goes on to explain that also capitalizing on mobile marketing efforts can go a long way toward increasing sales this holiday season. By allowing customers to check their social media wish lists on their smartphones, small businesses can ensure that shoppers know exactly what to buy at the store. This is an effective way to ensure that consumers can buy merchandise in-person, which can is a boon for companies that don't have an ecommerce site.
Advertise your other promotions
Social media isn't an island unto itself. In fact, it acts more as a bridge that connects all of a business' promotions. Marketing Land explains that advertising other campaigns on social networks can ensure that consumers are aware of them.
One simple way to tie other campaigns to social media is by using coupons. Mark Cooper, co-Founder and CMO of offerpop, told Marketing Land that distributing discounts via the channel was beneficial for Tiny Prints last year. Facebook fans all received a unique coupon code that had to be entered on the business' site in order for customers to receive their special deals.
Of course, this strategy doesn't have to be limited just to Facebook. Companies can also send out coupons on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat in order to incentivize their customers to start shopping this holiday season.