Though my carved pumpkin still sits on my window seal, Halloween is over. Now it’s time to start sinking into our chairs and preparing ourselves for the winter. Unlike bears who slumber, we start getting busier (or at least I do). Holiday parties, shopping, flights, longer hours at the office or the store. Our pace starts to accelerate and we, inevitably, overcommit. In general, at least for me, the holidays can become a disruption.
For marketers, this means people are constantly multi-tasking and “zipping” around. So, how do you break through?
By delivering a break. No…I don’t mean adding hours to someone’s clock or making the speed limits higher. I mean providing your customers with things to make their lives easier.
Target and Wal-Mart are all about the layaway this season. Helping people purchase and store elsewhere. Retail stores offer free gift wrapping or free shipping. But how do we apply this concept to our social media strategy?
Here are 5 ways to give your customers/followers a break this holiday season:
- Content, content, content. It’s the holidays, what do people want? They want travel tips, recipes, craft ideas, design ideas, present ideas, ideas on how to deal with the in-laws. Use twitter, facebook, your blog, YouTube etc. to provide your followers with relevant information. Or just take them out of their busy lives with some great stories, that are well-written. If it’s a topic that a ton of people are already writing about, be sure to put your spin on it. Check out this collaboration between YouTube and Lowe’s – The YouTube Holiday Solutions Center. Great ideas like help people and helping people, gives them a break!!!
- Listening. If there’s anything you should know about social media marketing, it’s that you have to listen to the “groundswell.” Your customers know what kind of deals they’re looking for over the holidays. So why not ask them what they want? Then respond with some sales (even if for a short time) that they asked for. This way you’ll not only generate great word-of-mouth about your brand, but you’ll be known as a brand who cares and actually listens.
- Engaging. Along the same lines as listening, you should also be actively engaging your customers this holiday season. Suck them in with great questions, polls, and puzzles. Constantly update and tweet during optimal times of engagement. Be sure to stay active during the holidays even when you yourself are busy. Remember that Facebook became the most visited site in the US, exceeding traffic to Google, on Christmas in 2009. Why is this? Because people are looking for a break from their emails, they’re sharing more photos, they’re looking for deals, and spreading the cheer. So brands must be there and be active to stay engaging.
- Fun – Capitalize on the spirit that people have around the holidays. Come up with great contests and giveaways that spread cheer and give people a chance to connect. Start a cool hashtag, tweet fun facts about the holidays that are relevant to your brand. Give people five minutes away from their lives with elaborate social contests and funny games. Remember those dancing elves that people couldn’t stop emailing back and forth, or the snowball fight games? Associate yourself with a games like these and give busy people some fun. If you can’t create your own game, align yourself with a social game that’s already out there by being creative with in-game ads and virtual currency.
- Give Back – Around this time of year, people are concerned about the children and people of the world who aren’t as well off as themselves. Give those people a way to help out those in need via your brand. It’s a win/win, because it increases good sentiment around your brand and helps people help people. You’ll learn quickly that partnering with charities is one of the easiest ways to drum up “buzz” around an event or a brand because they already have a huge following and some even have a great social presence of their own. Marketing alongside one of them by creating an event in your store, a tweetup, or special shopping night can help accomplish two goals: Increasing your reach, and helping them raise money. Click here for Four Charities That Rocked Social Media last year.