You know that social media marketing is important. Even if you already have a solid social media presence, the holidays give you the chance to take a look at what you’re doing and add a bit of a twist.
I spoke with six experts who shared their insights on how to approach your social media marketing this holiday season. Their recommendations encompass videos, influencers, content, engagement and contests. Read on to learn more.
Video marketing FTW
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve noticed a rise in video marketing across every social media platform. However, how do you use video marketing to get in front of your customers this holiday?
Neal Schaffer, President at PDCA Social
“It is clear from an organic perspective that you need to be doing video marketing if you want to be seen in the news feeds of your followers. Video takes on many forms, and any of them are welcome, from live streams that feature unique discounts for listeners (perfect if you have an eCommerce store) to Reels/TikToks/YouTube Shorts that feature an entertaining look at your products, this is the year to go all in on video. — Neal Schaffer, President at PDCA Social
Neal makes a great point. Videos are a great tool for getting noticed. Furthermore, you have plenty of different options for the type of videos you create based on the platform your customers prefer.
You might be asking yourself what the videos you make should include. Mari Smith has suggestions on how to create videos that speak to your audience and inspire them to share.
Mari Smith, Premier Facebook Marketing Expert
“Short-form video is all the rage these days; certainly, Facebook and Instagram are pushing the Reels format heavily. Nobody can really plan for a viral video. But you can strive for winners by including the right elements. Make sure your social team keeps an eye on what’s trending and then jump on board, always staying on brand. Even including trending music can give your content a leg up.” — Mari Smith, Premier Facebook Marketing Expert (often referred to as the ‘Queen of Facebook’) and Top Social Media Thought Leader
Make the most of social media influencers
LaToya Shambo, Founder/CEO at Black Girl Digital
Working with social media influencers is becoming more and more important. If you’re new to the influencer game, don’t panic! Our experts have some tips on how to leverage influencers this holiday season.
“If you are considering using influencers for your holiday campaign, book them now. Some influencers increase their rates for the holiday because of the high demand. And if you can squeeze in a whitelisted photo that you can leverage exclusively for your campaign that would be a bonus!” — LaToya Shambo, Founder/CEO at Black Girl Digital
LaToya is spot on about influencers raising their rates around the holiday season. However, if you missed the boat and rates have increased, don’t panic. If you find someone who speaks to your target audience, it can be well worth the investment.
For folks who are already working with influencers, see if you can get them to work with you on a whitelisted photo, as per LaToya’s suggestion. This allows you to create ads with your best influencers that use their usernames and images. To the influencer’s audience, these ads look like they’re coming from the influencer, but in truth, you’re doing the posting.
Influencers are also great resources for those of us who are a little less creative. Piggybacking on the video marketing recommendation from above, Neal provides a great tip.
“If you don’t have the creative resources for which to do so, it is a perfect time to develop relationships with social media influencers who are excellent content creators, especially if they already have some brand affinity for you.” — Neal Schaffer, President at PDCA Social
Neal’s idea is not only a great way to leverage the creativity of influencers, but it also saves your business time. Instead of working to create content, you can focus on other things.
Social media is so much more than how many followers you have. Instead, engagement is a key to your business’s success. Mari Smith provides a great explanation.
“Make it a point to really emphasize engagement this holiday season. I’ve said for more than a decade: “Content is King, but engagement is Queen and she rules the house.” It’s often easier for us marketers to overly focus on perfecting our content vs. seeking effective ways to spark engagement.”
Mari goes on to provide some manageable ideas for stoking engagement this holiday season.
“For your main social media posts, see how you can introduce some levity, humor and entertainment during the holidays, if relevant for your brand. A well-timed meme or GIF can work wonders to drive awareness and engagement.
Short, simple questions with a colored background format can work well on Facebook. Questions might include asking what their favorite holiday dish is, whether they love to cook or eat out, if they’ll travel for the holidays – simple things like that. BUT, be sure to stay on point and intersperse these types of questions with your main content, offers, etc. Also, Carousel posts, Stories and Reels perform best on Instagram.” — Mari Smith
Looking for more information on using short-form videos for your marketing? Check out our post IGTV vs. Reels vs. Stories: How to Leverage Each Instagram Video Type For Your Brand.
Show your customers you care
Nick Stamoulis, President at Brick Marketing
As the holiday classic, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas taught us, the holidays are about so much more than presents. Your social media posts should reflect this.
“I recommend a blended approach to authoritative content and sales promotions. For most businesses, customers do not respond well in social media if all posts are sales/promotional only, this shows customers that a company that they follow actually cares about them and is not only looking for business.” — Nick Stamoulis, President at Brick Marketing
Nick’s reminds us that social media marketing is about creating a connection. Don’t just sell, sell sell. Instead, treat your followers like friends. Mari Smith explains that connecting with your audience is good for business.
“Most people want to know that they are important to you and that they’re being heard, understood and validated. Response time is key, too. Speed can be money in the bank, especially when a prospect/customer is asking a question.” — Mari Smith
The holiday season is a great time to start creating a space on your social media where people want to interact with your brand.
Go big with a contest
Adam Connell, Founder of Blogging Wizard
Every business’s marketing efforts ramp up during the holiday season. This can make it difficult to stick out from the crowd. Adam Connell offers a great idea — social media contests.
“You’re going to need to go big to get noticed and keep the attention on your brand. Contests and giveaways work exceptionally well all year round but they can have an even greater impact during the holidays. Work these into your social media strategy over the holidays and you’ll see an influx of new followers and subscribers that can increase the hype around your brand.
How you position your giveaway depends on your brand. One great approach would be to run a prize draw in advance of the holidays. If you sell physical products, you can include a leaflet with each product, offering the chance to win some goodies when customers post about their purchase on social media with a specific hashtag.” — Adam Connell, Founder of Blogging Wizard
Not to toot our own horn, but ShortStack specializes in online contests, including social contests like comment-to-enter, hashtag and ReTweet contests. Check out our resources on how to create comment-to-enter and hashtag contests.
Something to consider for next year
Andre Niemeyer, Digital Driver at i9media
Not sure if you have enough time to take advantage of some of these tips? I assure you, you do have time. However, it never hurts to start outlining your social media efforts for next year now.
“Plan way ahead of time: 3 months minimum. We have a very structured approach that we’ve developed over a decade of work. But consider what it takes: financing, R&D, production, inventory, media (photos, videos), creative, website/marketplaces, communications (social, blog, newsletter, ads), public relations (reviewers, publications, influencers, team, ambassadors). That’s a lot!” — Andre Niemeyer, Digital Driver at i9media
As Andre mentions, there can be a lot of moving parts to consider for your social media marketing. The earlier you start planning, the less stress there is during your busiest time of the year.
No matter what type of business you have, I know at least one of the social media marketing tips above will help you this holiday season. Now all you need to do is act!
Want more expert advice? Check out the other posts from our Expert holiday series 5 Experts Give Their Advice on How Businesses Should Approach Holiday Marketing in 2021 and 4 Experts Give YOU Their Best Holiday Marketing Advice.