Using social media to bolster sales in the fourth quarter requires a delicate balance. On one hand, you want to take advantage of the good will you’ve created through social marketing channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. On the other hand, you want to avoid overdoing it to the point where your customers tune out your efforts. Keep these steps in mind to make the most of your holiday marketing plans.
Integrate Social Into Everything
You have to think through the social aspects to every existing marketing effort you undertake. It can be as simple as ensuring that your ads highlight your social channels, or as complex as a robust social media initiative. For example, by creating a “Memorable Holiday” campaign, you can encourage your customers to share their greatest holiday memories. Your instinct will be to give your questions a jewelry focus such as, “What was the best piece of jewelry you ever received during the holidays?” But don’t be afraid to take a broader approach—for example, “What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?” Your customers are smart; they know you’re a jewelry company and many will instinctively bring this into in their answers—especially when there is a prize at stake.
Create Plenty of Opportunities
Social media can lead to holiday sales.
The temptation with a marketing campaign is to have one big idea and one big call to action. Yet you’re going to need a bit more diversity in your plans to best leverage social media. You should certainly focus your efforts, but realize that various channels can and should be used differently. Let’s continue with our “Memorable Holiday” concept. You could encourage customers: to share stories using a capture form on your website or by email; to tweet a mini-moment on Twitter using a hashtag such as #minimoment to help monitor them; to share photos of their moment using Instagram or Flickr (again using the same hashtag); to create a memory board on Pinterest. You can even ask them to create a quick video sharing their memory on YouTube. Each channel has its own distinct benefits, so you should consider which tools can best serve your idea.
Give Them a Way to Benefit
You don’t just want to create opportunities to participate; you need to create opportunities to benefit for those who are willing to get involved. Using our “Memorable Holiday” concept as an example, you could offer an incentive to anyone who participates, such as a discount, a modest gift card, or a special gift with purchase offer, in addition to a grand prize to encourage your customers to share their stories. Giving an incentive to “Create Your Next Memory” and then offering a grand prize to make this year a “Holiday You’ll Never Forget”—again, playing off our “Memorable Holiday” theme—can go a long way toward promoting participation. You still want to keep things on brand—and be careful not to get carried away with the offer—but make sure those who play along find a good reason to visit your store this season.
Don’t Overdo It
While you’ll want to use the same social channels for your initiative to encourage involvement, you’ll also see diminishing returns if your efforts become repetitive. Jumping on Facebook or Twitter and continually asking people to share their memories will work in the short term, but inevitably, your customers will start tuning you out. You can mitigate this by not only reminding your customers of the initiative, but also by sharing the responses you receive. Taking the videos and images you receive on Instagram and YouTube and posting them on sites like Facebook and Twitter not only helps you spotlight your customers, but also serves as a subtle reminder to people to join in the fun.
Finally, try not to push too hard. As much as you’d like your customers to show up this year, you want to ensure that they’re still willing to hear from you next year.