This blog was contributed by our partner Ecomdash. Ecomdash is an inventory and order management software for online retailers. They focus on providing small to medium-sized businesses with actionable tips and strategies for building a lucrative eCommerce business.
The holiday season is a time for increased sales and higher revenue. November and December drive 30% more ecommerce revenue than any other time of the year. Ensure you’re on a path to capture additional revenue this year with an effective marketing strategy. With multichannel consumers purchasing 3 times more merchandise than single channel consumers, you must have a plan for each marketing channel.
Social media is a powerful channel that merchants typically forget about. Social media influences lead to 34% of online shoppers making a purchase, and 71% of shoppers will recommend a company if they had a good social media experience. This is one marketing channel you do not want to dismiss. Spending a little extra time to craft meaningful posts and target effectively will pay off in the long run. Here are 4 actionable tips to help you get started:
1. Be Data-Driven
Source: Marketing Media
To have the best messaging and content in holiday social media posts, you need to understand your target audience. It is important to know their needs, preferences, and other defining features. In fact, shoppers were 40% more likely to buy more when retailers personalized their shopping experience. The following tools will help you gather and use pertinent data:
- Social Media Tools: Built-in tools offered on your social media accounts are a great place to start looking for data. Try Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics or any other built-in tool to gather information about what content your audience responds to best, what messaging is most effective, and other basic data.
- Google Analytics: For more in depth research about your business and audience, Google Analytics is a great tool to use. It shows the traffic from your social channels to your website, top performing social media posts (with proper tracking in place), and offers customized reports. This will ensure that you are focused on the right channels.
- HubSpot Buyer Persona Template: Buyer personas help sellers understand their customer. Seeing a customer as a “real person” will help you connect on a personal level. Once you find out what an ideal buyer looks like, marketing becomes much more effective. Your messaging and visuals become easier to design and have a more cohesive look. HubSpot has a great tutorial and template that you can use to build your various personas.
2. Plan Ahead
Now that you have your audience and specific channels you want to target, put together a schedule and stick to it. Spend a little extra time before the holidays and plan your social media. Use a calendar to stay organized and not miss any important dates. It will also help keep your campaigns consistent across each marketing channel. Make sure each channel the consumer lands on has a cohesive look and message that speaks to the campaign. For example, if you have a flash sale on Twitter, where do you want the consumer to land? Are you pushing them to a specific landing page? Consider the following aspects when planning your strategy:
- Special Events: When scheduling your posts and other marketing efforts, be sure to send them before an event takes place. This is where your buyer personas come in handy. When does your typical customer buy holiday gifts? Are your customers procrastinators or are they big planners and buy months in advance? Timing campaigns to your audience’s specifications will help utilize resources effectively.
- Resources: Not all businesses have the resources to have someone manage their social media channels. Take advantage of automation tools to keep social channels active and consistent, even when you are busy handling other ecommerce operations. Tools, like Hootsuite or Buffer, will let you schedule posts before the holiday season begins. With IFTTT, you can create rules to help manage profiles, post, and share on various channels. These tools will make it seem like you have a whole team of social media marketers.
3. Use Visuals
Source: Dollar Shave Club
Take your social media posts to the next level with graphics. Facebook posts with images see up to 2.3 times more engagement than posts with just text. Twitter posts with images are retweeted 150% more than those without. In addition to images, videos are a great way to increase engagement. Product videos can increase purchases by more than 140%. Embrace the holiday spirit and imagery. The extra time you spend creating unique posts will give you a competitive advantage. Here are a few ideas for you to try out:
- Create graphics: Create a theme for your business to use during holidays. Make sure they are professional graphics and images. Use a tool like Canva or PicMonkey, or hire a freelancer to develop images. Update profile pics, cover photos, and websites graphics. This will give your brand a cohesive look and help bridge multiple channels together.
- Add a hashtag: Using a hashtag is a great way to utilize word of mouth marketing, create consistency for your brand across all social channels, and engage with your customer. A few great examples of successful holiday hashtags include:
- REI: #OptOutside
- Target: #MyKindOfHoliday
- Use holiday-themed product videos: Infuse your product videos with holiday spirit. Create a holiday gift-giving guide where you bundle products together and share it across your social channels.
- Get emotional: Capitalize on the heartfelt sentiments during the holidays. Make sure your posts embody the love and cheer of the holidays because campaigns involving emotional marketing do twice as well as those not using it. Share a story showing a customer connecting to your product, send a message of thanks to your customers, or add an employee appreciation story.
- Don’t forget about fulfillment: Complete the customer experience by adding some holiday cheer to your boxes. Offer gift-wrapping options for those busy shoppers. Whether it is a simply thank you note with the same imagery from your holiday campaign or a fully-designed box, adding those extra details will take your business to the next level.
4. Run Holiday Offers
Offering extras such as free shipping, member-only discounts, and other rewards influence more purchases than any other social media strategy. If you ran offers in the past, see which ones performed best and make them better this year. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Free Shipping: Offering free shipping may not seem possible for small businesses, but it most certainly is. Treat your customer by offering free shipping when he or she spends a certain amount of dollars, similar to the big marketplaces like Walmart or Target. Determine the amount by adding up the minimum order value that still allows you to meet your profit margin goals.
- Time-Based Events: Hosting a flash sale, offering extra loyalty points on certain days, or running a buy one, get one free deal on complimentary products during a certain time of month is a great way to gain momentum.
- Customer-Generated Content Contest: Engage with your customer and gain free, holiday-themed content by starting a contest for your customers. Ask your customer to submit holiday-themed photographs showcasing your product and tag it with your company’s profile or your newly created holiday hashtag. Offer a prize for the best entry.
During the holidays, marketing your business via social media can increase brand awareness and sales. Make sure you are well prepared for the influx of sales that’ll be coming your way. Try automating eCommerce operations with shipping software or inventory software. This will allow you to focus on any customer service issues that may arise. You will have the peace of mind that all sales channels are synced and inventory is properly managed, allowing for a stress-free holiday season. By using these tips and taking the time to create thoughtful, targeted content for your audience, you’ll be setting yourself up for a happy holiday season!