Tuesday, November 20, 2012

[VIDEO] Social Media Best Practices for a Successful Holiday Season

There's no better time to engage with your social media audience than the holiday season (winter or otherwise). If you're behind on planning your holiday social strategy (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are nearly here!), we've got you covered with ten proven, holiday-themed social media strategies that will ignite holiday cheer, while engaging fans and followers of your brand. Watch the webinar replay below, hosted by Wildfire and Learn with Google, to get the scoop on the 10 holiday social strategies you can utilize today.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

6 Social Media Marketing Tips to Ace the Holidays

The holiday season is the perfect time to rev up your brand’s social media marketing strategy. Consumers are buzzing with holiday spirit (especially the spirit of giving and receiving...and the shopping that goes with it). They’re lighting up social networks with talk and opinions about the season, and thinking about what they’d like to buy.

Social media is playing a significant role in holiday consumer journeys. 44% of shoppers surveyed said that they’ll consult social media as part of their holiday shopping process, and they’ve already started—54% of consumers are shopping before Black Friday. To capitalize on this surge of activity, here are six holiday social media ideas you can use to turn up your social media marketing:

1. Launch promotional campaigns that reference common pop-culture holiday themes

Jingle bells anyone? As many holiday-themed pop culture references as you can imagine, is how many you can use to create a clever spin on creative holiday promotion ideas. For example, TomTom launched a holiday-themed sweepstakes giveaway and called it “TomTom’s 12 Days of Giveaways.” The most savvy part of the campaign was that users couldn’t enter to win all of the prizes at once— they had to check in with the TomTom page on Facebook on a daily basis to read about the current day’s prize offering and enter to win it. These repeat trips reinforce a user’s affinity with the TomTom page, leading to increased views and more earned media, or user-created social word of mouth about your brand.

2. Tie a charitable cause to a holiday occasion

The holidays are a time for giving. By tying a cause to a social marketing campaign, your brand is simultaneously demonstrating a sense of corporate social responsibility and social savvy. Also, don’t forget: the holidays aren’t limited to the classic winter majors like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Years. In fact, the entire calendar year is chock-full of events to commemorate, from federal holidays like Memorial Day and Independence Day to more niche, created holidays, like Administrative Professionals Day or even National Taco Day.

The Company Store, for example, grows its community by tying a charitable cause to “National Family Pajama Night” (November 17), donating money to the Ronald McDonald House for every new follower of its social profiles during the length of the campaign.

3. Create seasonal engagement across social networks

Users don’t take a break from social networks during the holidays, so neither can your engagement initiatives across these platforms. Build a seasonal-themed promotional activity into your editorial plans for your brand presence across social networks. For example, Rack Room Shoes grows its fan and follower communities by creating seasonal engagement across social networks, launching an autumn-themed “Pin it to Win It!” contest on Pinterest and Facebook, and publicizing it via Google+ and Twitter.

4. Put a holiday-themed spin on existing promotional campaigns

You’ve put a lot of time and effort into your existing marketing campaigns. Consider how you can extend their lives by re-skinning them to a holiday theme, thereby getting more mileage out of your existing assets. PopChips, for example, recreated an existing promotional campaign that utilized their current sponsored celebrity partner, Katy Perry, for Halloween. The campaign, called “Pop ‘n Pose,” encourages users to take their picture with Katy Perry, making creative use of fans’ webcams and a well-framed photo of the popular singer. With Halloween approaching, PopChips released a holiday themed version of the same promotion, but this time Katy Perry looked like a scary vampire with pointy red nails and fangs.

5. Create tutorials and holiday related how-tos using your products

Create an opportunity to showcase your products by strategizing about how they might fit into a consumer’s holiday plans. For example, Napoleon Perdis, a popular makeup brand, created a series of “How To” tutorials demonstrating how a customer could apply Napoleon Perdis makeup to create classic Halloween looks. The brand released a handful of tutorials, teaching fans how to create a variety of looks— from scary to fairy— all the while showcasing a deep-dive look into how to optimally use Napoleon Perdis products.

6. Ask users for their holiday-inspired opinions

The holiday season presents a series of questions for each of us. What costume to choose? What meals to prepare? What gifts to give, or where to shop for them? Inspire and empower your fans and followers by asking them for their input on choices like these. Allowing user input to drive the ultimate outcome of a brand’s social activity shows fans that users’ opinions count, and that engaging in dialogue with your brand is a worthwhile endeavor.

For example, The Washington Redskins allowed their fans to weigh in on what costume running back Alfred Morris should wear on his trip to the Pediatric Halloween Party at the Georgetown University Hospital. In allowing the community to choose its favorite from among options like Popeye, Angry Birds, Batman, or Captain America, the Redskins demonstrated the power of people’s choice in driving engagement, as well as publicized a feel-good initiative to which the Redskins are committed.

The holiday season sends consumers into a social frenzy of searching, sharing, and shopping. Which of the tactics mentioned here will you implement for your brand first? Share with us in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.

[We recently recorded a Learn with Google webinar all about “Social Media Best Practices for a Successful Holiday Season. Watch it here.]