Winter is coming. And I’m not talking about Game of Thrones.
Every year, marketers and brands alike face the impending chaos that is the holiday season. And it’s already upon us.
There’s a huge amount of pressure to connect with your audience this time of year, when they’re at their computers with their wallets already open and their credit card numbers half-memorized. People are ready to spend because they’re looking for the perfect gifts for themselves and their families.
Now it’s up to you to make sure they notice your products and services.
There are lot of marketing platforms that you’ll need to take into account including PPC campaigns and email marketing. This makes it hard to keep up with your organic social media marketing. However, some of your holiday success hinges on social media because it’s the place people go to when they’re looking for awesome gift ideas. That’s why you have to prepare your social media for the holidays now.
Let’s take a look at the 6 things you should do right away for holiday marketing prep on your social media accounts.
It’s almost December. Social media calendars and scheduling tools are essential for this time of year. You’ve got more on your plate than usual and it’s difficult to keep up with it all. When that happens, social media is one of the first things to go…
You can’t afford to let this happen.
To fight back, create a fully-developed social media marketing calendar and plug posts into that calendar right away. You want every single post to be scheduled to go live at peak posting times for optimal traction and so that you don’t have to manually do it yourself.
When creating your social calendar, be mindful of planning sales and promotions. Your campaigns will be strongest if you intentionally coordinate them well across multiple platforms. This includes featuring products on Stories and in-feed posts and showcasing them in different ways.
Want to leave room to adjust your strategy as the season goes on? That’s ok. Map out the big important posts you know you’ll want to go live and add the others later.
You can add more generic holiday content in your queue under a “holiday” category and then place time slots when you’d like this content to go live. This will keep your calendar full with less management on your part.
If you want to run social media ads to increase sales by both targeting cold traffic and running retargeting campaigns, one of the best moves you can make is to get your ad campaigns approved ahead of time. Create them today and submit them for approval.
You can schedule start and end dates for each ad campaign you create on most platforms, including Facebook and Instagram Ads, Promoted Pins, LinkedIn Ads, and Twitter Ads. Your campaigns won’t go live until the designated dates as long as you set them, so there’s no risk of accidentally launching early.
The same isn’t true for waiting until the last minute. The marketplace is busy this time of year and some platforms may take longer to approve your ads than normal.
You don’t want to risk losing even a few hours on a prime selling day– let alone an entire day or two– because your ads took too long to get approved. And if your ads are rejected, now you have time to figure out why and get it right.
In addition to getting your ads approved ahead of time, you’ll also want to brace yourself for how much those ads will cost you. PPC costs typically go up this time of year because there is more competition. More advertisers are coming to the marketplace and even more are willing to bid higher to secure those valuable placements.
CPC costs will go up. Raise your bids as high as you’re willing to go (though never more than is profitable). You can set a bid cap limit on Facebook and Instagram Ads to make sure that you never pay more than a set amount on each action.
Roll out your sales and announce them before they happen. Get your audience excited about big events or promotions that you’ll have coming up. Showcase those stocking stuffer bundles. Flaunt that you’ll offer free shipping in December.
Customers now are doing more research than ever before, especially this time of year. While some impulse shopping can and does happen, a lot of people go into holiday shopping with a game plan. If you share appealing offers up front, you’ll be part of that game plan too.
This tip falls under the “have a calendar ready” section but I wanted to single it out here. In addition to having all of your promotional content, it’s good to have a few genuine, authentic-feeling holiday messages. Ask users what they’re doing for the holidays, or just thank them for their loyalty and wish them a safe and happy holiday with their family.
These messages can be humorous, sweet or sentimental. Just remember to put the holiday season at the forefront of the message and don’t make it overtly about sales.
These posts can yield engagement, which is a plus, but most importantly they can go a long way in improving how people see your brand and their relationship with it.
There isn’t much you can do for this one except know that it’s going to happen. Clear out your inbox ahead of time and commit to having someone ready to tackle the in-flux of incoming messages that typically happen this time of year.
People are going to be messaging you asking about shipping dates, order status, product information. You’ll get requests about changing shipping speeds or locations after the order has been processed. If you’re able to stay agile in your inbox, you can increase sales and create more positive experiences for new and returning customers alike.
Make sure that you’re making great use of Agorapulse’s Inbox Assistant features. You can set up automated rules to filter out the most important requests and address them quickly. You can also create saved replies for users asking the same generic information (like shipping dates). Assign different messages to team members if needed and make sure that no message gets ignored.
Holiday marketing prep needs to be a priority before you’re stuck in the middle of the holiday season with no posts, no campaigns planned and ads that aren’t getting approved.
Take a few hours today and go through all of the steps above to make sure that you’re ready for the holiday season because it’s here.
Having a cohesive plan in place and content ready to be published will allow you to focus on everything else that falls on your plate this time of year.
How do you prepare your social media accounts for the holidays? What steps do you take? When do you start getting ready? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!