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Written by Ana Gotter

Last modified December 10, 2019 at 10:55 am

Your Social Media Guide to the Holiday Season: How to Prepare for It (and What to Avoid)


Is the upcoming holiday season stressing you out? With the right planning, you can make sure your social media is one less thing to worry about.

You have 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. After all, people are ready to spend because they are looking for the perfect gifts for themselves and their families.

Now, it’s up to you to make sure they notice your products and service.

That’s why you have to prepare your social media for the holidays now.

Prepare Your Holiday Marketing on Your Social Media Accounts

1. Get your social calendar ready now

This time of year, you’ve got more on your plate than usual. When that happens, social media is one of the first things to go …

You can’t afford to let that 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.

Holiday marketing prep: Using Instagram stories

When creating your social calendar, be mindful of planning sales and promotions.

Your campaigns will be strongest when 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? 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. Doing so will keep your calendar full with less management on your part.

2. Get your ads approved ahead of time

If you want to run social media ads to increase sales by both targeting cold traffic and running retargeting campaigns, 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.

holiday marketing prep

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, you have time now to figure out why and get it right.

3. Prepare to spend more on social ads

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.

holiday marketing preparation social media 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.

4. Start teasing sales and new products early

Roll out your sales, and announce them before they happen. Get your audience excited about big events or promotions that you have coming up. Showcase those stocking stuffer bundles. Flaunt that you’ll offer free shipping in December.

prepare social media for holidays

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 upfront, you’ll be part of that game plan too.

5. Create genuine holiday messages

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, 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.

holiday marketing prep

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.

team social media management

6. Know your social inbox will get flooded

You can’t do much 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 influx 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.

holiday marketing prep

If you use Agorapulse, make sure to use 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.

Be Prepared (Really Prepared)

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 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.

Now, if you’re a savvy marketer, you’ll also plan to maximize all your social networks to increase their turnover.

Now, in the midst of holiday madness, businesses can often make costly errors in their seasonal promotions. Why not read about these holiday marketing mistakes to help you from repeating them with your own business?

Avoid These Social Media Mistakes

1. Forgetting all the “minor” events

We know Black Friday. We know Hanukkah. And we definitely know Christmas. These, of course, take center stage the second we’ve packed up the pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving.

We also have Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, Giving Tuesday, and Free Shipping Day. All those smaller events give you an opportunity to promote your business with a new angle.

holiday marketing strategies

Here’s how one local business in Naperville, Illinois took to Twitter on Small Business Saturday.

Some of these days (like Cyber Monday and Free Shipping Day) will benefit you most by being big sales days. Free Shipping Day is a particularly powerful one, especially since desperate Christmas shoppers are becoming more willing to spend top dollar on anything that will come in time to put under the tree.

Giving Tuesday and Small Business Saturday, on the other hand, can be used to bolster your brand’s story as a small business who is passionate about being involved with the community.

example of social media holiday post

Make note of each of these days at the beginning of the holiday season, utilize them in your social media calendar. If you’re running Facebook or Instagram Ads, it doesn’t hurt to include this in your copy for the day.

2. Not sending year-end thanks to loyal customers

Thanksgiving may be over, but the end of the year is a time of reflection for many. Reaching out to loyal clients and customers isn’t required by any means, but even a quick personalized note thanking them for their business can help build that always-important relationship.

most common holiday marketing mistakes

Whether this takes the form of a handwritten card (if you aren’t sure if they do or don’t celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, a “Happy Holidays” is always appropriate) or a quick email thanking them and wishing them a happy new year, this is a gesture that won’t be forgotten.

Sending thanks takes just a few minutes, but for someone who has spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars, it’s a gesture that will mean a lot.

3. Skimping on researching the competition

Competitor research and monitoring is something that businesses are normally incredibly conscious of during the year. It’s easy to let it slide during the holidays while we become overwhelmed with other things, but in some ways, it’s even more important than any other time of the year.

Consumers are exceptionally aware of all of their options this time of year. They know that there are deals around every corner. Keeping an eye on your competition will let you know if their super sale is undercutting yours. It can also give you ideas for creative “holiday bundles” or package deals that will help you sell more.

Keep an eye on the competition, no matter how busy you get. You may not be able to afford not to.

holiday marketing listening

Novelty sock companies should use a listening dashboard to see what their competitors are up to this holiday season.

4. Neglecting retargeting

Ad retargeting should always be a cornerstone of your marketing campaigns. The ability to show targeted messages to warm audiences is a huge strength that consistently yields sales at higher rates than targeting cold audiences. It’s particularly important during the holiday season, however.

Too many brands neglect retargeting during the holidays and instead try to maximize sales by focusing on cold traffic. While targeting cold traffic with your ad campaigns can help you grow your client base when advertising big sales, you shouldn’t neglect your established customers.

It’s particularly important to run Facebook Ad campaigns targeting users who have recently visited your website.

holiday marketing mistakes

The holidays, after all, are a time where people are consistently buying gifts for other people. This means that a big portion of your sales may not come from your established customers, but from their loved ones gifting them. Because of this, the best way to reach them is to run retargeting campaigns shown to users who have recently checked out your site. This can put you in front of potential customers who were doing some early research into a gift and keep you on their radar.

5. Slacking on engagement monitoring

People are ready to buy now, both in B2B and B2C industries, and that means that their engagement on your profiles could hold a lot of weight. If you aren’t around to answer a question about a free trial, or another about your shipping and return policies, you could very well lose out on a massive sale. This goes for both organic posts and ads.

holiday marketing mistakes in 2017

Failing to answer customer questions could cost you a major loss in sales.

Use Agorapulse quick social media monitoring and management. You can keep an eye on engagement from every single platform (including your Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads) all on one dashboard, saving you a ton of time.

If you’re worried about not keeping up, download the Agorapulse mobile app. The app sends you notifications alerting you when you have items to review.

holiday social media mistakes

Never miss a single comment on both your organic posts and Facebook Ads.

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Want more helpful, actionable content like this? Subscribe to the Agorapulse newsletter, and get the most recent blog posts and news about the social media channels you use most.

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Ana Gotter

Ana Gotter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant specializing in social media and content marketing, though she writes on a variety of other niches and subjects. She can be contacted at

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