According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), nearly 82% of holiday shoppers began their shopping in October and November. This means, that if you haven’t started your holiday marketing campaigns, you’re late to the party. Luckily, not so late that you still can’t benefit. The shopping Super Bowl better known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a few days away. You can still take advantage of your customers’ wallets with a holiday campaign over social media.
Holiday campaigns aren’t limited to only retailers and consumer brands. Business-to-business and service-based companies can get in on the holiday joy, too. Whether you’re selling jewelery, software as a service, or consult with small businesses, you can rake in some extra cash over the coming weeks that will have long-term effects, if not an immediate monetary impact. A holiday campaign can boost brand awareness, increase traffic to your website, increase email subscriptions and brand sentiment, which can convert into revenue.
Create a Plan
The key to last-minute planning it to not leave out the planning part. We tend to rush over the details, but having a rough outline of what you want to do is helpful in keeping you on track during the whirlwind of execution. Here are a few questions to consider:
- What do you want to do?
- Who will you target?
- What is the timeline?
- How will you advertise?
You must be clear on what your goal for the campaign is and who you will target. Are you trying to increase reach with influencers, re-engage past customers, or acquire new ones? You must also consider the assets that you need for the contest to run. There are email campaigns, social media posts, landing pages, graphics, tools to capture entries, hashtags to monitor, and discount codes to be created. Campaigns can take many different shapes and use a combination of the things mentioned above. Giveaways, sales, and gifting are the ones that are easiest to execute in a short amount of time.
Develop the Contest
For a contest or giveaway, decide what you want to give away, how long the contest will run, and how your audience will enter. Use tools like Rafflecopter, Hootsuite Campaigns, or Leadpages to create an easy contest landing page where you can outline contest details and instructions to participate. If you’re struggling with what you should give away, gift cards are a great option. You can use them for your own business or gift one to another popular retailer like Amazon. Users will be happy to enter because they can use it for themselves or easily re-gift. Nearly 60% of consumers said they would like to receive gift cards as gifts, according to NRF. You can’t go wrong.
StubHub used gift cards and other prizes to for their #TixWish contest which required Twitter users to share what ticket would be their ideal gift using that hashtag on social media. The grand prize was 10,000 dollars on New Year’s Eve. Users are more likely to enter a contest for a smaller prize because they feel their chances of winning are higher. Thus, you don’t have to stress yourself out if you don’t have thousands of dollars to offer as a grand prize. Less can really be more. With this giveaway, Stubhub garnered over half a million mentions on Twitter and more than a billion impressions for the brand.
Surprise and Delight
Surprise and delight is great if you want to tug at heartstrings and build brand loyalty. With this kind of campaign, you identify influencers in your already existing community and send them a surprise. Why not spread a little holiday cheer? It can be your product, a complimentary service, or another prize of your choice. This removes the need for you to build out landing pages and heavily promote the contest. However, it does increase the amount of searching you have to do to figure out how to get your product, gift card, or service into the hands of an influencer.
Air Canada took a unique approach by identifying a place where their target market gathered and bringing the delight to them. According to Air Canada, they learned that Canadians who lived in London were regulars at a bar appropriately named Maple Leaf. The #ACGiftofHome campaign featured two Air Canada pilots who gifted everyone at the pub roundtrip tickets home for the holidays. They then invited customers to follow the stories via the hashtag.
Targeting the right influencers is crucial. You can identify the influencers in your community with a product like Twitter Segmentation or by doing it manually. You need to know who are your advocates already, who is most likely to spread the word on social, and who will appreciate what you give them. Air Canada got it right by going to the right pub. Gifting a ton of roundtrip tickets to Canada to people who didn’t have roots there wouldn’t have been as impactful. Research is very important for this type of campaign to be successful.
Make the Sale
Don’t let Black Friday or Cyber Monday pass you by. Take advantage of people being in the shopping mood and ready to spend. If a giveaway or surprise seems like too much work, you can always just run a sale. Consumers are already looking for deals and ways to save, especially online. Cyber Monday in 2014 resulted in $2.038 billion in online spending for the US, while Black Friday brought in 1.505 billion. The NRF estimates that sales this holiday season will be at $630 billion, with nearly half of that shopping and spending being done online. Don’t underestimate the power of offering a deep discount or free shipping.
Now that you have your campaign idea all set, how are you going to get the word out? Here are a few ways:
- Social Media Ads: Facebook and Instagram advertising are both ways to get your contest in front of the right eyes. If your goal is to re-engage past customers, use Twitter ads to target your email list.
- Email Campaigns: Pull a list of your social media influencers and send them a coupon directly. You can also give them early access to a sale, a deep discount, or another added bonus.
- Hashtag: Pick a hashtag that you can promote and use throughout the campaign. Include it on all your marketing materials and messages.
- Listening and Monitoring: Amplify the contest or giveaway by engaging with those who participate. Monitor your brand name and hashtag so you can continue the conversation past the entry or the sale.
In true SumAll fashion, I have to quickly touch on how to measure success. You can measure the reach of your hashtag with tools like Hashtracking or Tweet Reach or use Google Analytics to track how much traffic is coming from your channels and landing pages. If that seems too complicated to setup (trust me, I know), Bit.ly is a great alternative to track how many clicks came from your campaign promotions.
Nonetheless, set goals and success metrics prior to running the campaign. It will help you know what you need to strive for and how you should set up your contest, giveaway, or sale. the holiday season isn’t only once a year. There are holidays all year long that you can take advantage of. From Valentine’s Day to Back to School season, there are multiple opportunities for brands to capitalize on consumer interest. What holiday are you going to create a campaign around?
Updated November 22, 2017.