Via LinkedIn : A recent eMarketer article reported that according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics “Thanksgiving Weekend Spending Survey” overall shopper traffic was down this year while Black Friday online sales were up 20.6% year over year.
With online savvy customers becoming more engaged this year, using social media for research and product suggestions from friends, brands must learn how to balance the fine act of promoting the convenience of shopping online vs. in-store.
Here are 5 helpful tips for marketers to follow:
1. Make Holiday Posts Informative and Entertaining
Leading up to Black Friday, Thanksgiving Day, Hanukah, Christmas or other holidays, customers will flock online and onto social media to find out what’s on sale, read product reviews or learn about what’s trending.
Consumers tend to tune-out what they don’t see as being relevant content so don’t keep the focus around just what you’re selling. Talk up free shipping, convenience, price guarantee, etc. It’s not about pushing one particular product as it’s about making sure your retail brand is top of mind for a consumer who is on the go from store to store.
Listen to what customers are saying about your brand, products they could buy at your store, or attitudes they’re feeling about current holiday conditions to discover new ideas for your social content.
An example of one brand that’s leveraging the power of social media this holiday season is Nordstrom Rack. Yesterday I posted on Facebook “Where can I buy an ugly sweater?”. Today I saw the following post pop-up in my newsfeed.
2. Maybe it’s a buy-one-get-one offer, or 20% off your entire purchase.
Making a customer feel special and engaged, builds loyalty long-term, and there’s no better time to spread goodwill than the holidays.
According to Ted Rubin, Acting CMO of Brand Innovators, Social Marketing Strategist and Author of “Return on Relationship”, brands should make active use of Instagram, where hash-tags add even more value than Twitter, and Pinterest where many women go for inspiration. And, instead of just giving away “free”, how about adding incremental value such as: free snacks for kids, babysitting services for parents to go shopping and even guiding customers to where they can go buy a product if the store they’re at doesn’t have it.
3. Engage Millennials on Instagram
Instagram sweepstakes and hash-tag campaigns are the new way for brands to reel in prospective millennial shoppers (born within 1980 – 2000).
An example is: “ExpressRunway on Instagram”
Express is giving away a Party Jacket, no purchase necessary, by simply asking their audience of 171K+ followers to comment on a single post.
Less than $100, of product, in exchange for 1,397 “Likes” and 587 comments in an hour is pretty inexpensive for holiday advertising and far more effective than if they were to run a Facebook ad – and it grows social engagement!
4. Surprise and Delight to Build Goodwill and Loyalty
Be generous this holiday season; give away FREE products, gift cards, shipping, coupons and discounts at random to customers who engage with your brand leading up to the holidays and even during them.
Why not create a special deal for “influencers” or for loyal customers that they can share to their friends?
Maybe you’re a coffee shop and want to offer a free Christmas cookie with a cup of coffee to warm up frozen line-standers. 4. Engage Women on Pinterest
With its rising popularity amongst female shoppers, leverage Pinterest to post everything from meal preparation ideas to DIY tips and crafts on how-to create that perfect Christmas wreath or decorate your home.
Pinterest is also a great way for retailers to feature this year’s hottest fashions and Fall/Winter catalog while inspiring users on how-to mix and match gifts for under a set amount.
If your retail brand offers an e-commerce platform, sells home improvement items, food and beverage or fashion and it’s not on Pinterest, sadly you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity to cash in.
What’s great about Pinterest is being able to link pins back to your brands website which drives website traffic leading to increased selling opportunities. Also, you can add “Pin it” buttons to your brand’s website to essentially catalog every item so they can be shared across Pinterest massive database of prospective buyers.
5. Be Human
If you don’t have resources to staff your social media department during high traffic times such as: the weekend or evening hours, let your community know ahead of time.
It’s perfectly OK to tweet on Christmas Eve that your social team will be at home with their families and for immediate inquiries send an email or call your customer service hotline.
The worst is when a customer running into your store on Christmas Eve hoping to pick up something they saw in your ad, or online, not having it on hand and then being bombarded with a series of tweets that aren’t answered until the following business day.
To read 20 Tips on “Real Talk: How Social Media Drives Holiday Sales”, click here.
Happy Holidays! 🙂
Carlos Gil is a Marketing Executive, Digital Strategist, Speaker and Entrepreneur.