We've all seen it, a news feed or Twitter stream full of promotional verbiage like:
- Check out these great deals
- Click here for this season's best offer
- Our biggest holiday sale
By now, most consumers are numb to this type of marketing speak, which makes cutting through the holiday noise even harder. Yes, we said holiday. Thankfully, the first frost has not made its way to our front yards just yet, but in order to ensure success this holiday season, now is the time to be developing a thoughtful social media strategy and cultivating brand affinity.
According to the basic principles of Public Relations, people consume media to fulfill four primary objectives: to be informed, to be entertained, to feel a sense of belonging, and to develop opinions. Social media is no different. Since 1998, research providers, Edison Research and Arbitron have been conducting surveys about how people use the Internet. With the unveiling of their 2012 Social Habit study, 'How Americans Really Use Social Media,'? it seems not much about human nature has changed. The number-one reason Americans polled follow brands online is for sales/discounts/coupons. Other reasons for following include:
- To stay informed about new products
- For 'content/ideas"
- For 'news/information"
- For 'humorous/entertaining content"
While it is no surprise that a consumer's desire to receive discounts and special offers was the top reason for 'liking'? a brand, brands should take notice that users also want to be entertained, and many look to follow brands and
share posts that have engaging content. Thus, the secret to standing out on social media this holiday season and beyond is to be entertaining.
Get in the holiday spirit by keeping it real.
The most successful social brands are those that approach social media like a human interacting with a human; they are transparent, authentic, relevant, and consistent. So how do we roll that into one big ball of entertainment that gets fans, followers, and likers talking? Think outside the box. Here are a few ideas to help you start building your holiday momentum early.
- Offer advice to common holiday challenges and ask users about their challenges
- Encourage user-generated content ' what was your best childhood Halloween costume or photo of best Black Friday buy
- Make use of reality ' encourage users to upload real-time shopping updates, photos of favorite purchases, etc.
- Encourage new and old customers to review your brand and products ' users rely on other users
- Social giving ' do it and encourage it ' Share how your brand is giving back to the community and how your brand followers are doing the same
- Fun contests and giveaways ' everyone loves free stuff, especially when it's a surprise or reward for positive engagement
- Themed countdowns ' Give users something to look forward to, other than quality time with the family and presents
Social media is a channel to help brands pull back the curtain and let customers connect with brands on a more personal level. Holiday social media engagement shouldn't be limited to a few months of flash sales; it should be a year round relationship. Using the holiday season to encourage engagement could also help build bigger engagement overall. It's important to keep in mind that if you are going to launch something new for holiday that you are able to sustain it throughout the year to yield the greatest benefits. Happy sharing!