Is it just me, or do the winter holidays seem as though they get here faster and faster each year? Momma said that would happen as I got older, but that’s not really the point of this article. The point is that we should start preparing our social media strategy for the holidays as early as possible.
After all, shoppers save all year long to buy the perfect gifts for their friends and family, and even themselves. Your business deserves a cut of all those juicy profits. That’s why you need to start working now to get your slice of the pie. If you don’t, you could end up left out in the cold while your competitors are making all the hot sales.
Don’t drop the ball on your holiday social media strategy
Consider for a moment what happened last year. If you’re anything like most business owners, you began the year with the best of intentions. You decided this would be your company’s year to make all the sales, for every occasion. Then, what happened? Life and responsibilities took over, and you didn’t have a plan in place to correct your course.
Here’s the thing: Every year the holidays get insanely busy.
The hustle and bustle may start out slow, but before you know it you’re merely days away from the hottest shopping season of the year, and you’re simply not ready for it.
Don’t let that happen to you again this year. Dropping the ball could cost you hundreds, if not thousands, in profits.
5 ways to create a solid social media strategy for the holidays
Now that you understand why planning ahead is so critical, do you want to know the best method for planning your social media strategy? I’m spilling everything I’ve learned, so keep reading to learn five ways to create a solid social media strategy for the holidays.
Learn from the previous year’s strategies.
Refine your target market for the holidays.
Draft your social media strategy on paper.
Write your posts, and design your graphics.
Schedule all the things in advance.
Now let’s look at these lessons in detail!
1. Learn from the previous year’s strategies
The first step is to learn from the previous year’s strategies. What did you do with your social media strategy last year that worked? What didn’t work? Make notes about everything.
For example, did you schedule posts ahead of time for people to see? Or were you struggling to get something uploaded each day, and often missed the opportunity to do it because something else came up?
So, if you struggled to get posts loaded, maybe start scheduling them days or weeks ahead of time.
Pro tip: You can schedule Facebook posts on your business’s page as early as six months ahead of time, and Twitter for business states that you can schedule Twitter posts up to a year in advance.
What if you didn’t have a social media strategy the previous year?
That’s OK. There’s still much to learn from last year. You can look through the posts of your top competitors, and see which ones got the most engagement, and which ones didn’t.
A quick way to do this on Twitter is to use Twitter’s Advanced Search. Forget scrolling through all of their tweets until you get to the winter holiday posts. Using the advanced search you can find tweets from specific accounts in the exact date ranges you want. You can even search specific hashtags and phrases they might have used, too.
The fastest way I have found to see what my competitors have done on Facebook is to go directly to their photos and glance through the thumbnails for images that are holiday themed. I do the same thing on Instagram. This is much faster than scrolling through each photo individually.
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2. Refine your target market for the holidays
Step two of your social media strategy is to refine your target market. If you haven’t defined a target market, there’s no time like the present. However, once you do have a target market in mind, you need to refine it for the holidays. Think about who would want to purchase your products or services as a gift.
This step may clue you in as to how to approach selling your products or services as a gift on social media.
For example, if you sell an hourly service, you could create a gift package that comes with a printed certificate for an hour or more of your time. A virtual assistant could sell a calendar/planner complete with a gift certificate offering an allotted number of hours of help for a business owner. A personal trainer could create an at home workout kit with a certificate for several hours of personal training.
That virtual assistant can now create graphics and social posts with phrases like “give the gift of time.” And, that personal trainer can design ones that say things like “give the gift of health.”
Once you get clear on what you’re selling, and get into the gift giver’s mindset, the social media posts practically write themselves.
3. Draft your social media strategy on paper
Step three is to draft your social media strategy on paper. Grab a calendar and literally write on each day how many posts you want to go live, when you want them published, and which platforms they should go live on. This will help you decide when you want to have special sales pricing, and when you need to have extra inventory in stock (or when your gift certificates need to be printed).
Start thinking about what you want to say to your customers and prospects. What would compel them to buy a gift from you?
Of course, it’s also important to remember that not every social media post should be a hardcore sales pitch. You also want to give people those warm and fuzzy feelings that come with the holidays. Connecting those good feels with your business will make them see your company in a more positive light. This could translate into more sales for you.
4. Write your posts, and design your graphics
You know who you’re selling to. You know what you’re selling. Now the next step of your social media strategy is to finally create the messages and graphics that drive engagement on your social media profiles. As you write these posts, and design these graphics, save them all to a folder on your computer (or in the cloud) so you can use them this season, and possibly the next one, too.
Some business owners can write and craft posts for an entire month in just one afternoon. Others need a little more time than that. Who knows? You might realize at this point you need the help of a social media manager. Better to know that now than when it’s too late. However you get it done, get all those posts written and ready to go so you’ll be ready for the last step.
5. Schedule all the things in advance
Keep in mind, the more posts you can schedule ahead of time, the better!
You don’t want your sales to suffer from this chaos. To really make your holiday social media strategy work, schedule your Facebook posts, your Twitter updates, and even your Instagram posts if you can. Grant you, you’ll have to use a third-party app to schedule on Instagram, but the point is that even that can be done.
Schedule as soon as possible so that it’s one less thing you have to worry about.
Take notes on everything that is happening on your social pages as well. Everything you learn this year on your own profiles can help you plan for the following holiday season.
And, if for some reason you don’t have everything scheduled, at least having drafts of your posts and graphics will make it easy to throw something on your profiles at the last minute. This isn’t the most ideal scenario, but it’s better than nothing.
What if you’re reading this in the middle of the current holiday season?
You might already be too late to take full advantage of this year’s sales, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. Can you carve out just an hour or two to write and schedule some posts on your profiles? If so, do that.
Schedule as much as you can to last throughout the rest of the season. This will work out much better for you than trying to set aside time daily to post something. However, putting the pressure on yourself to make it a point to post once a day in lieu of scheduling several posts in advance, will likely result in you just giving up on your social media until the end of the season.
Then again, if you do give up on this season, you can still glean ideas and knowledge from what you see others doing this year. You can begin watching your competitors, and drafting plans for everything you want to do differently next year. Besides, planning your social media strategy for the following holiday season wouldn’t be the worst thing you could do.
Until next time, may your social media profiles be loaded with engagement, and your holiday sales be high!
Also published on Medium.