By Natalie Burg
The holiday shopping season isn’t just about tinsel-lined storefronts anymore. While many small businesses spend months preparing their physical locations for the boost in holiday visitors, it can be easy to forget that an online presence needs just as much planning for the busy season.
In this three-part series, we explore some small business tips that will help you to ready your business for the holidays, beginning with the front line of your online presence: your social media.
Cyber Monday: The Social Media Holiday Season Begins
Black Friday has long been recognized as the beginning of the holiday shopping season, but in recent years, holiday shopping online has gotten its own official kickoff date in Cyber Monday. The big online shopping date also serves as the starting point for holiday social media campaigns.
“Many companies are using social media to extend the Black Friday-Cyber Monday party, or pushing sales through mobile apps made for iPhone and Android phone users,” writes Evan Klonsky for Inc. “Ideeli, the discount designer sale site, uses Twitter to respond to queries from its 16,000 followers, and employs a hashtag to promote Black Friday week (#ideeliblack). Newegg leaks information about upcoming deals to the more than 400,000 shoppers who are fans of its Facebook page.”
Call to Action
The core of any good social media campaign is interaction, but you can’t just rely on holiday enthusiasm to inspire your audience to engage. Giving customers a specific way to interact with you in a special way during the holidays, as Ideeli does, creates a fun way to ramp up engagement.
“When you start a conversation, request feedback, or make a promotional offer via email, the next step is to drive your audience to social destinations and engage them,” Gail Goodman writes for Entrepreneur. ”Make it clear to your email readers what you want them to do next. It may be to ‘Like’ you on Facebook to get a coupon, follow you and retweet an offer on Twitter to be eligible for a prize, or continue a hot-topic holiday discussion elsewhere.”
Maximize Holiday Sharing
Sharing is what the holidays and social media have most in common, and it’s also a great way to reach new customers during the big sales season. Plan your holiday social media posts around sharing to lay the groundwork for your promotions to go viral.
“Your aim is to capture your customers’ attention and then inspire them to comment on and share your content or offer with their friends or network,” Goodman writes. “That way, a whole new audience hears about your business, with the implied endorsement of your customers.”
Like every other part of your small business’s holiday plans, the ramp up in social media requires some advance planning and dedication throughout the season, but the effort can more than pay off with new customers and an ultra-enthusiastic fan base.
What can you do to engage your social media followers this holiday season?