It takes a skilled marketing team to run an effective social media campaign for the holidays. Developing innovative, engaging and infectious marketing material – while also staying mindful of your customers and their traditions – is not easy water to tread.
Playful holiday content that promotes social engagement will likely go much farther than shoving retail messaging down customers’ throats. And it helps to remembers that the holidays hold strong religious or cultural traditions for some people.
Here are five social media pitfalls to avoid when entering into the holiday season to make sure you don’t get a lump of coal left under your tree.
- Don’t Be Pushy
While it’s certainly a popular shopping time for most, companies should aim to focus more on brand awareness rather than pushy sales tactics when posting on social media. Just ask Kmart.
The retail chain got in an awkward Twitter exchange with customers after announcing it was staying open 41 straight hours over the Thanksgiving holiday. The company’s announcement meant longer hours for employees and was met by public outcry over social media. Instead of tactfully responding to the angry tweets rolling in, K-Mart drew further ire by answering over and over in the same robotic fashion.
- Don’t Forget to Cater to Your Current Audience
During the holiday madness, a heavy focus is often put on acquiring new customers rather than utilizing the relationships with the current ones. Instead of running promotions for first-time buyers, send customer-only promotions across social channels or reward frequent buyers with a loyalty program. The payoff: A Five Stars Customer Loyalty Data Study found that loyal customers (at least 10 visits to your business) account for 80 percent of total revenue and 72 percent of total visits.
- Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?
This is a tricky one. Pew Research found about nine in 10 Americans celebrate Christmas and 86 percent of Americans buy gifts for friends as part of celebrating the holiday. What happens when you try to straddle the fence? Starbucks felt the power of social media when it unveiled holiday cups that were perceived to be taking religion out of Christmas.
- Don’t Spam Users
When the madness of the holiday season rolls around, the last thing a person wants is to have their inbox bombarded by holiday spam. Although you may not consider your email spam, the reality is you and hundreds of other companies are sending similar messages at similar times. Email marketing specialist Constant Contact saw small business use its service to deliver 365,306,439 emails on Cyber Monday in 2014.
Do you think people’s email boxes were getting overloaded? Constant Contact offer 28 ways to develop a holiday email strategy that focuses more on value, such as early bird offers, free shipping or a holiday freebie.
- Don’t Stray From Your Brand
With all the competition to stay relevant on social media, especially during what is arguably the busiest time of year, it can be easy for a brand to lose their focus. Sure, everybody wants to create the next viral video that catapults their brand to the next level, but keep in mind your audience. What customers do you actually want to attract? Ask yourself that question when developing your holiday strategy in order to inform your marketing efforts.
This is a mistake made very commonly on remembrance holidays like Martin Luther King Day and Memorial Day. Food, drink and travel companies—with a corporate vision that has little to do with the solemn events—will use these holidays as a way to push their own messaging forward. In 2014, Omaha Steaks tweeted a picture of a massive cut of meat, a knife and fork with the caption: “Eat, drink and celebrate the lives of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. #MemorialDay.”
Because everybody knows that steak and war heroes go hand in hand.
Marketing around the holiday season can be tricky. But with a little outside-the-box thinking, you’ll definitely be on your customers’ Nice List.