Like, Pin, Tweet, Share, Follow and Heart the Holidays

AR|PRBy Blair Broussard, Vice President of AR|PR 

The year is winding down but the shopping season is just getting started. If you are involved in any facet of the retail industry, you know that Q4 is often responsible for more than half of a company’s annual sales. This means you’ve got to put your best foot forward with much of your marketing and PR budget being spent during this time…but it must be spent wisely so you can truly get that ROI.

So, how should you allocate your marketing communications dollars? Traditional advertising…direct mail…guerilla marketing – there’s so many strategies and tactics to choose from! However, social media is effective at driving sales, and it’s much more affordable than the aforementioned mediums. Do you own a local mom and pop shop or a national brick and mortar store? No worries, social media can also help YOU increase your holiday sales with these four simple tips:

  1. Everyone Loves A Winner…So Be One On Your Social Networks

According to the latest Nielsen study, 70% of shoppers trust online consumer reviews – including those from people they’ve never met. What does that mean for you? Well, if a customer leaves a positive remark on a social account share it, re-tweet it and post it to your website! If a customer leaves a negative remark, have no fear! This gives you the opportunity to address, control and fix the concern, making your brand even more appealing, as potential buyers witness superior customer service firsthand.

Not only do consumer social media posts hold influence, but so do branded posts. Epsilon found that retailers’ social network posts and pages have a 35% influence on purchases, and their social media usage is 6% more influential than coupons. So, forget couponing this season and give social media advertisements that contain customer testimonials and media placements a try – third party validation coupled with social media advertising could be the golden ticket to high sales numbers. 

  1. Give Them That Warm and Fuzzy Feeling

It’s the holidays; everyone is excited to snuggle up with that hot cup of cocoa and peruse his or her feeds and boards. Be sure you are also on their radar by creating fun, engaging and beautiful holiday content. Below are three strategies to incorporate into your content that will promote your products in a memorable, warm and fuzzy kind of way:

  • Videos – Did you know that video accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic on social media? Harness this power in the form of a fun, engaging and short on- brand video. Not only will this promote your products, it’ll be another opportunity to showcase your company culture and increase brand awareness. Don’t forget about the possibility that this thing could go viral – every marketer’s dream.
  • E-cards – Custom e-cards are a perfect way to implement an element of stewardship into your holiday marketing. Send this to customers, vendors, partners, employees, etc. – a fun way to say Happy Holidays (and an extra opportunity to offer a % discount and DRIVE MORE SALES.)
  • GIFS: Those hilarious images that include about 10 seconds of animation you spend hours on the Internet gawking at? Yes, these are great for engaging with your audience and driving your reach, RTs and likes really high – especially if they are timely, relevant to your brand and most importantly, funny!
  • Contests: Need to clear out inventory on a particular product or gift set? Highlight it by giving one away for free during a holiday contest via social media. An oldie but goodie, 10 days of Christmas, also allows you to heavily discount such items for a short period of time exclusively on social – this drives sharing of the information, and also helps you to promote that particular product!
  1. Make Sure You Have an Ulterior Motive

Now that you have them feeling all warm and fuzzy, be sure that you always have a hook at the end. A strong call to action tied to the aforementioned holiday tactics is key. Don’t get caught up in the design of that GIF too long to remember what you are doing all of this for – to drive sales! Ensure that all of your campaigns, content and beautiful imagery are truly doing their jobs during the holidays…if not? PIVOT! The beauty of social media is that it can be edited in real time unlike that billboard you bought off of I-10…

  1. Put a Bow Buy Button on It

Jump on that “Buy” button bandwagon. With “buy” buttons, social media channels, like Pinterest and Facebook, are turning themselves into marketplaces, allowing consumers to purchase directly from retailers without having to navigate away from the social site. This becomes a win/win for all: retailers make a quick sale, consumers make quick and easy purchases, and the social network keeps its users on its channel. While the future of the “Buy” button’s impact on Internet retailing is uncertain, one thing is sure – social media’s influence on consumers buying habits is indeed a reality.

During the 2015 holiday season, eMarketer predicts online retail sales will grow nearly 14%. Ensure your company gets a piece of the pie – embrace social media, use it effectively and then watch those conversions rise.