4 Strategic Moves to Make Now for Your Holiday Marketing Campaigns

In the midst of preparing for a hectic holiday shopping season, it’s tempting to play it safe and stick with what you know worked last year in your marketing campaigns. But here’s a reality check: If you’re not innovating, you’re falling behind.

Most digital marketers understand this, but struggle to meaningfully integrate their brand into new features and trends. After all, a great holiday campaign requires a lot of time and resources, and you want to make sure you’re not investing in – or strategizing around – a fad.

On the other hand, taking a smart and careful leap is necessary for growth. The social media sphere is filled with endless opportunities for people to critique their experience with your brand.

To survive and thrive in any big campaign, you need to first identify your obstacles and opportunities, and build your strategy from there. Read on for four ways you can do this that are specific to the landscape of the ideal online relationship between brands and people right now:

1. Cut through the noise with Live promotion

Black Friday requires shoppers to live in the moment. Deals expire rapidly, which doesn’t give people much time to contemplate a purchase. Unfortunately, changes in algorithms across nearly all social media platforms have resulted in feeds that show you old (relatively speaking) content. These changes, however, have come alongside Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and Instagram Stories. These new opportunities for immediacy are also less saturated than a platform’s traditional feed. Looking at these factors, your Black Friday campaign is the prime opportunity to invest resources in one or more of these tools.

Should you decide to tackle a live promotion, keep in mind: While the “here and now” aesthetic is meant to feel scrappy, you should still take the time to create and iterate on shot lists and practice with potential on-air talent. For example, if you are reporting live from a brick and mortar, how can you use that frantic, yet exciting energy to direct social media users to your online store? Execution is half the battle, and it begins long before you start broadcasting.

Even in the fleeting nature of “going live”, thoughtful programming can be worth the investment. For example, Addition Elle used Facebook Live—putting them front and center in the action by livestreaming directly from the runway—to give potential customers a taste of New York Fashion Week. The result? They lifted sales by 5 percent.

Thoughtful programming is always worth the investment on social media.

 

2. Take care of your customers with a chatbot

Some customers value interaction when they make purchasing decisions. This is especially true during the holiday rush. Many people have trouble keeping up with all of the deals and product details for things they are gifting, since they are often making purchases they don’t normally make for themselves.

Chatbots can help boost efficiency in customer service support, and meet the potential customer where they are comfortable: in their inbox. However, if you’re going to launch a chatbot for the holidays, you must first make sure it works. You’ll want to start building it, like, now. The thought of building a chatbot in two months may feel daunting, but it’s actually not impossible. Check out this Chatbots Magazine article to learn how startup investor built a chatbot over the course of one weekend.

Whether you want to capitalize on these new opportunities or not, it's worth the time to sit down with your creative and digital teams to see how you can push the envelope. A lot of eyes are on retail during Black Friday weekend, so people will take notice of your efforts.

3. Execute a full-blown audit of your mobile experience

In 2016, mobile shoppers exceeded desktop shoppers on Thanksgiving Day. Translation: You cannot afford to provide a subpar mobile purchasing experience.

This starts with your website. A few years back, companies invested extensive amounts of time and energy into mobile applications that provided a great user experience, only to find out that people are fairly choosy when deciding which apps to download. This means that people who downloaded your app (and kept it on their phone) are probably brand loyalists already. This isn’t exactly breaking news, but many companies still struggle to match the user experience of their mobile application to that of their website. The good news is that if you have a great mobile application to act as inspiration, you can still make meaningful changes to your website’s mobile experience in the next couple of months.

Companies still struggle to match the user experience of their mobile application to that of their website

 

You can also let Facebook and Instagram take care of the user experience for you. Instagram Shopping integrates social media marketing and ecommerce, providing a pre-packaged, mobile-native experience. Facebook Instant Articles provides a faster load time – especially for people who are in areas with poor connection. Pro-tip: Facebook provides some great advice for creating quality branded Instant Articles.

All of this is to say that maintaining and expanding your customer base means meeting them where they are, which increasingly means on their phones. One third of U.S. shoppers say they complete transactions on their mobile device.

4. Don’t just make the sale—build brand loyalty

In the rush of holiday shopping, it’s easy to live in the moment. And while the nature of the season along with sweet deals can attract first-time or casual buyers, those factors won’t necessarily keep them coming back when customers are harder to win over in the first quarter of the year.

That means to build your base during the holidays, you must strive to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible for customers. A spike in shoppers can possibly mean a spike in technical issues and confused people as well. To combat this, you need a customer service plan with granular detail and foresight. Think back to last year. Were there any mistakes your team made that you can fix this year? You should also consider whether you need to hire seasonal workers to keep up with online customer service demand.

Brand loyalty emerges when you take care of customers—and when they respond positively to your social media content. To draw them into your social channels, incentivize them to follow your accounts with promotional deals. To make sure you keep them hanging around after they make their purchases, plan a healthy mix of engaging, entertaining, and useful content to post before, during, and after the holiday rush. In other words, resist the urge to solely promote during the months of November and December.

If you’re hitting a creativity brick wall during your holiday campaign planning, join us at our Smart Social Summit and workshop ideas with some of your most forward-looking peers working in the digital space.

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Jaime Netzer is Spredfast's Senior Content Marketing Manager, leading content operations. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly and reads constantly.