It’s wild to think that we’re already approaching the holiday season, but if you’re just now planning your social strategy, you’re actually a little late. As marketers, preparing your content for the biggest shopping season of the year should happen a minimum of six months out. However, we’re in unprecedented times this year. Many of our clients waited a bit longer than normal to plan their marketing strategy, to see how COVID updates shook out. The marketing landscape has changed drastically since COVID hit and for many brands, being reactive has taken priority over being uber prepared.
But never fear! We’re here with some quick and actionable ways you can get your communication channels ready for the holidays.
Make your list and check it twice
And by list, we mean content calendar. If you’ve read our previous blog about building an agile social strategy, you already know the importance of the all-mighty content calendar. Your calendar will be your Rudolph when it comes to navigating the wild world of digital marketing during the holidays. Use it to identify what stories you want to tell and when. Bonus tip: build in key dates, such as holidays and shipping deadlines, to ensure you keep your audience informed and to help you map out the month accordingly.
Give your community the gift of story
Of course, this holiday season is looking drastically different than ones of the past and it’s never been a better time to rethink your standard ‘sell, sell, sell’ marketing mentality. One way of doing this is by developing a more generous story by approaching your seasonal marketing with the lens of giving back. Perhaps it’s a story focused around community donations or a campaign that encourages sustainability during a notoriously consumerist time. If you’re looking for more ways of selling generously, read our recent blog on the topic.
Sustainable clothing brand MATE the Label put a holiday spin on their sustainability message by supplying their community with tips on eco-friendly wrapping. In fact, all holiday posts were focused on green gift-giving. They stayed true to their brand and voice while supplying their community with a takeaway.
As another example, well known outdoor retailer REI plans to continue their #optoutside campaign for a fifth consecutive year this year. This campaign has been widely successful and has paved the way for other brands to take a stance against consumerism.
Deck the halls with creative content
Once you’ve mapped out your content and the stories you’re going to want to tell, do a quick creative audit to get an idea of what type of creative you will need to support your messages. It can seem daunting but if you plan ahead, it will be easier to activate the key people you’ll need to support content creation. On a small team working with limited resources? Check out our blog with ideas on how to repurpose existing creative. Also, do not underestimate the power of a great free stock photo site. Our personal favourites include Unsplash or Stocksy.
Joy to the social media management tools
We’re going to give you the best gift of all: our top recommendations for social media management tools. The last thing you want to worry about during the hustle and bustle of the holidays is making sure that you posted that IG post. Social media management tools allow you to schedule your social content in advance and so that it automatically publishes on your channels. This comes in extremely handy during the holiday break when your office closures and staff vacation days are common. Best of all: depending on your business size, many offer a free version. Our top reco: Later. A Vancouver-based company (we’re not biased, we swear), Later offers multi-channel integration and full calendar view options for easy maintenance.
’O come all ye paid ads
As you embark on your holiday marketing journey, consider the power of paid. Investing some of your budget into boosting your posts can help you increase your reach and ultimately get you in front of some new eyeballs, which is key as brands shift from brick and mortar to e-commerce. In fact, studies have estimated that US brick-and-mortar retail will decline 4.7% compared to 2019, while US retail ecommerce sales will jump a whopping 35.8% to $190.47 billion in 2020—this is a great year to consider joining the conversation through paid advertising support.
Have yourself a merry little contest
If paid ads aren’t something you’re interested in, look at other ways you can spread some holiday cheer. Take a page from skincare brand Blume who partnered with Cooluli to host a holiday contest. To enter, community members had to tag friends and reshare the post (which led to increased reach and awareness). You can also use a contest to gather user-generated content that can then be repurposed and shared within your social feeds. Not only does this show your community you care, but it’s also an easy solution for generating creative assets.
Of course, each holiday season is different. But 2020 really takes the cake. However, one thing does remain constant—we’re all learning. These are unprecedented times that have challenged us as marketers to experiment, to get innovative and to stretch our inner creative genius.
Hopefully, this gives you a good headstart on your holiday marketing plan. We’ll keep an eye out for your brand’s name on the holiday digital marketing nice list.