By now, you’ve probably heard about the importance of using social media to promote your business during the holidays, and throughout the rest of the year.
You may have even seen some of the stats about the value of social media, like:
Two-thirds of shoppers use social media to find the perfect gift.
Regardless of how much stock you put in the numbers, when it comes to the holidays, you know how important having the right plan to reach new customers and bring people into your store can be.
And even if you’re not a social media enthusiast, with the right plan, you can drive meaningful results on social media this holiday season.
Creating a social media plan starts with understanding what each network can bring to your business.
For the holidays, you’ll want to focus your efforts on a select group of social media sites that will offer the right features for connecting with your audience.
Here’s an overview of how each network could work for your business.
- Facebook: As a small business, you’ve probably already seen how Facebook can be used to engage with fans and promote your business throughout the year. On Facebook, you can use different types of content — including text, images, videos, and links — to engage your fans. You can also take advantage of Facebook’s advertising capabilities to target nearby consumers and drive local success. Lastly, with one-third of Facebook users now mobile-only, Facebook is also one of the most powerful networks for connecting with local consumers on their mobile device.
- Twitter: Twitter is one of the best networks for engaging with your audience and sharing helpful and engaging content. But did you also know that Twitter is a valuable platform for customer service? People love Twitter because it gives them direct access to the people and brands that are important to them. By monitoring your Twitter activity and responding to follower questions and feedback, you’ll never miss the opportunity to turn a social interaction into a new opportunity for your business.
- Pinterest: Users approach Pinterest with more of a shopping mentality than they do on other social sites. In fact, 47 percent of US online shoppers say they bought something as a direct result of a Pinterest recommendation. While you may use other networks — like Facebook or Twitter — strictly for engagement purposes, on Pinterest you’re able to connect with consumers at a unique stage of the buying process: the looking and browsing stage. Pinterest is the perfect platform to highlight gift ideas, and showcase all that your business has to offer this holiday season.
- Instagram: Instagram is one of the best networks for creating engaging content for your business this holiday season. Its user-friendly tools make it easy to create images and video clips your customers and potential customers will love. You can snap photos of staff members preparing for an upcoming holiday sale, or show off gift ideas with creative images your audience will love.
- YouTube: The holidays are the perfect time to create and share videos from your business. Your videos don’t have to be a big budget production. Something as simple as a video from your smartphone wishing customers a happy holiday, or an interview about upcoming holiday activities, can go a long way toward making a more personal connection with your audience. Best of all, you can easily share your videos on your different social networks or even add them to your holiday emails.
Now that you understand what each network can bring to your business, it’s time to start laying out your schedule.
To help get the ball rolling, we’ve brainstormed a list of creative post ideas perfect for each of these popular networks:
Use these ideas for inspiration. Choose the ones that make sense for your audience, and add your business’s unique personality to make them your own.
The final piece in your social media plan will be deciding on a frequency to post on each platform.
Below we have outlined recommended frequencies for all the different social networks. Remember that this is your social media plan. Focus on the networks you think offer the biggest opportunity for your business. These frequencies can provide guidelines as you start putting your calendar together.
(Note: Frequency will be most important on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. On YouTube, you’ll likely be creating one or a series of videos, and won’t need to focus on posting on a daily or weekly basis.)
With your content ideas and plans for posting mapped out, you can now start filling your calendar.
As you start putting your social media plan together, keep these important official and unofficial days and holidays in mind:
- Thanksgiving — November 27
- Black Friday — November 28
- Small Business Saturday — November 29
- Cyber Monday — December 1
- #GivingTuesday — December 2
- Hanukkah — December 16 – December 24
- Christmas Eve — December 24
- Christmas — December 25
- Boxing Day — December 26
You’ll also want to factor in your other marketing activities. For example, look for ways to coordinate your posting schedule with your email marketing schedule. Remember that you can easily share your holiday emails on social media, and use social media to encourage fans and followers to join your email list.
Here’s an example of what your calendar might look like for December:
As you start to put your calendar together, look for ways to save time and keep things running smoothly.
If you’re a Constant Contact customer, you can create and schedule your holiday emails in advance. You can also use tools like Facebook’s native post scheduler, which lets you schedule your posts ahead of time. Try to incorporate a number of time-saving tools to schedule posts before things get too hectic.
Also, make sure to take advantage of the convenience of mobile tools. Download the mobile apps for each of your most important social sites. You can also download the Constant Contact mobile app and create email reminders and announcements right from your mobile device!
Ready to get started?
Kick off your holiday posting schedule with Small Business Saturday in mind.
Come up with a great Small Business Saturday offer, and use your different communication channels to get the word out.
Remember that your schedule should include a mix of content that is designed to promote your business, and content that’s designed to entertain and engage your audience. It’s ok to put more of a focus on promotion when you’re trying to get the word out about an offer or drive last-minute sales, but make sure to mix in other posts that people will want to share and respond to.
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