As we approach another holiday shopping season, marketers everywhere are gearing up for their annual social media marketing strategy.
Given the growth and evolution of social media–and in particular, the accelerating role of social influencers in driving brand perception and purchasing decisions–there is a growing awareness of the need to find new ways of reaching skeptical consumers this holiday season.
Here are five of the most compelling ways to ensure that your brand resonates with consumers and generates revenues this holiday season.
Turn engagement into cash
If you had to choose one single priority to make this holiday season a success, it should be making shopping as intuitive and convenient as possible for your customers. According to Forrester Research, 55 percent of online customers say they are highly likely to cancel online purchases if they can’t find fast answers to their questions.
To earn and keep customers, start by optimizing your website and your checkout process for mobile. Next, specifically target those who already like your brand and product. Start by reaching out to people who are buying and recommending your product, and turn them into brand ambassadors. Empower them with media tools and targeted information about your holiday campaigns that they can directly promote for you to people they know, or to people who are influenced by them.
This is guaranteed to deliver positive results because consumers are much more likely to make purchases when they receive recommendations from family members, friends or other trusted sources.
Leverage user-generated content
Coupled with influencer marketing strategy and tactics, inspiring the creation and utilization of user-generated content is a highly effective way to reduce workload for your team–and more important, to engage your loyal customers. Outreach to users you want to highlight will shed light on your brand in an authentic way. Fans are passionate about their favorite products and companies. Building on this excitement is the imperative of the brands.
Use video and livestreaming
Livestreaming and video are excellent ways to put a face to your brand. There are a host of quality tools and platforms in the market for making brands stand out. For example, Facebook Live is a broadcast feature on the platform that anyone can use. It provides an easy way to connect with audiences, answer questions and give brands a human touch.
Your company may have internal resources for recording and publishing livestreams. Whether it is produced by internal or external people, brands should pull their teams together to come up with new ways to brainstorm using video and live demos to connect with their customers.
Deliver interactive campaigns
Humans are social by nature. Make sure to give your most loyal customers and fans something to do and share this holiday season. Get creative in coming up with new ways to connect with your fans to bring new energy to your brand and products. Ask them to develop content that shares how they use your product in celebrating the holidays. The central goal of these campaigns is to get people talking and spreading their passion for the brand to their networks.
Effective interactive campaigns create an immediate, often visceral connection for consumers with their brands of choice. A Glacial print ad doubles as a bottle wrapper that accelerates the beer-cooling process, using salt particles in the paper to reduce the freezing point of liquid. Nivea’s Cannes Grand Prix award-winning ad featured a wristband parents can attach to their children’s arms that allows them to track the child’s physical location and send alerts if the child transgresses set limits.
Such ingenious interactive experiences drive consumer engagement and, ultimately, loyalty.
Provide exceptional customer service
Customer service is at an all-time high and rising. 97 percent of consumers worldwide consider customer service very important or somewhat important, while 62 percent have abandoned a brand because of poor customer service (source: Microsoft 2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service). There is no substitute for driving and reinforcing brand loyalty for answering customer inquiries and issues in a timely, attentive manner.
Social media makes it easier than ever to help consumers in real-time. Make sure you’re properly staffed and ready for the rush. Being prepared for an influx of messages will not only make your brand look good, but will solve problems before they escalate—and. best of all, lead to more sales.
The take-home message couldn’t be clearer. Whether consumers fill your brand’s holiday stocking with money or coal depends on your initiative, responsiveness and the quality of your service. Start preparing and planning now so you’re ready to execute when the holidays arrive.
Leveraged properly, influencer-driven social media has the ability to increase brand awareness and engagement and to drive sales. We encourage you to use these strategies and techniques as a starting point to layout the framework for your holiday social media campaign.
Tom Stockham is CEO of influencer marketing company Experticity.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.