Social Media and the Holidays: Mistakes to Avoid

The holiday season is incredibly festive and fun. It also just happens to be a great time of year to be creative with your social media content. Occasionally, though, we see someone take the fun a little too far – they get a little too pushy with their marketing or they try to use humor where it becomes downright offensive.

This holiday season – avoid being that business. You don’t need that kind of attention! Instead, use these strategies to nail down your campaigns, celebrate, and excel, all without risking a PR disaster in the process.

Don’t Plan Too Late

Bad news: you’re already a little behind schedule if you’re just starting to think about holiday marketing now. Good news: it’s not too late to catch up.

It’s “game on” the second the Halloween costumes come off, and people will be bombarded with ads starting at the beginning of November. If you wait too long, your potential customers will have already made their holiday purchasing decisions. That means you need to start planning now, and hopefully, have something firmly in place by Halloween.

Create a schedule that starts on November first and make sure it carries you through the entire holiday season, but don’t extend the “season” too far. Make sure it ends at the New Year and move on to your next set of advertising goals.

Don’t Ignore the Holidays

Maybe the holidays don’t really mean much to your service-based business. It may be hard to get festive about MOSFET transistors, steel manufacturing, or pest control, for example, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the holidays altogether. And there’s almost always a way to tie the holidays in, no matter how strange it feels.

Here’s the thing: your customers still want to feel a bit of holiday cheer when they visit your social media profile. Specials and deals may not be appropriate, and that’s fine; it’s not the only option. Find ways to use your social platforms to show your involvement in the community, sharing photos of seasonal events, holiday drives, or special charity work.

Don’t Disregard Smaller Celebrations

Everyone always focuses on the big marketing opportunities: Black Friday is a no-brainer, and Hanukkah and Christmas get promoted every year. But what about the lesser-known but potentially high-ticket days in between? Are you running promotions for Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, or Free Shipping Day?

You may even want to think even further outside the box and put together something for the 12 Days of Christmas or for those celebrating Kwanzaa. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays, but everyone likes to feel included. A little creativity might just put your work in front of a market you hadn’t previously considered.

If all else fails, there’s always Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Don’t Try to Work in Real-time

There is too much to be done during the holiday season. Attempting to launch campaigns manually on the day they’re set to go live will cause you to pull your hair out, and possibly throw it at your colleagues. That’s just not very festive! You may also end up forgetting to implement critical parts of your campaign when other emergency situations or meetings pop up.

Use your favorite scheduling tools to make sure all your content is planned and scheduled in advance – months in advance where possible, but at least several weeks if nothing else. Everything will go up at the right time of day and your team will be able to monitor as-neededfrom a customer service perspective.

Don’t Be A Self-Serving Billboard

Yes, it’s the holiday season. Yes, you need to promote yourself. Yet you still need to make sure you are offering quality, informative content in between your deals and steals, or it may come across as overselling. Funny memes, holiday tips and tricks, and shared posts about charities and the good work other people are doing in the world should be incorporated into a solid social media calendar all year round.

Everything you do needs to relate back to the people you are serving. Don’t make it all about you. Make it about them. What/How are the products and/or services you offer going to do to help them get through the holiday season with less stress?

(Hint: this approach doesn’t only work during the holidays! Use it throughout the year and improve audience loyalty.)

Don’t Neglect Your Email List

Use your social media platform to highlight your subscriber-only specials. Entice people to sign up for your email newsletter for exclusive access to your upcoming holiday deals, which promise to be amazing! Start early, especially if you are setting up your email series to tease the specials and then launch for a specific day.

Don’t Forget to Check Out the Competition

What is your competition doing on social media for the holiday season? Are they updating their cover banners and thumbnail images? Are they running extra special holiday promotions? Are their specials a better bang for the buck than yours? Make the adjustments necessary to compete.

Don’t Leave Out the Shared Testimonials

The holiday season is fast-paced, so you must give potential buyers everything they need to make a quick decision. This includes sharing testimonial photos and quotes from last year’s happy customers. People are more likely to make a purchase when they can read about a product’s positive attributes from someone they feel they can relate to or understand.

Don’t Refuse to Pay for Ads

The reality of modern holiday marketing is that you need to run some paid ads, even if you don’t have a huge budget. Your competitors will most likely be running targeted Facebook campaigns, and ignoring them on your end means that your potential audience will be overwhelmed by everyone’s ads except yours.

The holiday season results in heightened competition with a lot of other online noise; it’s up to you to beat ‘em or join ‘em. Paid campaigns help you work around that.

Don’t Skimp on Social Media

This should be a given, considering we’re talking about social media mistakes, but it’s important enough to mention again. Don’t spend so much time focusing on email campaigns, website updates, coupons, and banner ads that you forget to place emphasis on your social media profiles.

As a side note, the festive season is a great time of year to make your brand’s presence known. Work on strengthening your identity; this will cement who you are and what you have to offer to your target audience.

Don’t Overlook Tracking Your Statistics

Go into the analytics section of your social media accounts and see how you’ve done year over year. Were your holiday campaigns more successful one year than the others? What did you do differently? Can you apply some of those same concepts to this year’s campaigns? Make it happen – the earlier the better.

Track week-to-week throughout this year’s campaigns, too. You may see areas that need improvement going forward to ensure you maintain your upward momentum.

The holiday season is huge, no matter what type of business you’re running. Make sure your social media platforms are a major focus in your marketing strategy. Your mobile followers will be watching, and so will we! Can’t wait to see you succeed!

It’s a little too early for us to wish you all Happy Holidays, but here at Sachs, we’re always happy to give you a hand with campaigns when you need it most. Connect with us here and get a solid start on this year’s festive season.

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SEO virtuoso, CEO @Sachs Marketing Group. Focused on being of service to business owners - helping to better position them in the eyes of their audiences.

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