I apologise, I realise that summer still sits fondly in the memory and you most likely think it’s a little early to be mentioning the festive season. But while it might not yet be time to be knocking back the mulled wine and over-indulging on luxury mince pies, it’s definitely not too early to be thinking about planning your Christmas social media campaign. For most businesses, Christmas hails the busiest, and most profitable, time of year, so it’s no surprise that many retailers and brands invest heavily in games, competitions and apps for their various social media platforms.
With that in mind, here’s a list (yes, we’ve checked it twice) of our top five tips to help you plan ahead for the perfect festive campaign:
Just like your Christmas shopping, your social media campaign doesn’t have to be last minute. Customers are inundated with seasonal campaigns, so be sure to establish your relationship with your customers early. It’s no good creating your social media presence in November and then being surprised when results are not what you expect – your messages are likely to be lost in the noise. It’s also vital that you have clearly defined aims and objectives, and pick your platform. Are sales your most important metric, or are you more interested in customer engagement and brand affinity? Do you have the resource to do Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest campaigns, or are you better off focusing on one channel and doing it really well? Be realistic about your resource and what you want to achieve before you start planning.
Define your Christmas brand
By any metrics, ‘Elf Yourself’ was a hugely successful campaign for OfficeMax and has since become a Christmas tradition, used year in, year out, often with the same users returning. The campaign, which allows users to put their faces on elves to perform a hilarious dance routine, achieves success through some key, but simple factors: bringing the audience into the video; making the campaign personal; adding high viral potential; and modernising the classic tradition of card giving. So fear not, if your products are considered to be somewhat ‘dry’ (OfficeMax are an office supply company), you can still create a powerful Christmas brand, with longevity. You just need to think outside of your product range perhaps. In 2012, a mobile app for Elf Yourself was introduced, taking the campaign to a whole new level of accessibility and enabling more years of success.
Tis the season to be generous
Christmas is the season of goodwill to all men, making it the perfect time to offer discounts, promotions and vouchers to your customers, spreading the word through your social pages. But remember, Christmas isn’t just about the money, money, money, it’s also the perfect time for you to thank your customers for their loyalty throughout the year. You could also commit to give money to charity for every share or RT of your Christmas posts, perhaps. Marks and Spencer’s ‘Pass the parcel’ Facebook app, allowing users to send parcels to their friends in the hope of unwrapping one of 3000 M&S prizes, generated over 1million shares, and £1million in donations to charity.
Help your customers’ feel less stress
Christmas is not always a joyful time for your customers. Relatives, children, cooking, buying presents, wrapping presents – the list goes on. With so many things to keep track of, it’s not surprising people get stressed. Think beyond offers and discounts and give your customers useful tools and apps that can help make the festive period a little more serene. Maybe your social media campaign is a handy countdown to Christmas, with daily ‘to-do’ items. Use Pinterest to share inspiration for table dressings and gift ideas – or why not run a ‘pin-to-win’ competition, asking your customers to share their favourite Christmas images? The prize could be anything from a fully decorated tree, to Christmas dinner, delivered, with all the trimmings.
And remember: A social media campaign is for life, not just for Christmas
The Christmas season gives you an opportunity to be creative with your social marketing and capitalise on the joy and spirit of Christmas. But it also gives you the opportunity to obtain new customers, and show your current customers that you appreciate them. So remember, your social media campaign at Christmas should have your customer at the heart of it, just like they should be for your year round strategy. Because it’s the small customer service details that might just keep them coming back all year long.
Elaine Hubbard is an account manager at integrated PR, social media and SEO agency, Punch Communications. With over 6 years digital marketing experience in the UK and New York, she has a passion for creating compelling and creative content, and technical problem solving. As well as G+, you can find Elaine on Twitter and LinkedIn.