Eek, it’s that time of year already. The ‘silly season’ is upon us! With everything to plan, purchase, attend and accomplish, December is one of the busiest times of the year. Unfortunately, for many people Christmas simply equates to more work and more stress. This is especially true for those in the retail industry and small business owners who feel pressured to capture a higher-than-average profit. In addition to tending to everyday tasks, they need to tailor a marketing plan for the holiday season and organise themed events to entice customers through the door.
Social media is an excellent tool that can help you now. You can cleverly utilise it to either do all the work for you, or at least minimise your role in a long list of personal and professional ‘To Do’s’. For example, it’s easy to bump up your gift-giving game by scoping people online before you begin shopping. Rather than floundering around in that old ‘I don’t know what to get them’ dilemma, check out their Facebook, Instagram, or any other accounts for some handy clues.
Another useful idea is to send out digital holiday cards. These can be quickly created and sent to your database, saving you hours of onerous writing and addressing that paper cards require. You may also want to consider creating a short, personalised video and group-send your season’s greetings that way – or choose a suitable gif on Facebook instead. There are loads of options. I’ve already been receiving these from my social savvy clients. They can be very entertaining!
Keep an eye on which events and activities your social networks are attending too. They will be sharing this information on social media, either accidentally (through clicking Yes to an invitation that automatically publishes their acceptance), or by deliberately doing so in their own shout-outs . A glance at the tone of these events, along with the guest list, will help you prioritize which are worth going to and which you would prefer to skip.
Social media applications can also drastically reduce the amount of effort you put into marketing. Smart people know that social media marketing has become one of the most effective ways to reach your target customer base. It allows small and local businesses to have an edge over big brands that are not yet present (or nailing it) online. So, especially at Christmas time, the big brand’s social anonymity can mean the little guy has a chance to win.
In just one recent study, 40 percent of respondents indicated that they completed over half of their holiday shopping online. Getting a huge boost in sales can be as simple as creating a link to purchase your product (or inquire about services) directly from your social media posts. Pinterest is one of the best platforms to use for this.
Another key resource that is going to play an even bigger role in social media shopping is the ‘one-click buy button.’ Facebook has been testing an option to purchase items with just one click without ever leaving the site. Instagram, YouTube and Twitter also offer buying options within their sites. This feature further simplifies the process of getting your products into a consumer’s hands. Result: more sales – happy clients.
So, you see, your attention to social media in the ‘silly season’ can lead to big payoffs with little investment. People are online. Lots of them. More and more every year. Whether for personal or professional purposes, you should be using social media as a powerful tool to support you. Get into it this month and start taking some of the crazy out of Christmas!
Sarah Pearce is a professional speaker, business coach, social strategist and author of Online Reputation: Your Most Valuable Asset in a Digital Age.