Is your social media ready for the holiday season?

Let me guess – you’re telling me “Yes, Rox, it’s totally ready” but in your head you’re panicking and wondering if you really are ready or if you’ve just lulled yourself into a false sense of security, knowing that come the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, when you’re out doing your shopping you’ll start to think of the perfect holiday promotion that would be just perfect for Cyber Monday…

There are less than 90 days left in 2018. If you don’t have your social media strategy planned out for the rest of the year, now is the time.

Seriously.

I know it’s the beginning of October, but I also know how fast the holidays sneak up on people who aren’t running a business. And when you add business owner to the many hats you already wear, things happen even faster.

I’m here to help you succeed – I want your business to THRIVE (not just survive) during the holiday season. So, here’s a handy dandy list of things to think about as you’re planning your social media for the holiday season.

So, without further adieu, here are 13 ways to rock your social media this holiday season!

Plan ahead

Few things are as terrifying as showing up realizing you’re grossly underprepared. Social media is no different. Have a plan going into the holidays. Are you going to offer anything special? Are you going to participate in Black Friday? Small Business Saturday? Cyber Monday? Giving Tuesday?

Get really clear. Make it one nice complete sentence. “My business is going to participate in Cyber Monday by offering strategy calls at 25% off”

Schedule, schedule, schedule

Do you know how to ruin precious family time during the holiday season? Holding up one finger and saying “I’m sorry, I really need to send this Instagram post right now because my audience is most engaged at this very instant.”

Don’t be that person.

Use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite – or even Facebook’s built-in scheduler – to take the stress of timing the perfect post off your holiday-worn-down shoulders.

Don’t over-sell it

During the holidays, as during any time of year, it’s important to remember the 3:1 rule – 3 non-sales-ey posts for every 1 sales-ey post. Don’t use every Instagram graphic to scream “buy our stuff!” – take care of your clients, then gently remind them why you’re around.

Be consistent

The holidays are an especially vulnerable time to let your branding get totally derailed. Yes I know holiday fonts are SO fun, but please don’t get out of control. If your brand is crisp and clean and professional, don’t over-do it on the snapchat stickers or clip art on your Instagram posts. If your brand is totally geared towards kids, perhaps an image of a wine and cheese platter with an overly-elegant font isn’t the best choice.

Branch out and share helpful, educational, entertaining, and engaging content, but keep your brand consistent. There are wonderful ways to do so that don’t destroy your brand and business image!

Don’t be afraid to engage

One of the most important rules for social media is to engage with your clients. The holidays are the same. Be helpful, be kind, and be on brand as you reply to comments on your post. Invite users to like your page. Comment on other posts using similar hashtags. Be respectful, be helpful, and play nice as you engage on your own and other’s posts!

Set clear goals

Social media is notorious for being difficult to track goals, but it actually doesn’t have to be that hard. Be sure you have proper analytics installed (Facebook Pixel anyone?) and then set very clear goals. Are you hoping to increase engagement during November and December? Are you hoping to make $5000 in sales over the Black Friday weekend?

Write out your goals, determine how you will track them, and then work like crazy towards those goals!

Have a black friday/small business saturday/cyber monday offer? Warm up your audience!

Holiday sales aren’t just about the sale as November turns into December. Begin NOW to introduce your products, engage with your users, and warm them up to whatever it is you have to offer. Prove in October that you’re the place to turn come November and December!

Giveaways and Giving Tuesday

The holidays are a time of giving, and your business has a unique opportunity to show its human side during this season. Think about what you can give in the middle of all the sales. Is there a giveaway offer you’d like to run to say thank you to your customers? Is there a way you’d like to participate in Giving Tuesday? Is there a non-profit you’d like to support?

Taking care of others is just good business. Just be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons! Take care of communities that matter to you. Support a charity that means something to you personally. Don’t just do it for the bottom line or tax cuts – genuinely take care of your community.

Be authentic

Holiday promotions are easily sidetracked. While we’ve already discussed being on brand, don’t forget to be authentic. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. If you’re a watercolor artist, don’t try and pretend to be a charcoal artist during the holidays because it “might be profitable.” Instead, focus on where your business meets what people are searching for. Don’t do things that won’t bring you joy in the process. Stay true to your business mission and goals and you’ll find the stress of the holidays becomes much more bearable!

Run ads

Yes, I’ll say it. There is so much noise during the holidays that you may need to speak a little louder on social media. Running ads to be seen in front of a fresh audience is a great way to do this.

Make your ads extra effective by targeting specific groups with specific interests that relate to your business. Stay on brand. Be authentic. And be present.

#HashtagUseMatters

Use hashtags to your benefit! Each Instagram post can have up to 30 hashtags – so use them! Include hashtags relevant to your industry (#socialmediamarketing #learnsocialmedia) and also holiday specific hashtags (#blackfriday #cybermonday). For help generating hashtags, use a tool like Display Purposes.

Do something special just for social

You know how good you feel when you get something exclusive? You know the kind – something small like a school-branded football at a collegiate game that you can’t get anywhere else? Make social media the same for your customers. Give a freebie when you order through a link found only on your Facebook page. Or offer a special Cyber Monday deal ONLY on Twitter. Exclusive content = shareable content!

Don’t stop after the holidays

What are you going to do with all the amazing momentum you build up over the next 3 months? Make sure you have a plan! (And if you’re curious what this looks like or how to do it, sign up for IntAct Social™, our FREE course where we talk about how to do social on purpose.)