All right, so most of us haven't even picked out our Halloween costumes yet.
However, for marketers everywhere, it's just about that time where we need to start sipping the proverbial eggnog and thinking about our holiday marketing strategies — but where do we even begin?
Confused about where to start with your holiday marketing strategy on social media? In this post, hear directly from HubSpot’s social team about the best social media holiday marketing practices and how they best prepare for the holiday season.
Social Media Holiday Marketing Best Practices
1. Prioritize high-value content.
Kelly Hendrickson, Senior Manager on the Social Media team at HubSpot, says, “When it comes to brands posting on social media around the holidays, the question we should always be asking is “Is this of value to my audience?’”
As audiences are likely viewing a lot of content from a lot of different businesses hoping to drive sales during the holidays, the content that you create needs to be as high-value as possible, like social media posts that are offer-centric or emails that call attention to sales or discounts you’re currently running.
Annabelle Nyst, Senior Content Strategist, gives this tip as well, as consumer behavior online can change during the holiday season “Social media usage can wane during holiday periods because people are spending time with their loved ones IRL.” This means that, in order to have the greatest effect on your audiences when they are online, your content needs to shine.
To create this high-value content, set goals specific to your holiday marketing needs, and create a content marketing strategy that will help you execute and succeed. Hendrickson adds, ‘The holidays are a time where CPMs are high, and attention spans are low. For content to cut through, it has to be more valuable than ever.”
2. Have social media support at the ready.
Consumers send retailers more messages on social media during the holiday months than during non-holiday seasons. SproutSocial projects that retailers can expect to receive, on average, 18% more social messages per month during the 2021 holiday season (as shown in the image below).
Given this, ensure that service and marketing teams are aligned and ready to respond to messages on social media during the holidays.
3. Be inclusive.
It’s incredibly important to be inclusive during the holiday season.
Your audiences are dispersed throughout the globe and celebrate different occasions at different times, or not at all. Being aware of this is crucial, and using this awareness when creating your ads is also vital. Kelsi Yamada, Marketing Manager, says, “We also are as inclusive as possible and don’t mention some holidays directly as not everyone in our global audience celebrates them.”
In practice, this could look like social media posts that aren’t holiday-specific but emphasize the feelings that can arise from the holidays.
4. Publish minimally.
As mentioned above, consumers spend holidays with friends, family, and loved ones, so they may be away from their social media profiles more than they would during normal times. Yamada says, “We [HubSpot] actually prefer to publish minimally and allow our audience some space away from our content so they can unplug and be with family [during holidays].”
Leveraging this tip goes hand in hand with sharing high-value content; if you lower the number of times you post during the holidays, you want to ensure that what you do post is valuable to your audiences.
Use historical data from previous holiday seasons to understand how consumers behave so you know the best times to post online and incorporate this information into your content marketing strategy.
“For many people, they’re [holidays] a really sacred time, and not necessarily a time when they want to be marketed to. So, it’s important to be extremely intentional about how and where your brand is showing up on social media during the holidays,” says Nyst. She adds, “Think about how your brand can add value to your audience’s holiday experience, instead of trying to insert your brand messaging where it doesn’t fit.”
5. Tell your audience you’re thankful for them.
It’s always important to show gratitude to your consumers, and it is essential during the holiday season. This can look like social media posts saying a general thank you to your followers, sending personalized emails to customers that have made a purchase, or even sending free thank you gifts to customers or discounts for their loyalty.
A bonus is that showing thankfulness that is genuine encourages customer loyalty, which inspires retention, which, in turn, drives revenue. Of course, always continue to express gratitude during all other times of the year, but it can mean a lot more to customers to hear that you value their business during the holiday months.
6. Make it easy to shop on social media
28% of consumers expect to use social media for holiday shopping in the U.S. 2021, so a great way to increase the success of your social media holiday marketing campaigns is to make it easy for customers to browse products and make a purchase on the channels you use.
To leverage this tip, you can use the native shopping tools offered on many social media platforms to meet your audiences where they are during the holiday season. For example,
- Instagram allows you to create shoppable posts, and users can check out in-app,
- On Pinterest, you can create product pins for browsing,
- Facebook allows you to create a Facebook Shop specific to your business.
All of the above tips will help you make the best out of your social media marketing during the holiday season. If you’re looking to take inspiration from real-life brands and their campaigns, check out this post.
In addition to best practices, HubSpot’s Social Team shared advice about how they prepare for the holidays, which we’ve compiled below.
How HubSpot’s Social Team Prepares for the Holiday Season
HubSpot’s Social Team’s most crucial tip for preparing for the Holiday season? Planning and scheduling ahead — “The best advice I can give is to plan ahead. Rarely will an editorial calendar do you wrong, with the caveat that you have to approach and plan its flexibility,” says Amanda Zantal-Wiener, Senior Content Strategist.
HubSpot offers a free Social Media Content Calendar Template (as shown in the image below) that can help you with the process of planning and creating a schedule for your social content.
Zantal-Wiener adds that, even if you do plan, it’s also essential to be able to be flexible: “The world moves and changes fast, so give yourself a runway, but know that you may very well have to pivot fast.”
In addition to creating a calendar, it may be helpful to schedule your content in advance, so it goes live without you needing to take any specific action. Consider using a social media management tool that will allow you to schedule posts weeks in advance.
A lot of the planning that HubSpot Social Teams do is also to help themselves have time to be with their friends, family, and loved ones during the holidays. Yamada says that planning “Allows us to take a breather as a team and enjoy that time for ourselves, too.”
Nyst agrees and says, “Where possible, we finalize content early, so our team can take time to rest and enjoy the holidays themselves.”
Over To You
HubSpot’s Social Team all agree that it’s essential to continue to show up for customers — “We want to show up with consistency for our community, but also don’t want to interrupt their precious time away from their work, and with their loved ones,” says Nyst.
Plan ahead, focus on high-value content, and show your audiences that you’re grateful for them — you’ll continue to provide the delightful experiences they expect while achieving your marketing goals and remaining active online.