Your Checklist to Create a Powerful Holiday Social Media Strategy

Give your brand some holiday cheer!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Joy, festivity, family, friends, shopping, executing a killer holiday social media strategy… well, at least for the marketers among us!

holiday social media strategy banner

The pressure is on to plan for this season, and I’m here to make it as easy for you as possible. In this post, you’ll get:

  • The “why” behind amping up your holiday social media strategy
  • A few examples of rockin’ holiday social media campaigns
  • A free holiday social media strategy checklist to quickly get you in the mindset for holiday posting
  • An explanation of every item on the checklist so the guessing is gone and the productivity is up!

Why is a Holiday-Specific Social Media Strategy Important?

“The Holidays” (namely November and December) are a time where you can reinvent your brand on a micro-level. You can spice things up. What has become bland? What messages that you send out are consumers just not listening to anymore? What do you want consumers to believe about you (i.e. that you are charitable, creative, fun etc.)?

All of these questions should be answered before creating a holiday campaign. If done thoughtfully, you have a chance to change perception of your brand.

Let’s jumpstart with a few stats:

Here’s a graphic you can share with your colleagues about the projected 2016 holiday stats for:

  • Retail sales
  • Internet sales, and
  • Mobile sales

holiday social media strategy 2016 stats

Stats are all great to marinate in, and they really enforce the fact that the holiday season is:

  1. …an amazing opportunity to increase sales.
  2. …a chance to connect with new or existing customers.
  3. …the time to ensure your website is looking slick both on desktop and on mobile.
  4. …something you need to plan for far in advance so you can incorporate the very best, most thoughtful strategy possible.

Beyond stats, let’s think straight entertainment.

Themes excite people. Also, if engaging enough, themes bring people back to see what you have in-store next. “The Holidays” is one big theme. It doesn’t matter which belief you subscribe to – the holidays seem to bring a focus of festivity, laughter, fun, family, and friends to everyone. Consumers expect brands to bring their best “game” during this joyous time.

In 2015, OfficeMax thought way outside the box and created 20 holiday-themed games that they hoped would go viral (remember “Elf Yourself”?) It worked! Not only was their content used greatly by the masses and advertised by publications like USA Today, MSNBC and VH1, but their sales rose 20% over the period.

holiday social media strategy elf yourself

…and while you’re waiting for them to come back for another killer year, you can add in your email address to be notified AND to be added to their standing list. Great way to capitalize on the success of this app! “Elf Yourself” might be part of their holiday social media strategy for years to come.

Now, no one is expecting small business owners to spend up to $100,000 to market during the holidays, but the OfficeMax example shows us that thinking outside of the box can be beneficial.

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Exploring one more example:

Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign not only turned each bottle of Coke from a drink into a gift, but it also encouraged user generated content (UGC). How could you NOT share a picture of a bottle with your name on it, especially for those “Nykolas”s and “Genipher”s out there who never find souvenirs garnished with their name.

Over the holidays in 2015, Coca-Cola aimed to capitalize on this campaign in a unique and fresh way. They promoted the idea of drinkable “place cards”: set the table with customized Coca-Cola bottles for everyone in your party!

holiday social media strategy shareacoke

What do you think? Shall we buy in bulk?

Did the #shareacoke campaign work? With contribution from the uptick in sales around the holidays, Coca-Cola saw an increase in website traffic of 870% and a Facebook page fan-base increase of 39%.

Also important to note, Coca-Cola’s non-adult consumption rose by 7% throughout the campaign, showing that it’s possible to grab new eyes and possibly new demographics with these campaigns.

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Does that help enforce how great a holiday campaign can be?

Most of us won’t replicate the success of Office Max or Coca-Cola. However, we can all see that the holiday timeframe has this magical ability to allow us to change course and try something new, even if just for just a short period of time.

The holidays allow us to fall into the trend of themes and promotions without giving justification. Customers not only expect it, they look forward to it! Take the chance to hop in and take hold of this opportunity.

Pinpointing Your Holiday Social Media Strategy

So, how DO we actually change pace for the holiday season? I have some thoughts for you! Below, you’ll find several ideas of how to incorporate the holidays into your social media strategy.

First, let’s revisit those questions. As you read through the checklist and create your holiday content, keep the answers to these questions in mind:

  1. What has become bland? Psst… let’s avoid adding these into your holiday social media strategy.
  2. What messages that you send out regularly are consumers just not listening to anymore?
  3. What do you want consumers to believe about you (i.e. that you are charitable, creative, fun etc.)?

Your Holiday Social Media Strategy Checklist:

We thought you might need a quick way to ensure you got out every piece of content you wanted to before the holidays pass by. Here’s a checklist to help you stick to that commitment:

holiday social media strategy checklist screenshot

Grab the full download to see the rest…

holiday social media strategy checklist button

Let’s walk through it:

Change Your Profile Pictures + Header Images:

I know you love yours, but what if you changed it up for just 2-3 months in efforts to:

  1. encourage people pause when they see it, and
  2. show a bit of festivity and fun?

holiday social media strategy fit4mom cover photo

Swap Out Evergreen Posts for Holiday-Specific Posts:

You might have posts that you repeat every-so-often. Great! This holiday season, think about replacing those repeating posts with something a bit more in line with the holiday theme, or simply mix up the wording so that it reflects the season.

(Note: don’t forget to change it back at the end of December.)

Get Personal With Your Images:

Think about posting a bit more behind-the-scenes images, some evidence of “goodwill toward men” (serving people, charity, etc.), or anything that is community-based. If they, too, have been taken over by the “holiday spirit”, your followers will really enjoy engaging with these posts.

holiday social media strategy behind-the-scenes

Testimonials/Reviews:

‘Tis the season for shopping shopping, and buying buying! Let folks know without a doubt that your product or service will be something they will love. The most convincing way to do this is through testimonials! They are unassuming and, therefore, powerful.

holiday social media strategy testimonial

Live Video:

Not only a crucial part of your holiday social media strategy, but also your everyday strategy – live video includes an unmatched connection to your friends and followers on social.

What can you film? Checkout a ton of live video ideas here.

DiYs/Tutorials:

I don’t know about you, but for some reason, around the holiday season, I always believe I can and should make gifts. Last year I made candles and the year before, I made dryer yarn balls. Ok, I’ll admit it… I totally failed at the yarn balls. I got about 5 in and quit.

People want to try new things and most love the idea of being able to handcraft gifts. If you have a trick they can use, whether it’s creating something from scratch or using one of your products to create something new, people will be interested.

Your followers don’t actually have to make the item for you to have been successful with this technique. This will be a successful addition to your holiday social media strategy if they believe your content is useful to them.

Out-of-the-Box Promotions.

You might have your normal, quarterly 10%-off deal or free shipping when you order $50 worth of products or more. Those promotions might be doing well for you, but have they become stale?

If so, think about trying something a bit more spicy. Maybe offer a buy-one-get-one-free, or maybe spend $100 and receive a $10 gift card to go toward their next purchase, or even tell them that if they share a certain number of your posts, you will send them a $10 gift card to go toward a purchase of $40 or more.

These are all just ideas. Take the inspiration and brainstorm what might fit your business best.

holiday social media strategy applebees promo example

Last year, Applebee’s promoted their #GiveSquad. Empowering others to give freely when they are up and others are down. They even sent gift cards to people on the Squad who then passed them out to others in need. Charity (sending gifts) mixed with promotion (offering free gift cards) = a heart-felt move toward authentic business.

Freebies:

I’m sure we’re all familiar with trading our email for a digital product or coupon. This is a really valid way of finding your ideal customer. What if you mixed things up in this year’s holiday social media strategy and offered a freebie without pulling in their email address. (No, wait! Please don’t leave! Let me explain…)

Giving a gift without expecting something in return is exactly within the “feel” of the holidays. Offer something lighter in this preliminary freebie, and include the invitation to receive a bit more robust freebie when they opt-in.

For example, Rachel Rouhana of Haute Chocolate and the Styled Stock Library offers a true freebie where she gives away one of her styled stock images. At the same time someone is offered this free image, they are given the opportunity to opt-in to receiving even more free images via her email list.

holiday social media strategy

In an entrepreneurial world where nothing is ever free, Rachel has the chance to stand out by making this charitable move.

Sentimental Content:

We’re in the mood for thoughtfulness, happy tears and reflection. Aim to mix-it-up this season, and incorporate some deep posts with real meaning. You never know! This could spark some great social conversation.

holiday social media strategy sentimental

Personalize Content to Individuals:

We’re used to blasting content to our entire follower-base. If you have the bandwidth, also squeeze a few individual highlights into your holiday social media strategy this year.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Share a customer’s testimonial of your product. In the post, talk to them and show extreme gratitude toward them for taking the time to share their experience.
  2. Retweet or share a user’s post that highlights your product or service.
  3. Publish a post all about the progress of one of your clients or customers. What can you celebrate about them? What inspires you about them?
  4. Share an article that you think would resonate with one or two of your followers and tag them. They will be amazed!

Ask a Holiday-Based Question:

People not only love to share their opinions, but they also love to interact with brands on a more personal level. No business, no sales, no pressure… just chatter.

Here are a few examples of questions you could ask:

  • What is one gift you will buy yourself if you don’t get it this holiday?
  • What is your favorite holiday scent?
  • What makes you cry every holiday season?
  • What is your favorite event of the holiday season?

Show Customers Non-Conventional Ways to Use Products you Sell or How to Pair Your Products.

If not already using this technique, definitely take the time to incorporate it into your holiday social media strategy.

Who knew they could take your carseat cover and turn it into a baby swaddle blanket, or that your hoop earrings double as a bracelet?

They won’t know until you tell them, and once you tell them, your product becomes more valuable to them.

Do you have pillows that match well, a necklace that pairs nicely with one of your tank tops, or even a mug that just looks perfect on the coasters you just released?

The lightbulbs go off for customers once you let them in on these secrets. It’s possible you can become their one-stop shop.

Not all is lost for the service profession here. If you’re a personal trainer, highlight that you can help with more than just general fitness… let folks know that you’re eager to help them achieve a personal record on their next race or that you’ll aid in doubling their pull-ups.

Sometimes these ideas aren’t new to you, but they are to your customer. They’re just asking to be enlightened.

holiday social media strategy pairings

Highlight One Product or Component of Your Service Per Week:

Don’t be shy about this. If you aren’t self-promoting constantly, this is a natural fit into your holiday social media strategy. Go through your products and/or services. Think about the questions people might have about them. What unknowns will stop them from purchasing?

Helping them through these on video or through images (even without them asking) has the potential to remove barriers to purchase.

holiday social media strategy product focus

In this example, Hot Tot shares just a few words to let customers know that this particular product will craft perfect swirly locks!

Include an Enticing Poll and Have a Promotion Based on the Results:

How fun is this? Give your customers the reigns in choosing your next product or service. Remember, more folks will participate if it’s fun, and especially if it includes a giveaway!

Here’s an example:
“Which funky scent would you most like to see on holiday shelves? (I’ll make it for you!)”

A: Butternut Squash Soup
B: Burnt Cherry Wood

Countdown to Promotions:

If you have some fun giveaways or sales going on, raise the excitement by promoting them ahead of time with fun visuals and/or videos. There’s certainly a place for “Flash” sales. This is just another technique that can increase the excitement toward your brand.

Add a holiday-themed background to your images:

Don’t feel like you need to spruce up every image, but a few posts here-and-there with a holiday vibe can go a long way!

holiday social media strategy holiday background


holiday social media strategy checklist button

Are you feeling inspired to jump into the season with fervor? I certainly hope so!

I’m eager to hear your expertise in this area. How do the above holiday social media strategy tips feel to you? What have you tried that has worked well? Looking forward to hearing your ideas in the comments below.