2020 has without a doubt been an unusual year. With all that’s going on in the world, people have had to adjust to the changes that a new reality brought.
Businesses had to move their offline efforts into online space quickly, and become more digital (almost entirely, in some cases) than ever before.
With a Holiday period coming our way, businesses should be focused on squeezing the most out of the digital world. Check our tips to plan a strategy to reach your customers with your holiday social media campaign, wherever they are.
Changes in customer behaviour towards digital shopping
First of all, customers are looking for more secure ways to shop, which brings opportunities for your digital presence. They tend to either search, browse, or finalise purchases online. Q4 shopping queues will seemingly be consigned to history this season, as shoppers most likely won’t risk their health and safety by waiting for hours while social distancing.
It doesn’t mean that in the most digital-first holiday season, offline will disappear completely – it won’t happen. But shoppers would rather ROPO (research offline, purchase online) and choose contactless pickup in stores or at curbside than interact inside actual brick-and-mortar stores.
Holiday shoppers will be more demanding
This year, more than ever, shoppers may value availability and convenience as much, or even greater than price. Therefore, digital shoppers may be more willing to check out what other businesses are offering and try out new brands.
According to Google, 70% of shoppers said they were open to buying from new retailers. They have time to check them out, do research, and make informed decisions.
And this year, more than ever, it’s not only the assortment of products that matters.
More omnichannel holiday shopping
While the world of offline shopping is being put on hold somewhat, customers have more time – and opportunities – to explore all that the online world has to offer during the most digital-first holiday season.
That’s why every business needs to provide an omnichannel customer experience: effective customer service, a consistent strategy and multiple touchpoints, including on mobile. This requires businesses to put more focus and effort into online to make the whole season as successful as they can.
And the competition will be nothing but fierce.
Good practices for utilising the most digital-first season yet
Make the most of your data
Have you already run some Black Friday campaigns? What channels converted best for you? Draw some conclusions and apply them to this year’s holiday social media campaign, but don’t forget to adjust the communication. If you were inviting everyone to visit your stores before, sending such a message in 2020 might not be the wisest idea.
Check open rates of your newsletters and key metrics of social media posts, both those sent last year at a similar time and earlier in the year when the pandemic first broke out. Is there a common pattern you could follow? Maybe some posts performed way better than others?
There’s a lot of data that you already have, and therefore should use for planning your communication in the most digital-first holiday retail season yet!
Pro tip: Experiencing a lack of inspiration around how to craft your holiday messages? Check out these email marketing templates for each occasion: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Black Friday, and more.
Many of them may inspire your creatives, Instagram Stories, or copy for social media posts.
Since your customers may not be able to visit your physical store, make sure that they can easily find you online. Update the channels that you’ve already been running!
Some information that is worth double-checking includes:
- opening hours (have they changed at all, compared to earlier In the year? Check all social media profiles and update the opening hours if necessary, otherwise you may face angry customers who tried to reach you offline but your store was closed)
- your menu or assortment (if you’ve added shoppable items to your social media channels, make sure that they are still available for purchase!),
- website address,
- contact details (is the email address working correctly?).
Bring your store to digital
For those who can’t, don’t want to, or are not planning to visit your store for now (or if you simply closed it for the foreseeable future), you may want to provide some in-store experience.
Showcase your products, display “behind the scenes” details, and cultivate some pleasant memories with your store. Also, you can connect digitally with offline via in-store offer ads that are targeted online, yet are to be used offline. When the dust settles, such a strategy may help you drive more clients back to your brick-and-mortar business.
Pro tip: Have you heard of Facebook Live Shopping?
It’s a form of Facebook Live, but with e-commerce features. If you’re familiar with shopping channels on TV where you’re a call away from purchasing a product, you’ll quickly spot the similarities.
During your Facebook Live Shopping videos, you can present and tag products you have in stock that have already been added to your Facebook Shop. Viewers can quickly purchase such products without leaving Facebook, which is a great addition to your holiday social media campaign!
First of all, make sure that you’ve added your products to Facebook Shop (and also linked your shopping catalogue to your Instagram business account to be able to post shoppable tags!). Then set up a live video and add products or links. You can answer comments and interactions during a live session, so, unlike on TV shows, you can lead the dialogue with your potential clients here.
How to use it during the most digital-first holiday season? You can either present some products directly from your store, launch premiere items, or sell some things on pre-order.
Go live the day before Thanksgiving and give a sneak peek of your Black Friday Week promotions, then go live every day at the same time but with various offers. And that’s just one possible idea to implement. When it comes to your creativity, the sky’s the limit!
Plan your content in advance
There’s no chance you can predict what’s going to happen around the world in even a month’s time, especially with the ever-changing current situation and the most digital-first holiday season yet.
However, there’s still some content that you can plan: your offers, product updates, deals, and promotions that should be launched on particular dates.
You can avoid a lot of unnecessary hassle and save time by approving content with your team and clients, and then scheduling it.
The native features of select social media platforms allow you to schedule posts, yet they have some limitations when it comes to teamwork and collaboration in particular. Using tools such as Kontentino can help streamline your social media workflow and make sure that everyone in your team is on the same page in terms of content plans for a holiday social media campaign and feedback.
With Kontentino, you can plan your social media communication across various social media platforms from one dashboard and, therefore, ensure that your holiday content is posted according to the strategy.
Creating an interactive calendar may help you get a better overview of your holiday social media campaign. This is where Instagram Grid Preview from Kontentino may come in handy – especially after a little facelift that has been introduced to this feature. Not only can you preview your Instagram posts separately and in a grid, but also drag and drop them between the designated slots and change their scheduling time as you please.
This feature makes your content calendars more adjustable, more flexible and easier to take control over, without any hiccups.
This year, businesses are likely to be busier than ever before with their online activities. Customers will not only go digital to make purchases, but also to ask questions, look for advice, and carry out research. Without automation, it may be challenging to meet their expectations. So, what’s worth automating then?
Customer support agents, who are in charge of online customer service, may have some hard time this holiday season. Consider automating some customer service processes to remove silos and deliver flawless customer experience. You may also automate your digital spending, as well as email management.
Automation, when used in the right way, can help you conquer the market. However, potential mistakes (for example mass, unsegmented mailings) can cause a bit of a hiccup, so remember to use it wisely.
Pro tip: Facebook actually provides a real hidden gem for automating customer service and providing quick answers to your clients. And it’s free to use!
In Automated responses, you can set up a series of frequently asked questions, an intro message, and even a quick “thank you” for Page recommendations. What may also come in handy for social media customer service agents during the most digital-first holiday season, is an Away message, configured to pop up when the agents are OOO.
Thanks to this feature, you can automate answers to some common questions such as “Where can I buy your products?”, “Where’s your store?”, “How long do I need to wait for delivery?”, or “Do you offer free shipping?”, just to name a few. Around the Holiday season, such questions may be asked more often than usual, so automating the provision of answers takes another task off your shoulders.
Is it a fully functional Facebook chatbot? It is a little reminiscent of a chatbot, but it still doesn’t have all the features of a social media chatbot. However, with just a few clicks, it can significantly help businesses on Facebook with handling even high volumes of incoming messages during their holiday social media campaign.
Personalisation can work wonders for helping you to stand out from a crowd of countless Thanksgiving emails, Black Friday social media posts, and Christmas wishes.
In email marketing, you can use segmentation to add a name to a subject line.
On social media it can be more difficult, although if you upload your database to Facebook and create a custom audience, you may be able to filter out some names and add them to your holiday social media campaign’s creatives.
You can also use detailed targeting options, such as via birthdays or according to those who took a particular action on your site, e.g. watched a webinar or interacted with previous posts.
Mix & match channels and forms
By using various channels and content forms, you will create the aforementioned touchpoints and help your audience discover your business in the most convenient form for them.
In your newsletters, redirect your audience to the social media profiles of your brand. On social media, you may want to encourage followers to read some articles on your blog. Then, from your blog posts, why not redirect readers to listen to some podcasts or webinars? This is what the most digital-first holiday season yet is all about!
Pro tip: make the most of Stories – you should definitely be using them to interact with your audience during the holiday retail season.
Since Stories disappear after 24 hours, you need to make sure that they are dynamic and engaging enough to be remembered.
What, apart from standard promotional offers, can you post on Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories?
- gift guides (e.g. 10 ideas for a gift under $20 – from your store, of course.)
- giveaways, trivias, templates and quizzes (you can ask questions and reward the most creative answers, or the correct ones)
- topical wallpapers (it’s enough to press and hold, take a screenshot, and set it as a wallpaper. Check out how Netflix does it!)
- promo codes (especially those limited in time and quantity – they are going to disappear in 24 hours!)
- reposting user-generated content (upon tagging your brand)
- sharing some product reviews (for providing social proof and encouraging others to shop with you)
- sneak peeks and behind the scenes content (e.g. being a sign of a brand new collection coming to your shop)
You’ve created a bunch of interesting stories for your holiday social media campaign and you don’t want to see them go away? Save them to Highlights on your Instagram profile so your fans can watch them anytime.
Don’t forget about mobile experience
While preparing content forms, don’t forget about those customers who will discover your brand, interact with it, and finalize a purchase via mobile. According to Facebook research, an average of 82% of global mobile shoppers surveyed experience some problems when shopping: be it a too small font size, unclear images, long loading time or difficulties with product information.
Pro tip: There’s one special format of social media posts, available exclusively on mobile (it doesn’t appear on Desktop Feed!) It’s called Instant Experience (in the past, it was functioning under the name of Canvas), and with it your audience can view photos and videos combined, swipe through carousels, and click through tagged products.
You can use it for showcasing your products in an interesting, engaging way that delights the experience on mobile. Instead of uploading the whole catalog to a single photo album on Facebook, you can showcase your products in a grid and mix various formats.
Such an Instant Experience is displayed as a kind of full-size landing page, taking up the whole screen. You can easily design it natively on Facebook.
What’s the catch? This format is available only as paid ad, unless you use our hack of pausing the campaign.
Check up on your competitors
No matter the industry you’re operating in, your competitors are surely squaring off against each other, determined to drive as many sales as possible. Check out what they did last year during the same period and what they’re doing now. Facebook Ad Library should come in handy here, especially if you want to see what kind of ads your competitors are running right now.
Pro tip: While Facebook Ad Library provides you with even some historical data, it makes it impossible to compare a few profiles of your choice or to check how the organic posts of particular sites were doing.
For checking past results, you can use the Competition analysis tab in Analytics & Reporting within Kontentino. Simply choose a particular period and the profiles you’d like to check, then you’ll see what organic posts performed best for them.
You can sort your rank via number of posts, interactions, comments, shares, or overall reactions, and you can use this data for optimizing your holiday social media campaign.
Sometimes, a single real-time marketing post can be a quick win for your brand and generate a very satisfying reach out of nowhere. To make sure that you don’t miss out on such chances of going viral with your holiday social media campaign, keep an eye on what’s going on around you and your brand.
You can do that either via Google Trends, manual searches, or with some help from social media monitoring tools. You may spot a lot of interesting things that you can use in your marketing strategy. A spike in searches for a particular term may inspire you to create some related content. Social media monitoring might also reveal some potential customers and their questions about your brand or industry that you can immediately answer.
Pro tip: Social media monitoring may help you identify some user-generated content that you can use for promotion. It’s a win-win-win for the most digital-first holiday season: brands can show off their products in a new light, users who send content across are appreciated and may become more loyal to the brand that decided to post it further, and customers get to see a particular product “in motion”, promoted by a kind of a brand ambassador who may tempt them to buy it.
To sum up
Going digital is inevitable in 2020. With so many restrictions and an uncertain future, bringing sales and marketing online may be a lifesaver that boosts the strategies and results of many businesses.
The move to online has been more-or-less a necessity for months now, but with the upcoming shopping spree period it seems to be a real obligation, and not only in the e-commerce industry. The most digital-first holiday season yet is waiting for your creative ideas and their execution!
We hope that we’ve given you a few ideas that are worth implementing in your holiday social media campaign – and all year round. If you’re looking for even more tips and examples, we’ve already covered some good practices that businesses utilised earlier this year when moving from offline to online almost overnight. Check it out if you want to get inspired!