If you want to finish the end of the year strong, you should already be thinking about a social media marketing strategy for the holiday season. The final stretch of the year presents a huge opportunity for businesses to make one final impact on their target audience. It’s also a chance to get in front of new people, and even push the envelope on creativity.
Don’t panic if you haven’t already started mapping out your end-of-year social media campaigns. There’s still time to put something great together that’s going to move the needle before 2018.
To give you a little inspiration, here are four examples of holiday social media marketing strategies that were hugely successful:
What started as REI’s invitation to skip the mob scene on Black Friday has taken on new life in the form a trending hashtag – and more broadly, a movement. The National Park Foundation, Outdoor Research, and the United States Department of Interior all co-opted the catchy phrase for their own content. It promises to be even bigger in 2017 now that the movement has gained momentum. Even though REI’s marketing message outright discouraged purchases on Black Friday, it was a worthy sacrifice. The outdoor company made huge strides in brand awareness and earned customer loyalty that will translate to lifelong customers.
The essential idea: Create a cool hashtag. Pick a something that’s broad enough that has the possibility for it to pick up steam. That is, you don’t want it to be branded. Other companies might not dogpile on #REIOptOutside the same way they would with #OptOutside. It can be applied to different situations and used in larger conversations.
2. Starbuck’s Red Cups
Every year, Starbucks loyalists wait for the release of its seasonal drink menu. What’s holiday shopping without a caramel apple cider or a gingerbread latte to warm your hands and give you the burst of energy you need to cross every gift off your list? To get customers even more excited about its line of holiday beverages – and engaged in the brand – Starbucks hosts the #redcupcontest. People are invited to post pictures of them with their cheerful red Starbucks cups on their social media accounts. According to Sprinklr, the campaign was a huge hit right off the bat. Every 14 seconds, the hashtag was used on Instagram and 40,000 entries were submitted.
The essential idea: Build your campaign around branded visuals. Choose something that has the potential for user-generated content, such as an image that your audience can easily customize and share with their own social circles. Encourage them to submit and share by either reposting their creations or holding a contest for the best entries.
3. Home Depot’s #DIYWorkshop
Home Depot ran a special series of #DIYWorkshop social media posts over the holiday season. Instead of the usual projects, Home Depot taught viewers how to make Christmas stocking holders, DIY holiday wreaths, and decorative holiday shelves. Instead of tuning out the home improvement brand during the busy holiday season, the campaign was successful in getting the audience to check back in. Similar to Starbuck’s red cups, Home Depot’s #DIYWorkshop is also a highly visual campaign that encourages UGC content. For marketers, that means more collateral for campaigns with less work, at no cost to the company.
The essential idea: Teach your audience how to do something. Make it fun for them to follow along with you. Bake value into whatever campaign you’re running to keep your customers hooked on your message.
4. Hubspot’s Holiday Stock Photos
You don’t have to be a B2C to be a holiday marketing winner. Every year around the holiday season, Hubspot sends its database of marketers a pack of 250 stock photos that they can use in their own marketing campaigns. It’s a simple gesture that takes work off of customers’ shoulders, saves them the time of rifling through images, and provides a change of pace from the usual sales and promotional messages that flood their inboxes over the holiday season. This is one component of Hubspot’s #HolidayHub campaign that keeps marketers engaged throughout the busiest season of the year – and it’s highly successful.
The essential idea: Give away a gift that you know your audience wants. Offer something that makes their work easier, and lets them know you’re thinking of them during the holiday season.
There are lots of ways to win over your audience with social media marketing this holiday season. Highly shareable hashtags, branded visuals, educational content, and freebies are just a few. No matter which strategies you end up using, the important things are to plan early, be thoughtful about what your audience wants, and make sure your campaign ties back to your broader business goals.
For more insights, download our Guide to Driving Brand Discovery This Holiday Season to learn how to optimize your brand for the maximum impact.