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Social Network : Social Media Holiday Tips

Use social media to keep your brand festive all season long.

December 2011 By Kimberly Fabiano, Social4Media

For many businesses, the holiday season represents the most lucrative time of the year. While your marketing teams are creatively tailoring messaging to capitalize on the spending high, don't forget the role that social media plays along the way. From helpful holiday advice to ways to encourage sharing, here are a handful of tips for keeping your brand festive in your social media circle all season long.

Prepare a bank of festive posts.

The busy holiday season tends to leave us all pressed for time. Look at the calendar and list important dates, so you can prepare for sales and other promotions before things get hectic. Keep in mind that not everyone in your community will celebrate the same holidays, so you'll want to think about the types of messages you want to send and make sure they accurately reflect traditions. Prepare messages and get them ready to be repurposed across all your social platforms, remembering to include holiday hashtags on tweets and note to tag Facebook updates where applicable too.

Festively incentivize sharing.

If you've been following this column regularly, you're probably already in the habit of asking your fans and followers for photos, reviews and videos that relate to your brand so you can share them on your social sites. The holiday season is as good a time as any to encourage your community for that sort of content, incentivizing them to do so with an extra discount for use throughout the season. Match the promotion to your type of business. Retailers can offer coupons to those who post photos of friends opening up gifts; custom installers can offer discounts in exchange for a video of a family member entering his or her living room and meeting their newly mounted flat panel and accompanying surround sound system for the first time.

Make sure sharing is easy.

The holiday season always brings out the share in people. You'll want to take advantage of the positive energy generated by customers bustling with holiday buzz, so make sure it's easy to do. If your business has an online store, make sure each product page has operational social-sharing buttons, in case they want to tweet about a deal they just snagged.

For retail locations, remind customers to "check in" on Facebook or Foursquare so your business name reaches their networks. Incentivizing people to share plays a huge role here too, so be sure to offer reasons why they should via an additional coupon.

Engage your community with holiday talk.

Many people are eager to talk about their holiday customs, so use festive topics to interact with customers. Ask your community about their favorite holiday foods, their most memorable childhood gifts and, of course, the one special thing they're coveting this year.

Holiday enthusiasm tends to entice people to share more, so this could give you the opportunity to engage with those who tend to be passive throughout the rest of the year. Be sure to listen carefully to what they're saying—shares are packed with valuable information about your customer base and could provide insight about things like brand preferences and buying trends. That's intelligence that's usable year round!

Continue to post useful content — but keep it holiday related.

You already know the importance of consistently providing your community with useful content, as opposed to just pushing your products or services. And since people tend to be more stressed or pressed for time during the holiday season, this is an excellent time to be as helpful as possible with your posts.

Be a valuable resource to your community by offering advice on holiday challenges, like gift giving and entertaining. Content shared doesn't always have to be original—if you have a trusted resource for crowd-pleasing recipes or travel tips, share it and tag it appropriately. Of course, if there's a clever way to remind customers that your business is a stress-free one-stop-shop for spreading holiday cheer, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity every now and then.

Highlight your company culture.

This is a great time of year to give your fans and followers a peek behind the curtain, while spirits are at an all time high. Share pictures from corporate holiday parties or of a group of employees participating in a charitable event. Ask your employees to share some of the things they're thankful for throughout the season, so your social community gets a chance to see that there are humans that make the gears of your business turn. Things like this allow your community to develop a connection with your business or brand, and leave a warm-and-fuzzy feeling that can last long after the holiday season is behind us. CR



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