Social media is more competitive and noisy than ever, but the holidays offer a perfect opportunity to cut through the noise and gain an advantage over your competitors.
This is because people’s emotions are actively engaged with a combination of excitement and nostalgia. If you can tap into that, then you can often multiply the effectiveness of your social media efforts.
Most people simply phone in their holiday marketing, though.
Many will just slap some clip art together, offer a small promotional discount, post it to Facebook, and call it a day.
Then they’ll wonder why they didn’t get much traction.
The key is to engage with your audience on an emotional level and get your message in front of enough people. This will typically also require some amount of paid ads.
The beauty is that there are so many holidays that you have a year-long stream of opportunities. Some holidays may be better suited for certain industries, but creative marketers in any industry should be able to leverage just about any holiday.
In this chapter, I’m going to outline several tactics you can use in your own social media marketing for the holidays, along with a number of specific examples of some of the content you might consider creating.
These examples aren’t necessarily meant as a blueprint, but more of a spark to get your creativity flowing so you can come up with specific holiday-themed content that’s relevant to your business.
Let’s get started…
Decorate Your Profile
This is the first and most obvious component of social media marketing for the holidays and it takes the least effort.
Simply update your cover photo and profile picture to reflect the holiday.
For your cover photo, this might mean replacing your normal photo with one of your staff wearing Halloween costumes in front of your building or maybe throwing candy from a Christmas float. Or you might just use a holiday-themed graphic.
How you handle your profile picture might depend on whether it’s a headshot or a logo.
For example, if we’re talking about a headshot, you might put on a Santa hat or reindeer antlers. If we’re talking about a logo you might superimpose falling snow over your logo or drop some candy canes or holly in the corner of the image.
On some platforms, you might even use holiday-themed background colors in some of your posts leading up to a holiday. You could even include holiday-themed static images or animated GIFs in your posts.
Be Like Santa
Everyone loves getting gifts. Well, maybe except for those people with warrants who got lured into an arrest by police under the guise of a free prize.
But pretty much everyone else does.
This can make gift-giving a powerful way to generate exposure through social media. Some holidays may be better suited for this, such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day.
But it can work for most holidays. And the beauty of this approach is that it’s exactly the kind of thing that can get a lot of people talking about it and your company on social media.
Now when I talk about giving a gift, it’s important to point out that it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, but it does need to have some real value.
I’ll give you an example of what not to do.
I worked with a photographer several years ago who sent me a Christmas “gift” that consisted of a cheap Christmas card with a note handwritten on the inside that said:
“I wanted to thank you for being a customer. As a Christmas gift to you, I’d like to offer you a 10% discount on any new photography projects between now and the end of the year.”
That’s not a gift.
It’s a promotion. And not a very impressive one at that.
If you’re going to give a gift, give an actual gift with no strings attached.
And that gift should be of sufficient value, relative to the price point of your products or services, but it doesn’t need to be related to your business.
For example, you might send out a fancy box of Christmas chocolates to their top customers. In a tight-knit and tech-savvy industry like ours, many of the recipients of a gift like this would immediately hop on social media to post about their amazing gift, and they would usually tag the company that sent it.
Some may and some won’t, but you should never ask anyone to post about their gift because that will make the gift seem insincere. They’ll probably question your motives in giving it to them, and may even question how much you really value them as a customer.
The keys to giving the kind of gifts that are more likely to get people talking on social media are to:
- Give something of sufficient value. (When in doubt, more is better.)
- If possible, tailor the gift to their personality and interests.
- Don’t ask them to post about it on social media. Not even subtly.
There are a virtually unlimited number of topics you can come up with to help promote your business around a particular holiday.
There are two paths you can take here:
- Publish long-form content on your blog and then share it on social media.
- Publish short-form content only on social media.
So what kind of content is going to get people talking and encourage them to share it?
While this content probably won’t drive traffic from an organic search perspective in the short term, it can start to drive traffic from a social perspective immediately.
This is because it’s exactly the type of content people are likely to share while a particular holiday is at the front of their mind.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- The best horror movies. You could further refine this by creating a separate post for the scariest, funniest, or kid-friendly horror movies.
- A comprehensive list of local Halloween events.
- The origin of various Halloween traditions.
- Halloween decorating ideas.
- Top horror movie villains.
- A list of Halloween treats for kids with food sensitivities.
- Scary short stories from local authors.
- The best Christmas movies. You could further refine this by creating a separate post for kids, teen, and general Christmas movies.
- A list of gift ideas for a particular type of person (digital marketers, journalists, construction workers, Marines, etc.)
- Stories shared from people about their worst or best Christmas memories.
- A comprehensive list of local Christmas events.
- The origin of various Christmas traditions.
- Christmas decorating ideas.
- A list of bargain, luxury, or gag Christmas gifts.
- The best (or worst) Valentine or romantic movies.
- A list of gift ideas based on how long you’ve been in a relationship.
- A lot of unique Valentine’s Day get always.
- Stories shared from people about their worst or best Valentine’s Day.
- A list of local romantic restaurants.
- A list of bargain, luxury, or gag Valentine gifts.
Polls, questions, and funny memes rule here. The idea is to generate quick engagement in the form of comments and shares.
This is a starting point, but to get significant traction, you’ll need to find a way to connect holiday-themed topics to your business and/or industry.
- A poll of the best (or worst) horror villains.
- Ask people to share their scariest Halloween experience.
- A poll of the best (or worst) candies.
- Ask people to comment on the plot holes in popular horror movies.
- A poll on trick or treating vs going to a Halloween party.
- A poll of the best (or worst) Christmas movies. Bonus points if you can get people debating whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or an action movie.
- Ask people to explain their theory of the science behind how Santa travels around the world, flies, carries all those toys, and gets in and out of homes undetected.
- A poll of people’s favorite Christmas food.
- Ask people to comment on the best or worst gift they’ve received or given.
- Ask people to share their best Christmas memory.
- A poll of the best (or worst) romantic movies.
- Ask people to comment on the best or worst gift they’ve received or given.
- Ask people to share their best Valentine memory.
- A poll on who they “love” most in your industry or what they love about your industry.
- Ask people to share how they fell in love or how they knew their partner was “the one.”
Note: In cases where there are multiple options, each option should be its own post.
Create a Holiday-Inspired Hashtag
Hashtags can be a great way to get a lot of people talking about a particular topic while making it easy for everyone to find those conversations.
All it takes, in some cases, is for a few people to use a particular hashtag in order for it to take off.
The key is to make it powerful, funny, or timely, or ideally, a combination of those elements.
Some ideas might include:
Important note: avoid tying politics in with your hashtags because that can go south really fast.
It’s equally important to make sure the hashtag you want to use isn’t already in use. The baked goods company, Entenmanns, learned this the hard way when they jumped on the #NotGuilty hashtag a few years ago.
Elf of the Shelf
If you have kids, or know anyone who does, or have been at least somewhat conscious for the last several years, then you’ve probably seen the festive, yet creepy Elf on the Shelf toy.
If you haven’t, well, first, welcome back from your coma. Next, I’ll give you a quick explanation of what it is.
The short version is that it’s a magical elf who has traveled down to your house on Santa’s orders to monitor and report on your kid’s behavior.
From the time your kid wakes up, well into the evening after they’re asleep, these elves watch them. Then, after your kid has finally gone to sleep, the elf travels back to the North Pole to report to Santa.
This explains why the elf is in a different place each morning. Often doing something funny.
Why can’t these elves just use email? Or FaceTime?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that you can use this elf to promote your business.
“How can this creepy stalker elf help promote my business?” you ask?
In the same way that parents set these elves up doing funny things at home, you can set them up doing funny things in your business, and then posting them to social media each morning.
Ideally, your elf should do things closely related to your business. For example, a home builder might have an elf sitting atop a truss wearing a tiny helmet.
But you’ll get even more traction if your elf has a habit of doing things that are funny or ridiculous.
That same home builder might have their elf sitting on a tiny front end loader, with an opened bag of cement in the background, dumping a tiny load of cement into a cup of coffee.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita