The holidays are a magical time of year. Something that many of us look forward to, and there are those who do not partake. Yet, it is also a special time of year for those in marketing–trying to woo customers over with sales, sales, and more sales. In addition, the season can be marked by family, food, and…perhaps, fighting?
This is not about arguing over who gets the last piece of pie or who gets to open their gift first, but it’s about retailers and brands sparring for customer attention during the busiest shopping time of the year. The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the largest window of opportunity for brands and retailers to get their share of the market. It is also incredibly saturated and competitive. This is why it is essential to reach out to your target market in the right way.
Think about cultural responsiveness
The world is a melting pot of immigrants from all cultures, backgrounds and religions. The holiday season, between November and the end of December, is the biggest shopping season in the western world. But, not everyone celebrates Christmas or Thanksgiving. Even New Year’s Day is different all over the world!
There are other holidays, for example, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and more. It goes without saying that religious holidays should be approached appropriately. Some celebrate Christmas, but don’t consider it religious–while, others celebrate it specifically for its religious association. How can a marketer target all and offend none? That might be quite difficult to do.
Although, it is possible to have a winning solution through segmentation. Use predictive analytics to get a better understanding of your customer’s backgrounds. At the same time, you can personalize specific messages for each holiday throughout the season.
It does not, and should not be a one-size-fits-all marketing message. Furthermore, it is important to approach your holiday marketing strategy with pre-planned and thoughtful messages. Moreover, seek out various influencers to show diversity within your messages.
Don’t have a pushy message
You will turn customers off with aggressive marketing, unless it is for a coupon or deal. During this time of year, customers are sensitive to overt sales messages. Many customers hate Black Friday and similar types of days for the crowds and more.
It is also critical to avoid using any religious figures unless they align with your company or non-profit. The objective is to consider your audience, and be sensitive to what they might find offensive. Marketing is consumer-driven after all.
Make sure you monitor your content
You can’t just set it and forget it. Even if you schedule social media content, things can change. Despite using scheduling tools such as Hootsuite, you may need to modify your messages to ensure they are all still appropriate.
Reach out to a diverse audience
If your customers come from wide-ranging backgrounds, and many customers do, you might think about hosting a charitable campaign as opposed to a coupon or sales-driven campaign. Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving or Christmas, but most everyone can agree on the merits of being a good corporate citizen.
Decorate your social media pages
During the holidays, you can decorate your pages with festive images. Again, they should not be religious unless that resonates with your company and audience. You might add colors of the season such as red, green and white. Another option is an image of sparkling Christmas lights, which anyone would find beautiful. Maybe you might even showcase a picture of holiday cookies.
Give something away
Since the season is centered around giving, perhaps your company should consider giving something away. It can be a free gift card, a branded item, a free service or free product. Social media users adore free items. You can make it a contest, and ask for users’ email addresses.
Then, select a random user as a winner. The amazing thing about holiday contests is they often go viral. Users share it with their friends, who share it with their friends and so on.
Have a public relations plan in place
Even if you feel you have covered all the basics, you campaign may still have the potential to offend someone. This is why it is imperative to have a PR professional on hand to avoid sharing the wrong thing when replying to any critics.
Get your audience involved
Since your customers are already inundated with advertisements, you can make them the center of attention instead. Try leveraging user-generated content throughout your social media profiles.
As you probably already know, most people are programmed to ignore ads. Why not display authentic photos of your audience? This encourages emotional interest from both new and loyal customers.
Your followers will relate to real people using your products. There is nothing like third party validation to give your company even more credibility. And, your brand gets a better understanding of what moves your audience.
The holidays can be a fun time for some and a sensitive time for others. You can’t please everyone, but you shouldn’t try to do that anyway. Segment your market, create a charitable campaign, use a diverse set of influencers and create appropriate messages. And, don’t forget to have a PR team on hand just in case. How are you planning your holiday social media marketing this year?