3 Social Media Tips for the Holiday Season

Holiday s.m.

The holiday season is upon us! Social media is important for your growing business, so you should take advantage of the holiday opportunities. Below, we’ve shared our top three tips for resonating with your audience during the holidays.

1) Acknowledge the Holidays

Don’t ignore the holidays. You may be worried about offending people by addressing the holidays in a certain way. We’re here to tell you it probably won’t happen, so do whatever’s comfortable for you.

  • Happy Holidays! It’s all-inclusive and a safe bet if you’re still worried about offending anyone.
  • Merry Christmas! Don’t worry about getting a backlash with this one, because we’ve never witnessed one.
  • Acknowledge every holiday! Feel free to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and everything in between.

2) You Don’t Have to Post as Frequently

Around the holidays, most people aren’t paying as much attention to social media. They’re preparing and spending time with their families. If you’re doing the same and taking time off from social media, be sure to let your followers know. For instance, you could say something like, “We’re going to be offline for the next few days to spend time with our families. Happy Holidays!” Acknowledge your reasoning and encourage them to do the same.

3) Integrate Holiday Messaging into What You’re Selling

If you’re having sales or deals, don’t fall into commercializing your brand. Incorporate your holiday message into what you’re selling. If you’re promoting a service, does your holiday message fit with your brand messaging? For example, a company in the healthcare industry may choose to focus on avoiding weight gain during the holidays. However, this wouldn’t be a good focus for a company like Shari’s Ink, which operates in the creative services industry. Base your holiday messaging around your values and what you do.

3 Digital Marketing Lessons from a Bananagram

bananagram_web

Plastic letters in a banana. Was I hallucinating? No, but after one simple email, I switched from a skeptic to an advocate for this unique product … errr, “game.”

I’m talking about the new age of social media and digital marketing. But first, let me backtrack, so this all makes sense …
About a year ago, I published a humorous, yet cynical post on my creative writing blog entitled, “Bananagrams: The New Age of American Consumerism.”

The next day, when I checked my email, I found a surprise. There, filling my subject line, all in CAPS, was one word: “BANANAGRAMS.”

Turns out, the email author was the PR representative for this product.

“Morning Shari,” it read. “I just saw your post.  You have to play it!  It’s so much more than Scrabble in a banana. I attached a few articles on the founder and the creation of the game as an FYI.”

The three articles were from the New York Times, TIME Magazine, and the Boston Globe. Within the hour, I’d written a positive follow-up blog post.

How did my heart change so quickly? Well, besides introducing me to the very endearing story behind the Bananagram, the PR representative did three very key things in the world of digital marketing:

Rule #1 of digital marketing: She found me.

I wrote my blog post without knowing a single thing about the Bananagram. I’d merely observed five oversized fabric bananas hanging off an aisle at Walgreens.

Yet, the PR representative researched cyberspace for her brand’s name, and miraculously found my blog post. She read it and saw an opportunity to educate a potentially influential “advocate.”

Rule #2 of digital marketing: She researched me.

I can’t say for sure, but from my observations, I gathered she poked around my blog. And in the process, she learned about my journalism credentials and awards.

She used this information to prepare an effective approach when contacting me … which leads me to rule #3.

Rule #3 of digital marketing: She educated me, the right way.

After researching me, she didn’t try and push her brand onto me. Instead, she sent me journalistic articles on her company, from reputable publications. And it worked, because I listened.

Case-in-point, digital marketing can be an effective tool in turning skeptics into advocates, and naysayers into buyers. It just all comes down to the approach, and the strategy.

Social Media for Small Business: Why It’s Failing

social-media-and-business

You probably weren’t expecting a headline like that, coming from a writer and social media strategist who makes her living on consulting and contract work.

But I’m also a journalist, and therefore, I can’t hide the truth.

Forbes published a great article on this exact issue in April, 2013, “Why Small Businesses are Losing on Social Media.”  I’ll sum up the gist of the article for you in two sentences:

Social media for small business is not working … but it can. The answer, though, is in the approach.

What’s the Problem with Social Media for Small Business?

The Forbes article says that, despite what social media consultants are telling small business owners, Facebook and Twitter are NOT giving clients a return on investment. But why?

I’m going to pull a quote from the Forbes article here, stated by Chief Social Marketing Director of Collective Bias, Ted Rubin (because I couldn’t say it any better, myself):

“People are being sold on social as a place to generate leads, but it’s really a place to build loyalty, answer customer service questions and to build a community.”

EXACTLY. Thank you, Ted! The key to garnering leads on social media, is building relationships, not selling. And quite frankly, I’ve seen this mistake made all too often.

How Can You Use Social Media to Generate Leads?

Here are a few rules I recommend, before even starting:

  1. Be patient. The premise of all business is still relationships. And relationships take time to build. Don’t expect an immediate return on investment. That’s just unrealistic.
  2. Prepare for the time investment. The largest investment with social media isn’t money; it’s time. If you can’t make the investment, see if someone else can (part-time or full-time).
  3. Get ready to research. Yes, you heard me. RESEARCH. You have to understand your customer’s online behaviors if you want social media to garner sales leads.

Now that you’re prepared, I’ll make a few suggestions:

  • Use an online social search tool, like Topsy.com, to see what people are saying about your field. For example, if you’re selling plumbing services in Arizona, search “Arizona plumbing problems.”
  • LISTEN. And analyze. People may post in forums about issues they’re facing. Be their knight in shining armor! Sweep in and offer your expert advice.
  • Write blog posts on your website centered around your research, and answer people’s questions. Then post your great, new content on Facebook and Twitter. This builds trust.

So go forth, and market via social media!