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.

Millennials: Give ‘Em a Chance

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We’ve all heard concerns about millennials entering the job market—they’re entitled, lazy and social media obsessed.

As a millennial myself, I must insist this is a sweeping accusation that can’t possibly be true for everyone. Sure, millennials are more dependent on technology than past generations. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 83 percent of millennials reported sleeping with their phones. However, a more recent study shows that one-third of them have four-year degrees, making millennials the most educated group of young adults in history.

So, what can a tech-savvy, educated person bring to your business?  Here are a few good reasons to give millennials a chance:

1. Tech and social media

Millennials can make huge contributions to your business, especially in marketing and media.  Because they grew up in the tech age, they have a deep understanding of how technology works.

2. Your company will be up-to-date

More seasoned professionals shouldn’t be intimidated by millennials. In fact, they should welcome these new hires. Millennials can bring older generations up-to-date on technology.  They can also consult on social media and new trends.

3. Fresh ideas, new perspectives

Millennials will bring new ideas to any field.  Fresh ways of thinking ensure your brand doesn’t grow stale. When it’s time to hire, don’t turn away less experienced applicants. They could bring a new way of thinking to the table.

4. The younger market

Millennials can help target the younger market because they are the younger market. They understand how to reach them and what tactics work best. They’ll know what the younger market wants to see from brands, both in the real world and online.

How are millennials making a difference at your business?

Twitter is Becoming More Visual – Are You Adapting?

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By Shari Lopatin

Once upon a time, there was a company that changed the essence of breaking news to 140 characters.

Newspapers, television stations and the Associated Press abhorred this little company, until they could no longer ignore it. Now, that company is evolving yet again, and if you don’t adapt, you might be left irrelevant.

Yes, I’m talking about Twitter. If you haven’t figured this out by now, you need to reconsider whether to remain in media.

Twitter Went to the Pics … Whaaaat?

When I first started in social media marketing, Twitter thrived off 140 characters. That’s it—words. However, within the past two years, Twitter has strived to make itself more visual.

At first, I thought the company was trying to compete with Facebook and the effort wouldn’t last. Now, however, I understand that Twitter is succeeding. While it’s nothing like Facebook, images are beginning to dominate the Twitter news feed.

Here’s a Case Study to Prove It

One of my clients is the Desert Botanical Garden. For the past couple of months, I’ve been helping the Garden’s communications team develop and manage social media content—including Twitter posts.

One day, I wrote and posted this tweet:

Good tweet_DBG

As you can see, the post received 27 retweets and 14 favorites, which far exceeded the engagement of the Garden’s other tweets.

Therefore, I decided to experiment. Whenever I posted a news story, I published an image with the link, rather than just the content. Here’s an example:

Sunset Mag tweet

BOOM! Another 15 retweets and 22 favorites. “Hmmm,” I thought. “I’m beginning to see a pattern.”

Since I started using more images in the Garden’s tweets, a quick analysis of the past few weeks showed the following results:

  • The average number of impressions per tweet increased 38.5 percent (from 412 impressions per tweet, to 670 impressions).
  • Engagements increased by 16 percent, from 102 to 121.
  • Retweets increased 55 percent, from only nine … to 20.

Keep in mind, I conducted this analysis before the week finished. Therefore, the increases will go up dramatically by week’s end.

What’s the takeaway here? Simple: use more images in your tweets. Otherwise, risk falling into the black hole of irrelevant content.

MY QUESTION TO YOU: Have you noticed this change in Twitter? How have you handled the switch?

Social Media for Small Business: Why It’s Failing

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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!