When the holiday season rolls around, many businesses large and small ramp up their social media marketing efforts, crowding digital playing fields. But for independent businesses, social media marketing does more than just promote sales.
“Even though the average small business owner is thinking just about sales for the season, the reality is that this is building their business,” Ken Lewis, CEO of interior design marketing agency Client Expander, explains. “This is using the season to strengthen their entire year.”
Holiday social media marketing can help establish and foster consumer relationships that will benefit your business long after the decor goes back into storage. Here are four strategies to tackle this season.
1. Track your charity contributions
If your business participates in any charitable giving such as toy drives or fundraisers, share that with your followers. It may seem self-serving, but it’s a great way to foster closer ties with your local customers.
Lewis says it’s important to frame charity campaigns as an ongoing effort rather than a one-time deal. This way, you can provide your audience consistent updates.
If you’re raising money, start posting about it as early as possible and make sure to include a visual component that helps people see how much you’ve raised compared to your goal. Post photos along the way and tag any groups you’re benefitting so they can share your posts.
2. Share decorating ideas and examples
Sharing decorating ideas positions your company as an industry resource and lets you highlight the products you’re stocking this season. Each winter, Caitlin Marsh at Lulu’s Furniture & Decor in Colorado says the business collaborates with Denver Life magazine to share holiday design tips featuring their products. Last year, they showed followers how to style a fireplace mantel in traditional and modern styles.
For designers especially, Lewis says taking photos at a client’s home all decorated for the holidays is a great tactic. Try reaching out to your clients, offering to help them set up for their holiday dinner and get some shots of the space while you’re at it. These photos will look great on your Facebook or Instagram page and capture your work in its most beautiful state.
3. Host a user-generated content contest
In a user-generated content contest, you can have your followers post photos to Facebook and Instagram to enter for a prize of your choosing. Campaigns like these let your followers engage with your brand, and everyone likes a shot at a discount or prize.
For example, at Colorado-based furniture store Mod Livin’, owner Jill Warner says this season they plan to run a photo contest in conjunction with furniture manufacturer Blu Dot. Customers can post photos of the products they’re purchasing for a shot at a prize.
For a holiday spin, have your followers post photos of their holiday decor, their table setting, their best snowman or their favorite gift.
4. Promote your holiday open house
Each December, Marsh says Lulu’s hosts a holiday open house where they offer food, drinks and extended hours. If you throw an event like this, make sure you devote enough attention to promoting it. Create the Facebook event page as early as you can so you can advertise it to your audience. During the event, make sure to take lots of photos. You can share these to your Instagram or Facebook during the event or post them afterward, thanking everyone for coming.
You can also take advantage of Facebook Live to share the festivities in real time. If a special guest is speaking or performing, your owner is giving a toast or you’re announcing the winners of a raffle or contest, stream it on Facebook Live for your followers who couldn’t make it.