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In the words of Andy Williams, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are fast approaching, and for small business retailers, this means all hands on deck. Traditional marketing and advertising will always help around the holidays, but studies are proving that social media marketing is becoming increasingly important this time of year. We look at why social media channels are important and how to use them effectively over the holiday season.

The importance of social media over the holidays

Canadian consumers are becoming more reliant on their mobile devices when making a purchase. A study done by PayPal found that the rate for mobile commerce in Canada is projected to grow by 34% per year. Brand pages on social media are quickly becoming the first place consumers go to find out more information on a product or service. In fact, 46% of consumers say they rely on social media when making a purchase. Another study done by Euromonitor International found that 70% of those surveyed use their phone to look for deals while they shop and 43% were more likely to visit a store after seeing a deal on Twitter.

While a strong social media marketing strategy is a smart business move all year round, more attention should be diverted to this area during the holidays. Facebook and Pinterest, for example, are where many shoppers go for holiday gift inspiration. G/O Digital surveyed over 1,300 people and found that 38% use Facebook for gift ideas and 32% use Pinterest. If you’ve been thinking about diving into the world of social media marketing, the holidays are an ideal time to take the plunge.

Some Best practices in social media marketing for the holidays

  1. Be shareable. Create a social media campaign that is more likely to be shared by your followers; for example, create a funny holiday video, or a sentimental holiday card. 74% of consumers say they rely on word of mouth recommendations when making a purchase. If they see your content shared by a friend, it will peak more interest.
  2. Create a festive contest. Santa gives out gifts this time of year—so should you! Create a holiday-themed contest that you can run through Facebook. You may also want to give users the option to increase their chances of winning by sending it to their friends to further your reach.
  3. Market your products twice. A study done by Facebook found that 52% of people surveyed use the holidays to buy gifts for other people and Ensuring you market your products as gifts and personal items will help increase sales this time of year.
  4. Create comparison. Create your holiday social media campaign with an emphasis on comparing prices with your competitors. 53% of shoppers use their mobile device when shopping strictly to compare prices before making a final decision.
  5. Double your consistency. Your content calendar should reflect the increase in product demand that the holidays bring. The demand from your consumers will go up, and your content creation should mirror that increase.
  6. #UseHolidayHashtags. Hashtags are one of the most effective ways to connect with social media users that aren’t already a part of your network. They are designed to classify posts based on keywords so you can use them to target people interested in a specific product or topic. Popular holiday hashtags can increase your brand awareness this time of year.
  7. Focus on millennials. Millennials are 1.5 times more likely to use Facebook to research gift ideas than any other demographic and 2 times more likely to use Instagram in particular. Make sure your social media campaign is sharing products that millennials will be interested in, and more importantly, ones they can afford.
  8. Give back. The holidays are a time for giving, so why not add a charitable component to your social media campaign? Let your community know you’re doing your part to give back this year. Partner with a cause that aligns well with your brand’s values and create a virtual fundraiser of some kind. Bonus tip: offer to match the donations made by your followers—they’ll feel good knowing they’ve done their part, too.

Social media has become an effective tool for small business owners, particularly over the holidays. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to further your brand awareness and drive sales this season, and be sure to follow our Twitter page for more useful marketing tips as the holiday season continues.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.