With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving on its way, the holiday season is finally upon us. Every marketer knows that this is the busiest shopping time of the year, and with new seasonal products come new ways to promote during this critical time for retailers.
It should come as no surprise that with DVR technology and online viewing, teens don’t pay as much attention to television commercials as they used to. As a matter of fact, according to Natalie Wood, assistant director of Saint Joseph University’s Center for Consumer Research, 30% of teen Millennials (ages 15-17) spend time visiting a social networking site between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. versus less than 20% that watch television during that same time. This little tidbit should serve as just the tip of the iceberg for marketers, who should already be aware that social media advertising is one of the more efficient ways to reach teens. But what can marketers do with social media during the holidays that is different from the rest of the year? Here are a few tips:
Change the picture on your fan or group page to match the season: Showing that you are excited about the season will get page visitors excited and a new photo is a good way to catch their eye. And you don’t have to stop at just a profile picture. Create a whole album featuring holiday photos associated with your company. You can post statuses consistent with the season to go along with the photos, too. However, it is enormously important to remember that just because you may celebrate a certain holiday doesn’t mean the entire planet does, too. Be respectful of your core audience and the people you are targeting.
Partner with a charity: Charity donation is huge during the holiday season, with many teens getting involved in non-profit events during the holiday season such as a pancake breakfast or a spaghetti dinner. Linking your fan page with a charity will show your audience how much you are willing to give back during the “season of giving.” Examples include partnering with a non-profit such as Toys4Tots (donating a certain amount of money or even toys for every new follower), or encouraging followers to donate something of their own (like unused clothing), to a charity such as Goodwill in the name of your company.
Take advantage of Black Friday/Cyber Monday: Every holiday shopper is already well aware of the madness that ensues during the days following Thanksgiving. Sales at retail locations across the country are absolutely crazy. So how can you stand out among the crowd? Engage your audience by making your sales even crazier. Holiday promotion codes given to social media followers specifically tailored for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a good way to keep your customers loyal to your brand while other brand messages are bombarding them from every which way. Also, give early sale advantages and time-sensitive deals. This will have people paying more attention to your brand.
Use countdown themes associated with the holidays: From the 12 days of Christmas to the 8 nights of Hanukkah, there are many different ways to take advantage of this theme. What if every day brought a new discount or a new giveaway? Or, encourage fans to give something up for a specific amount of time. Either way, using a countdown will force fans to come back every day if they want to take advantage of the unique opportunities you are offering.
Remember that using a social networking site is like holding a digital focus group session for a fraction of the cost. As the economy continues to falter and unemployment and costs keep rising, marketers will need to implement new and innovative methods to reach consumers this holiday shopping season. Here, during the 2011 holiday season, social networking is where teens are, and using these platforms will ensure your message is getting to as many teens as possible.