How to Prep Your Socials for the 2022 Holiday Shopping Season
You might be thinking, "It's only October, and I'm still drinking my first PSL. Chill out with the holiday talk!"
Yeah, we know. But now is the time to start laying out your marketing plans for the holidays so you don't spend November and December in a stressed out game of catch-up. A Salesforce survey reported by Practical Ecommerce found that 37 percent of consumers anticipate starting to shop for the holidays early this year - not dropping all their money on traditional shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but starting their shopping in October to avoid spending so much at once. That means it's time to get cracking on your holiday social plan.
We're going to break down the important dates you need to be aware of, the type of content you need to prioritize, and the best tips for getting it all done PLUS how you can make the holiday season provide content for you well into 2023.
Plan Your Promotions
The first step to planning out your promotions is knowing when the major shopping holidays fall. Here’s a list of them to add to your marketing calendar:
Oct 11 - 12th Prime Early Access Sale
While this isn't a traditionally recognized holiday shopping day, it's excellent proof that shoppers are starting their holiday shopping earlier and earlier in the year. If you're a small business, offer a sale during the Prime Early Access Sale and directly call customers to skip Amazon's sales and shop small and local instead.
November 24th Thanksgiving
For years, Black Friday sales have been starting earlier and earlier. If you want to compete with the retail behemoths, opening up your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales early is important.
November 25th Black Friday
Add a new and enticing element to your sale today (free shipping, a free gift, additional percent off, etc.) that will push customers who've waited until Black Friday to take the dive and purchase.
November 28th Cyber Monday
Similarly to the above, how are you going to entice shoppers to buy on Cyber Monday when your sales have been open since before Thanksgiving? Switch up the sale and add a new perk. If you have digital only products, this day is a great day to put them on sale.
December 12th Green Monday
Green Monday is normally the second Monday of December, and most small businesses using USPS consider it as the cut-off date for customers to receive their packages before Christmas. While the second Monday of December may be industry standard for the shipping cut-off date, it's important that you sit down and evaluate what the cut-off date is for your business especially with the current supply chain issues and shipping delays currently prevalent in the United States.
Mid December Free Shipping Day
Free Shipping Day happens in mid-December. Businesses that participate in this event give customers free shipping with guaranteed delivery before Christmas. Again, this date may look different for your business than for other businesses. Don't make a promise you can't keep.
December 17th Super Saturday
Super Saturday is always the last Saturday before Christmas. It’s the last chance for many shoppers to get to a store before it’s too late. But you can grab them online with a one-day sale on Super Saturday! You might consider offering discounted, fast shipping rates along with this sale.
December 18 - 26th Hanukkah
December 24th Christmas Eve
December 25th Christmas Day
December 26th Day After Christmas
You don’t need to create a promotion for every single one of these holidays - in fact we suggest that you only pick one or two that really align with your business. Be sure to post about your promotions on your social media platforms, and send out an upcoming promotions guide to your email list.
Batch Create and Schedule Your Holiday Content
After you've planned out your sales and promotions, it's time to share them on social media. We suggest during this heavy selling season to do about 60% sales content and 40% value content. Remember that your followers only see about 10% of what you post, so they won't feel inundated with sales content if you keep to a 60/40 ratio.
Make sure you have plenty of product videos stocked up to post during the holiday season. Photos will work in a pinch, but if you're trying to compete and get your product seen on Instagram this season - Reels are beyond essential. One study found that video can increase purchase intent by 82% and 73% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy after watching a video about a product or service. Start capturing footage ASAP if you want to make holiday sales. Your videos don't have to be highly produced either. With the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels, social media users are used to casually produced videos. Just make sure you're using a trending sound to get that extra boost from the algorithm. Sign up for our newsletter where we drop the top monthly TikTok trends, so you can implement those trends into your holiday content strategy.
Because consumers are looking to buy holiday gifts, it's great to add holiday elements to your graphics and product shoots to make it clear that your products are the answer to their search. And don't worry, even if your brand colors aren't red and green you can still add elements like snowflakes, ribbons, and trees to get your followers in the holiday mood.
After you've created all of your content, it's time to schedule it to your social platforms. You'll be busy enough during the holiday season (juggling your business and personal life) and you don't need posting to be added to your lengthy to - do list. Try out apps like Planoly, Later, or Hootsuite to schedule your content, and if you're looking for a free option, Facebook's Business Suite allows scheduling to Instagram and Facebook.
Believe us when we say that if you wait to create your holiday promotional posts and product promo posts on the day you want to post them, one of two things will happen:
The post quality won't be as good as it could have been, and you will miss precious working hours by stopping your work flow to create and post your content. OR
You won't post at all.
Batch create early and schedule it all, or live to regret it.
How to Get Your Customers to Create Content for You
Create an Instagram-able unboxing moment for your customers. This moment leaves a lasting impression and can increase future sales. If you don’t already have an aesthetically pleasing way of wrapping and packaging your items, start brainstorming now, and roll out your new look this holiday season. Adding simple tissue paper and a handwritten note can make a world of difference. If you want to really up your game, use your brand’s colors for the tissue paper, order stationary with your company’s logo for the handwritten note, and add in a little piece of branded merch for your customer - like a sticker, pen, or magnet. People love free stuff, and they’ll think of you every time they see your logo on their fridge. Whenever someone posts about their unboxing on social, be sure to save the post to use as User Generated Content (UGC) for your brand in the future.
On that hand written note, be sure to encourage customers to share their thoughts on social media and use your business's branded hashtag when they do. You'll also want to use this hashtag on all of your holiday promotional posts. This hashtag can be as simple as your business's name or more detailed like #shopwithMediaaLaCarte. This allows potential customers to browse your branded hashtag to see what other people are buying and what they think of your products. It's also a simple way to collect UGC for your brand. When you're looking for stories content, just head to your branded hashtag and share a couple posts about your product. If you really push your branded hashtag during the holidays, you'll be able to collect enough UGC to last a few months.
Make Sure Your Instagram Account is Set Up For Instagram Shopping
Finally, if you are a product based business, it's essential that your business has an Instagram Shop enabled on your profile. Facebook has shared that 70% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram for product discovery. You want to make sure that they don't get distracted when leaving the app to go to your website to purchase your products. Streamlining the process as much as possible ensures that your customers have less of a chance to decide not to buy your product. With Instagram Checkout, purchasing only takes a few taps.
Meta has released a simple 7 step process for turning on Instagram shopping. 1) Confirm eligibility. 2) Convert to a business account. 3) Connect your Facebook Page. 4) Upload a product catalog. 5) Complete account review. 6) Turn on Shopping. 7) Make content actionable. If you need a detailed explanation, click here.
Clean Up Your Website
Your website has to be running flawlessly as you head into the holiday season. Wanna hear some shocking stats? You have 0.05 seconds before a customer decides if they want to engage with your website or not, and 38% of people will stop using your website if they find the layout or design unattractive. So if you’ve been putting off a website clean-up, you cannot delay.
BONUS TIP 🔥: Do not forget about your website on mobile! Over half of online sales occur on mobile devices, and 85% of adults believe that a site's mobile version should work as well as if not better than the desktop version. Ease of use converts directly into sales.
If you start planning now, you'll be all set to convert your social media followers into paying customers. Make a plan and put it into action.