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How to Prepare Your Socials for the 2021 Holiday Shopping Season

It's that time of year again. Thanksgiving is on the way, which means Black Friday is around the corner. Now is the time to make sure you're preparing your small business's socials to be competitive in the online shopping market. We've got your guide to important dates and tasks you need to check off before the holidays hit full swing.

Make Sure Your Instagram Account is Set Up For Instagram Shopping

Now that Instagram allows users to purchase from businesses within the app, 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.

Important Sales Dates

As you're prepping for the holiday shopping season, you want to keep in mind important shopping dates. Here's our quick list below:

Thanksgiving: Nov. 25

Black Friday: Nov. 26

Small Business Saturday: Nov. 27

Hanukkah: Nov. 28 - Dec. 6

Cyber Monday: Nov. 29

Green Monday: Dec. 13

Super Saturday: Dec. 18

Christmas Eve: Dec. 24

Christmas Day: Dec. 25

December 13th – 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.

Free Shipping Day (Mid-December)

Free Shipping Day happens in mid-December. Businesses that participate in this event give customers free shipping with a guaranteed delivery before Christmas. Again, this date may be hard to achieve this year due to national shipping issues.

December 18th – 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.

You don’t need to create a promotion for every single one of these holidays, but it’s important to pick a few and really run with them. Be sure to post about your promotions on your social media platforms (now might be the time to pay for a targeted Facebook ad or Instagram ad), 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. Make sure you have plenty of quality product videos and photography stocked up to post during the holiday season. 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 (as well as auto - post Carousels and Stories).

Encourage UGC with a Branded Hashtag

In all of your holiday promotional posts, make sure you include a branded hashtag. This can be as simple as your business's name or more detailed like #shopwithMediaaLaCarte. Encourage your customers to share their purchases to their social media pages with your branded hashtag. 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 User Generated Content (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.

Don't Forget to Share Your Story

Shoppers want to buy from small businesses! According to Inuit, one in five consumers were focused on shopping small businesses in the winter of 2020, and in 2019 shoppers spending at small businesses instead of department stores increased by 3 million. Making it clear that your business isn't like Amazon or Target is essential to your online success. Be sure to show your face on your feed and Instagram Stories. Post behind the scenes videos of your packaging process. Share why you're excited for the holiday season. Remind your followers that they are supporting a person, not a huge corporation.

Remember, setting posting goals and creating a plan for how to meet them is essential to a successful digital marketing holiday season for your small business. Now go! Start prepping your promotions, batching your content, and raking in the sales!

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