Is your small business social media plan up to the Festivus feats of strength? Your small business potential should be inspired by Frank Constanza’s story from the 1997 Seinfeld episode. As Frank said, “Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.” How can your business experience that in-store traffic and demand?
If you aren’t getting the most muscle out of your social media for your business this holiday season, then you need to think about using the many social media strategies to generate awareness of your business and sales for the holidays! Do you know how to time your posts or word our Tweets to reveal attention-grabbing messaging? Do you even have time for this type of strategic thinking?
How do you set yourself up for holiday success? Remember what Frank said about the Festivus pole, “No. Instead, there’s a pole. Requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting.” Like Frank found tinsel distracting, focus on the activity that will drive your success! Here are 11 ways to use social media to help your small business gain sales over the holidays:
11 Holiday Social Media Strategies For Your Small Business
- Facebook Content Calendar. Outline your Facebook editorial calendar to make sure your posts include the best photos and video to reach your followers’ news feeds. With only a small percentage of your posts making it through to your followers, you need to know the type of content that does get seen by your followers. Set a schedule for photos and messages to be released to fans to enables you to set some time aside and focus on the other demands of running your enterprise.
- Plan To Get Your Messaging Seen. Not everyone sees your tweets or posts, so it makes sense to promote them to increase their visibility! By planning the posts, to promote (i.e., Promoted Tweets, Facebook posts) and posts to be organically distributed, you can maximize your investment.
- Blog. Write a blog to present gift-giving and gift-picking guidance. It is a great way to pass on your expertise. Just like you are reading this blog looking for 11 things you can do to use social media, your shoppers and prospects are looking for great ideas for themselves! Blogging also sets up a great platform to communicate and converse with your customers.
- Own your Yelp site. Whether or not you, the “N of 1”, believe in Yelp, many customers do use this social media platform. So, you need to embrace a Yelp review and response strategy. The quick 3-point plan is to:
- Own your Yelp business site so you can take ownership and provide leadership with customer response
- Ensure there are positive reviews on your site. You don’t have to manufacture them, as the New York Times reports often occurs (New York Times reports that 60% of Amazon reviews are paid for and an extension of a brand’s marketing department). Make sure to provide great service and promote the idea to get your customers to leave positive review.
- Respond to questions and comments. Users want to see an engaged small business owner on social media, so make sure to respond to your customers on Yelp.
- Tune up your customer service approach. “The business owners can react to what people are saying or talk to customers through their own page,” said Dina Mayzlin, an associate professor of marketing at USC’s Marshall School of Business. “Social media gives a restaurant a second chance to gain a customer who wrote that they were unimpressed or the chance to build a deeper relationship with their regular customers.” Take advantage of this advice and figure out your approach and tone for your response!
- Own your Foursquare page starting this holiday season. Checking into a business through a social media site, such as Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter and Yelp, is the modern equivalent of talking about it with friends. But now the conversation needs to include feedback from the company itself. Own your Foursquare page and use its promotional mechanism to drive customers to your doorstep.
- Social connection plan. Develop a plan to connect your customers from your social media sites to your front door. A disjointed user experience is a bad user experience. You may surprise and delight your customers or prospects with a great social experience, but you likely make them wonder ‘what next?’ Your social media experience needs to inform and instruct what you want your customer to do. It’s not as hard as you think. You just need to think about the user experience when crafting your social media plans.
- Develop Customer Referrals. Develop a social media plan, to get your customers to advocate your business. Customer referrals are the number one way to get your message amplified to an audience that you do not currently reach! Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are primed to perform your referral heavy-lifting, but are likely under-used. In fact, I was in a long line at a famous Philadelphia ice cream store last night. However, there was no communication to get me to post to Facebook, check-in on Foursquare or tweet to my followers. Big missed advocacy opportunity by the Cadillac of ice cream stores!
- Listen and Learn. Use social media as part of your competitive response plan. Social media is THE big brand equalizer! Set up a listening plan on Google alerts, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to get a jump on what your competition is doing so you can manage and even one-up your big-box buddies.
- Use Pinterest To Make An Impact. Make your business Pinteresting today! Use your digital camera or smart phone to take pictures of your store or product catalog and upload to your Pinterest page. Once you have your full holiday offering online, run a fun Pinterest contest.
- Tweet And Be Heard! I adore Twitter since you can reach and connect with so many people; followers, influencers and hashtag users. Create a 5-10 tweet a day plan to deliver content about your sales, about your store, related human interest stories and cool and interesting content. Your customers and followers will find interesting to help their holiday shopping!
Festivus and the holidays are a make or break time for your business. With the social media world rapidly changing it’s hard for the small business owner to stay on top of and leverage the key trends. ”They might know how to run their business, but business owners might still need help in how to utilize social media to its full potential” with minimal time investment, said Katie Washington, director of social programming for American Express. “For them, time is money.” And, mistakes and lost opportunities are expensive.”
Here are a few more ideas to help your small business marketing plans:
- Are You Running Your Small Business’s Marketing The Old School Way?
- Why Small Businesses Should Not Count On Facebook For Their Marketing Success
- Small Businesses Are Getting Small Business Saturday All Wrong
Executing the best social media strategy need not be a feat of strength. Harken back to the days of Seinfeld and Festivus for inspiration; where you might need a social media trainer to build up your social media strength and win the holiday sales contest! It’s Festivus… for the rest of us!Follow @GerryMoran