5 tips for getting your social media channels ready for the holidays

The end of the year likes to sneak up on people, especially for businesses as they enter their holiday sale period.

While you’re busy preparing a storefront or ordering extra products, social media can fall to the wayside.

Whether you inadvertently forget to schedule out posts or go for the late-night updates, holiday social media management should not fall off due to other factors.

Social media is another tool along with the holiday sales and promotions to create a purchase.

Below we’ll give a few pointers on how to prepare for the holiday rush on your social media channels.

Tip #1: Get preparation underway early

As Mrs. Hughes on Downton Abbey says, “the key is in the planning.”

You should not wait until October to start thinking about holiday social content. There’s a ton of content and materials that go into a successful holiday season. Think of all the different promotions or deals offered from October to December and supportive materials, like images, text and codes, needed for them.

Spend some time thinking ahead of the rush.

Poll your customers on social media to see what content they might be interested in seeing over the course of the season. This is the time to consider when to hold events and also gives you ample time to alert customers. The sooner they know when an event will be, the faster they can put it on their calendar prior to other gatherings or conflicts.

Plus, if you plan on a partnership of any kind, you can connect with that business or group and iron out the details. This is also a time to build and develop a plan of attack for the holiday schedule.

What days will you want to hit hard for creating excitement? What are the goals of your different promotions; are they to bring people into the store or direct them to your e-commerce website?

Once you establish dates and times, pull together your collateral like images and possible responses for problems that customers might experience. Take a step back once you have your game plan too. Don’t flood customers with holiday promotions and sales; give them a breather with other content or materials.

Tip #2: Think like the customer

Speaking of the customer, step into their shoes or devote someone on your team to think like the customer. Be a resource for them on all things holiday; offer advice for gift finding for other people, hosting a dinner party, handling stress or whatever your customer might find interesting. Link to longer blog posts or helpful videos for this content.

Take the time to share a story about yourself or your business during the holidays. It can be a funny one where the stockroom was piled high with leftover stocking stuffers until February or an anecdote about each of your employees. By introducing content like this into a customer’s news feed during the holidays, you’re more likely to stick out from the sea of competition.

Post your hours frequently when hot shopping days approach. Let them know which promotions are running on each day or when a discount is being offered. For customers enrolled in your loyalty program, offer a sneak peek of what’s to come for seasonal products or doorbusters.

Tip #3: Monitor, monitor, monitor

Sure, there are parts of social media management that are now automated, but not everything can be handled by a robot. The months leading up to the end-of-the-year rush are a good time to practice responding quickly to customer comments and messages. Have a rotation schedule in place so that more than one person can handle your social pages.

Discuss how a problem can be resolved or what types of responses  are acceptable in everyone’s opinion. You can’t plan for every type of question, but with some practice under your belt will help the whole team in the long run.

Plus, if everyone knows how to handle your social pages, then it won’t be a problem if someone calls in sick or can’t cover it for the day.

Tip #4: Get the back of the house organized

Just like your stockroom should be organized and neat prior to the sales rush, your social media channels should be too.

  • Is the imagery and information up to date on all of your social media pages?
  • Has your contact information changed?
  • Is the information correct on your Google My Business section?

These are questions you and your team need to ask before the holiday rush kicks off.

The back of the house also includes components of posts like links for re-targeting or email follow-ups on abandoned carts. Build a plan for when emails should be sent out or assemble a strategy for backlinking in blog posts.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to social media.

Tip #5: Don’t forget the data

Once the dust settles after New Year’s, you should ask yourself which parts of your promotions were successful, and which areas failed.

Social posts have lots of data tied to them and most of this information is captured and stored in your accounts. As long as you remember to turn on data recording for posts, you can go back and review how well your posts performed.

Tracking and reviewing posts for popularity, the number of comments and likes, and shares can help you formulate a plan for next year. You can mix and match which parts of the promotions you want to use again, like your paid ads, or which sections could use improvements, for instance, the hashtag you created.

By knowing how well your posts performed, you can establish an ever-better campaign for the following year.

The holidays are a busy time, but with a little bit of preparation, you can easily sail through social media management.

This guest blog article was written by Amanda Peterson, who is a software engineer and contributor to Enlightened Digital. Located in New York City, she enjoys visiting record stores and Netflix binging with her puggle, Hendrix.