Retailers spend months developing smart, effective strategies across their in-store, Web and mobile channels each holiday season. But social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can be just as powerful in getting the message out to shoppers in the days leading up to Christmas.
“As always, it’s going to be a value-driven Christmas, and people will be compelled by offers such as free shipping and rewards,” e-tailing group president Lauren Freedman said. “Whether you encourage consumers to ‘Like’ a brand for a discount code or use it as a way to get information out to target audiences in a timely manner, there are easy ways to boost social engagement and influence sales along the way.”
Keeping channels consistent is key, so the first step is to integrate a streamlined seasonal aesthetic. Retailers can dress up social media sites similar to how they would add pictures of gifts or snowflakes to an email marketing initiative or website. For example, consider switching the company’s usual profile picture on Facebook and Twitter with one that better represents the holiday season — the same goes for picking a fun, vibrant and seasonal Twitter background image.
“Merchants have to be consistent and since they are typically under-resourced, it’s strategic to take what you’re doing in mobile and on a website and somehow incorporate it on your social media channels,” Freedman said.
Not only is this important for visual themes, but integrating features across various channels is also effective. For example, apparel retailers Armani Exchange and Jessica Simpson have rolled out their Twitter newsfeed to their websites, allowing online shoppers to see in real time how people are tweeting about the brand.
Social media can also be integrated into other channels by encouraging Foursquare users to check into their store location and holding Twitter contests — for example, the first 20 people to retweet a message from the brand wins a prize.
“As long as there is a discount or an offer such as free shipping, consumers will do what they can to get it,” said Ken Burke, founder of online solutions provider MarketLive. “Retailers can also create a sense of urgency by offering