Social media – the gift that every business has on their christmas list

By Daniel Bailey, Digital Account Lead

You can’t argue with Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, Marks & Spencer’s executive director of marketing and international, who said: “This Christmas will be the biggest online Christmas ever in the UK and the most social Christmas, fuelled by an unprecedented surge in the use of mobile phones and tablet computers.” – Naturally this means that the world and his wife want a piece of the social media mince pie…

Obviously not everyone is as prepared as the likes of Marks & Spencer or John Lewis when it comes to using fairies and penguins to create an online buzz. This is why I thought I’d run through a few basic things that you should add to your to do list that will help you increase your web traffic and sales during the build-up to the “most social Christmas ever”.

First off, work out exactly what you’re trying to achieve with your social media campaign. Think about who you want to target and what the best social channels are for that job. You’re probably thinking that Twitter and Facebook will do, but have you thought about Instagram? Or LinkedIn? What about Pinterest? You need to consider all of your options when putting your plan together. Just make sure you’re not spreading yourself too thin before implementing your social media campaign; you want to make sure you’re producing quality content that your audience will enjoy.

Once you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on your plan, I’d recommend that you set your channels up in a social media-monitoring dashboard. Get to grips with third-party platforms such as Hootsuite or Sendible as these tools offer a great way for you to aggregate all of your social channels in one place. Not only does this allow you to monitor each of your social feeds, it also lets you engage with your audience – making it easier to follow any conversations between you and your customers. Another very useful tool that these platforms offer is the ability to build reports and analyse the effectiveness of your social media campaign, so you can see what’s working and what isn’t as Christmas approaches.

Now that your social channels are all set up in your dashboard, it’s time to get the content right. When you’re interacting with your audience, content is king. How else are you going to encourage engagement? Post photos, videos, interesting articles, run competitions using a festive hashtag, the list of possibilities is endless… Just have fun with it, build trust, enjoy yourself, and give your feeds some personality (just make sure you’re working towards the goals you set in your original social media plan). After all, ‘tis the season of giving – so give your audience a good reason to interact with you and try to avoid shouting about your products or services too much.

In order to get the most out of your content, you need to consider when you’re planning on posting it to your social channels. This is vital if you want your campaign to be a success because no one wants their content to fall flat. A quick Google search will uncover a mountain of recommendations that will help to give you a better idea of when to post to each social site. By all means, test-drive and experiment with these recommendations and use them as a starting point. However, it’s never going to be an exact science.

It’s never too late, there’s still time to get festive with your social media channels; just stick to your checklist and you’ll be on right path to a very merry (and social) Christmas! If you’re looking for even more ways to harness the power of social media in a bid to drive sales this Christmas, then you might want to check out our white paper.