Engagement Is The Key To Holiday Magic

Ivie Ndep Ivie Ndep, Contributor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well for me anyway……The festive season is here once again!

This is one of the best times to connect with your customers and spread some holiday cheer. Brands and small businesses need to reach and genuinely engage with their customers to get them to spend more. How can brands stay engaged and connect this holiday season? With a sprinkle of magic that this time of year brings, retailers, small businesses, and brands have the ability to stand out amidst all the noise.

Here are some ideas to integrate into your holiday marketing campaign:

 Be Social

 Instagram is a great platform for engagement; Instagram Stories is a great way to grab consumer attention quickly and create brand awareness, which is key for small business owners and big brands alike. Takeovers on Instagram Story have become popular and are a great way to engage with consumers. A member of your staff could showcase offerings for holiday shoppers, or you can use social influencers here to reach millennials who are tired of traditional ads. Create an event and go live to do random giveaways, play games and offer prizes or have a Q/A session. Creating Holiday related hashtags encourage customers to share images of your product – and be sure to comment when they do.

Using Instagram Stories as a means of creating buzz and fomo will help you boost engagement and connect with your audience using Instagram.

 Facebook is great for audience targeting and location-based marketing. It also provides opportunities to target by age, gender and even interests, effectively ensuring you can set up ad campaigns to reach only the people who fit the criteria for your brand or small business. The platform, however, has become quite saturated over the years so these holiday season businesses are moving to other platforms, which is why it’s important to prioritize your social channels. Choose a few social networks that are the best fit for your customers and holiday shoppers.

Pinterest is where we all go for inspiration; for recipes, fashion, décor and the likes. It’s also the go-to place for people looking for gift ideas. The platform recently introduced shoppable pins which links directly to the retailers’ pages. Yes, it’s always been the underdog among social channels and yes, it’s still playing catch-up, but it’s an especially great platform for creating holiday gift guides, particularly for small businesses. Take advantage of it, create boards and give your followers inspiration!

Bring on The Holiday Cheer with Video Content

 People love to watch Christmas advertisements and the holiday is a special time to spread love and happiness through video. Video is the one of the most compelling ways to tell a story. It makes it easy for people to imagine your concepts and transport their consciousness to magical places. Video connects with consumers on an emotional basis, by putting smiles on their faces and tugging on their heartstrings with the possibilities of what could be. Try it with the right content and watch consumer engagement soar!

Captivating Email Marketing

Consumers are bombarded with thousands of emails all the way from Thanksgiving up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. That can get exhausting and really clutter up inboxes. Don’t be the regular brand that just sends out salesy content to further overwhelm them. Why don’t you try creating personalized emails that speak to customers, maybe run a customer appreciation campaign, or even reward your loyal customers with e-gift cards, discounts, coupon codes or free shipping? So many ways to captivate using email marketing.

Our friends at Mailchimp are giving small businesses tips for shopping success this holiday season. They offer step-by-step recipes that will aid in growing your businesses for many holiday seasons to come.

Uncover Conversations with Social Listening

Social listening can help uncover conversations, discover top trends and key topics during the holiday season and capitalize on them to keep the conversation going with consumers. During the holiday season, it’s more important than ever for you to meet your audience where they live and play online.  Use social listening and real-time engagement to stay connected to your audience in the moments that matter most.

The John Lewis and Partners marketing campaign is one of the most anticipated Christmas advertisements during the festive season and creates a lot of buzz every year. The twitter handle for John Lewis retailer is @jlandpartners. Somehow though, most of the complaints, comments, compliments and customer service queries for the retail giant are mistakenly sent to the twitter handle @JohnLewis. This twitter handle belongs to a regular guy called, you guessed it, John Lewis! John is a good sport about it and responds to as many as he can with humour. Recently, TwitterUK capitalized on the conversation and created the campaign #notaretailstore.

It’s a short Christmas clip featuring john Lewis in his Virginia home responding to tweets meant for the retail giant that came to his handle. The video as of November 20th already had over 398k views. TwitterUK turned an ongoing conversation to a marketing opportunity and did great at it!

In Conclusion

The holiday shopping season is in many ways the north star guiding retailers to success. Shoppers are not hibernating, yet thriving during this moment. According to a holiday stat shared by Mailchimp, consumers visit retailers 30% more from Black Friday through Christmas, when being compared to the rest of the year.

This is all the more reason to be engaged and connected before, during, and after the holiday season. By incorporating the tips above into your marketing tactics, this holiday season can be your best.