A very festive Facebook: 13 tips for a holly jolly marketing campaign

We get that you’re already busy gearing up personally and professionally for the holidays. Yes, we understand you may be hesitant to add one more item to do your holiday wish list.

Still, if you haven’t spent some time in the workshop hammering out a basic plan for your Facebook marketing campaign this season, you’re missing out on an impactful, low-cost and relatively easy way of engaging with your valuable customers.

That’s because consumers considerably ramp up their Facebook activity between early October and Christmas Eve, says Facebook IQ, which reports 49 percent of consumers consider Facebook influential to their holiday shopping. While Facebooking is most broadly used by businesses as a brand awareness tool, during the holidays you may wish to slant your posts toward inspiring viewers to check out your website and brick-and-mortar(s) for gift ideas.

The world’s No. 1 most popular social media site offers myriad ways of segmenting audiences if you wish to invest in paid ads and post promotions that can extend your reach. And copious software can automate and track your Facebook campaigns. But many small business owners also obtain good results simply by setting up their own schedules and posting manually.

What are some guidelines? In general, marketing analysts recommend posting on Facebook three to five times weekly, though daily posts aren’t at all uncommon during the holidays. In addition, there’s an entire science dedicated to choosing optimal times to post.

You may wish to follow the “Rule of Thirds,” dictating that a third of your posts build your brand through personal posts and interactions, a third promote your business itself and a third provide visitors “news they can use” related to your products and/or industry. Other tips: Include compelling visuals, cross-market your social media with your email and website presences and regularly monitor your posts so you can respond quickly to posts (both positive and negative).

When creating your content itself, here are suggestions for holiday messages that may resonate with your Facebook followers this year.

  • Consider specific holiday themes. You may wish to observe Movember (all of November); Thanksgiving (Nov. 24); Black Friday (Nov. 25); Small Business Saturday (Nov. 26); Cyber Monday (Nov. 28); Giving Tuesday (Nov. 29); Green Monday (Dec. 12); Free Shipping Day (Dec. 18); December solstice (Dec. 21); Hanukkah (Dec. 24 through Jan. 1); Boxing Day (Dec. 26); Kwanzaa (Dec. 26 through Jan. 1); Christmas Eve and Day and/or New Year’s Eve and Day. The 12 days of Christmas can be another fun theme.
  • Grab attention. Make your Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Super Saturday offers enticing enough to grab attention over the year’s biggest shopping days.
  • Publicize your philanthropy. Briefly and humbly note your support of worthy causes and events to give your brand a personality transcending commercial goals.
  • Suggest optimal gift ideas based on what you know of your audiences. Consider categorizing suggestions by budget and/or by recipients’ ages, genders, personalities, hobbies, occupations, etc. And don’t forget to promote your gift cards.
  • Optimize emotionally charged messaging when called for (probably Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, at minimum).
  • Devise exclusive promotions, sales, discounts, coupons, contests, drawings, deals of the day, giveaways and/or free samples aimed at generating excitement about your offerings.
  • Share holiday tips or advice relevant to your brand; think in terms of helping your followers solve a problem or improve their quality of life in some way.
  • Create a sense of urgency with countdowns to the holidays, reminders of shipping deadlines, limited quantities, last-minute gift ideas, etc.
  • Remind readers of your competitive differentiators. Are you superior in price? Quality? Convenience? Experience? Service? Selection? Uniqueness?
  • Update followers on the successes and challenges of your business over the past year.
  • Create and post engaging videos with holiday themes.
  • Share heartwarming stories about customers or employees.
  • For New Year’s messaging, focus on fresh starts and the setting of new goals.

Need more suggestions for your holiday marketing campaigns? Consider visiting Vertical Response's Everything Holiday site for a slew of other free resources and advice.