For some merchants, the holidays can represent as much as 20-40% of annual sales. About half of these sales take place online, with roughly 47% of shoppers making purchases through their PCs or laptops during the holiday season. Social media, in particular, is highly influencing the way people purchase gifts. Is your web store prepared to capitalize on holiday shopping this year? In this post, partner Give.it covers some useful tips to help you boost your marketing efforts with social media during the gifting season.
1. Benefit from social commerce by making gifting easy and engaging
In the past, we would normally visit a brick-and-mortar store around the corner to purchase a gift for a friend and then bring it to their Christmas party ourselves. Nowadays, our friends and family are spread all over the globe, and we’re most likely browsing for gifts on our tablets and smartphones. But the truth is, online gift purchases are not always straightforward. Most of the time we don’t even know the recipient’s exact clothing size, product preferences and mailing address. Capitalize on gift sales this holiday season by making gifting easy and engaging for your customers. You can do this in several ways. Give.it’s SEOshop app, for example, offers an interesting alternative.
How can I leverage the Give.it button?
Give.it provides you with an embeddable button and social gifting widget upon installation. Once shoppers see something they want to purchase as a gift, they simply need to click on the button to select a gift recipient from their social media channels. The gift recipient is notified through Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or email and can fill in his or her address details, making the giving experience fun and effortless for your customers. And that’s not all, your products will also get social media exposure along the way, inviting other possible shoppers to visit your store.
Besides deploying it for all the products on your shop, you can leverage the Give.it button in multiple other ways. For instance, you can create a landing page on your site with the best holiday gifts from your shop’s offering. Use social media, email and other channels to garner attention for your landing page. If you’re also running banner ads for specific products, you can embed the button on the ad for people to purchase your product as a gift.
2. Run holiday-themed contests and promotions on social media
Nearly 36% percent of respondents in a recent survey by the United States’ National Retail Foundation said the most important factor in deciding where to shop during the holidays are offers for sales and discounts. And that’s hardly surprising - shoppers are always on the look out for bargains. If you’ve got a small budget to spend, you might want to consider running a promotion on social media. This will not only quench your customer’s thirst for good deals, it will also increase your chances of going viral. The key is to make your promotion enticing enough for your customers to share. Video can play a big role in this, as evinced by Econsultancy’s “10 best social media campaigns from 2012.”
Which apps can I use to set up a social promotion?
- Snapapp is an affordable alternative that lets you run sweepstakes, coupon-based promotions and contests on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.
- While their pricing is slightly less appealing for small businesses, Wildfire by Google enables you to run and measure social promotions across social channels.
- Promojam also offers you the possibility to run contests and promotions on all major social networks at affordable rates.
- Pitch’d is another cool tool that lets you run Vine app and Instagram-based campaigns at acceptable fees.
3. Develop a clever and ROI-driven social media marketing strategy
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times before, but having a clear and effective social media strategy is an absolute must leading up to the holidays. Up to 67% of shoppers purchase gifts that they found on social networks, and nearly 65% of them use social media to find the perfect gift for their friends. The key is to focus on making your products discoverable and entice buying behavior.
How do you drive sales with social media?
There are a number of things you can do to promote purchasing behavior on social media, aside from running a few ad campaigns that is. Psychologist Paul Marsden and consultant Paul Chaney’s The Social Commerce Handbook offer some interesting ideas. Drawing on case studies from companies like Etsy, Hallmark, and Starbucks, the book distills key social and psychological attributes to help brands gain ROI from social channels. These are some of their main pointers, as Cooler Insights reviews:
- Involve your customers: let your customers act as advisors and contributors by offering them an active role in your social media activities. Topshop’s recent Pinterest campaign offers a great example. The campaign leverages Pinterest as a searchable gift guide, offering customers an opportunity to create and submit inspirational boards for the Holiday season.
- Sell with Scarcity: It’s a known fact, create urgency and exclusivity and people will be driven to purchase. Offer exclusive deals, limited editions, limited time offers and limited access to your social media following.
- Social Validation: Capitalize on social proof. Ask your customers to leave reviews for your store on Facebook and encourage them to share their purchases on social media by offering incentives.
- Interest Pays: Use social media to study your customer’s preferences and interests and find a way to tap into them. Solutions like the ones offered by PeopleBrowsr can be really helpful for this purpose.
- Sell to Niche Markets: As with most online stores, you probably cater to a specific niche. Cultivate that niche and build loyalty among your most active fans to garner word of mouth.
What happens after the holidays?
As you probably already know, boosting sales with social media is an ongoing process. Make sure you use the data you collect during the holidays to re-engage your customers after the giving season and during next year’s winter months. Find out which products and deals drive purchasing behavior and which content they share the most.
How are you planning to use social media this holiday season? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments!
Thijs Muller is commercially responsible for Give.it and advises organisations in the area of Internet strategy and e-commerce. Before he joined Give.it, he was the executive of an Internet agency and he was involved in some Internet start-ups in both the Netherlands and the United States.