With the arrival of the holiday season comes the time for elaborate feasts, Christmas-themed carols, and of course, shopping for the perfect gifts. ’Tis the season for giving, after all, which also means that it’s high time for marketers and businesses to step up their social media campaigns and customer service efforts.
Are you ready for this high season of gift giving frenzy? More than that, you must be doubly sure that you don’t fall into the trap of doing what not to do when dealing with customers on social media.
To avoid the pitfalls of inadequate preparation and less-than-stellar customer service outcomes, take a look at this compilation of tips to give you a headstart for the holiday season.
Questions to Ask
Start by asking the right questions geared toward online customers.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), online shopping is expected to rise this year. In the US alone, one out of five will be using their mobile gadget to make a purchase for the holidays—the highest increase since the NRF conducted the survey in 2011.
This gives you all the more reason to put more weight in ensuring that your e-commerce sites are user-friendly and that your customer’s overall web experience with your brand is nothing less than amazing.
Here are some of the questions to ask, and of course, resolve, to help you achieve that goal.
1. What is your overall social media strategy for the holiday season?
2. Do your social media platforms support that strategy? In what ways?
3. What is your team doing to drive holiday traffic to your websites and social media platforms?
4. What service metrics are in place specifically for your front liners and social media managers handling your online platforms?
5. Have you provided adequate training for your front liners to enable them to handle an onslaught of holiday traffic properly?
6. What are you service expectations, and are they clearly stated on your online channels?
7. What steps are you taking to ensure a seamless multi-channels customer contact experience for your clients?
8. Are all your customer-facing channels ready for an increase in holiday traffic volume, orders purchases, as well as inquiries?
Ideally, your social media engagement strategy should have been planned and ready for implementation by the time the holiday season rolls in.
Some organizations have begun sending out holiday “feelers” as early as October, but if you’re just starting out, it’s not too late.
Here are a few best practices you can begin implementing in time for when Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year come around.
1. Create a gift guide.
Creating valuable online content all year round is a must, but it becomes doubly important during the holiday season.
Don’t just give a rundown of your products and services, rather make an effort to help your clients gift better. You can do this by making it easier for customers to buy the perfect gift for their loved ones through wish lists, or by making the process simpler and less time-consuming. Finding gifts can be stressful, especially for busy clients who don’t have enough time to shop.
One way to do this is by setting up a Pinterest page of your brand’s gift guides, just like what J. Crew did during the holiday season. Not only will this boost your image, but it will increase the chances of closing a sale too.
Use other social media platforms like creating a hashtag for Twitter and Instagram, making a series of posts on gift guides targeted for specific people, and other how-to guides that will make it easier for clients to shop and make gift giving a breeze.
2. Help spread the holiday spirit.
Nobody likes a Grinch or a Scrooge, right? So, make sure your online presence reflects all the good holiday cheer that lifts everyone’s mood and makes the season memorable.
Behind the scenes, it can be a stressful time for everyone, but making the right preparations and creating a long-term campaign will make it easier for you.
You can turn it into an ongoing campaign that people will look forward to, almost like a ritual that people will come to expect, like putting up a Christmas tree at the first week of December and putting mistletoes on doorsteps.
A great example is WestJet’s Christmas Miracle that they started just a few years ago. It went viral for a long time and was repeated the following year—with significant results. It touched so many people that everyone has come to expect how else they could top this campaign every Christmas season.
3. Make the most of your social media management apps to inform your marketing strategy.
Invest in one or a few good social media management apps that will help you target the right audience and respond to their needs.
Maximize the data analytics you’ve mined through systems like Hootsuite to help you gain insight into audience preferences by taking a deeper dive into their online behavior. Take a look at how they interact with your online platforms, and use these tools to create campaigns and holiday messages that will resonate and truly make an impact.
4. Update and improve your online space to enhance user experience.
While it’s a great time to boost your online presence by grabbing the attention of new and old customers alike, use this time to upgrade your website design with the sole purpose of enhancing the user experience.
As soon as customers see your landing page, encourage feelings of good cheer, as well as create a simpler, user-friendly design that’s intuitive and easy to use.
5. Get in touch with your customers.
Aside from launching Christmas-themed campaigns, holiday discounts, and contests for clients, use this time to initiate discussions with your followers.
Your social media platforms are perfect for this. On Instagram, post an image of one of your holiday-themed products and solicit feedback on how they can use it or to whom they might consider giving it.
Create a hashtag to initiate conversations around your brand and find ideas for any holiday-related activities or tips.
Another way to humanize your brand is by thanking your customers by sending hand-written cards or small tokens of appreciation for their loyalty. You can even leverage on social media by sending short YouTube videos via email to some of your long-time clients. It’s a simple gesture that will keep up client engagement and encourage brand advocates.
Once you’ve taken the time to ask the right questions and found the correct answers and solutions to address your issues, you’re well on your way to having a smooth-sailing, truly festive holiday season for both businesses and clients alike.
Preparation is half the battle won, and making the necessary adjustments to engage truly your online customers will ensure that you’ll be facing the new year with new brand advocates and even more loyal customers for years to come.