The holiday season is upon us, bringing with it food, family, and holiday shopping. These final months of the year are when many companies make the majority of their profits, and the time of year when people are more willing to open their wallets for purchasing gifts and donating to charity. The National Retail Federation is expecting 2012 holiday sales to rise 4.1% over last year’s sales, and the total holiday haul is expected to reach $586.1 billion. Recognizing the growing importance of online marketing during the holidays, more than 20% of retailers in the U.S. are set to significantly increase their spending in either mobile, social or email marketing channels this year.

According to a recent retail survey conducted by Retail Systems Research, 43% of retailers reported that they will either significantly (21%) or slightly (22%) increase their holiday online marketing budget from 2011, which shows just how important holiday marketing has become. Social media has become an integral part of the holiday season, and it’s important for online marketers to incorporate the holidays into their social media strategy.

Here are a few tips for optimizing your social media marketing strategy during the holidays:

  1. If you plan on doing any traditional marketing or advertising, it’s important you cross promote with your social media marketing. If your company has printed advertising materials (brochures, fliers, newspaper ads, etc.), be sure to include your social media profile addresses (or QR codes).
  2. Design a seasonal branded image or logo for your company and make it your default image on all of your social networks and company sites.
  3. Offer advice on various holiday challenges and spread this content across your different social networks. It is important that you post useful content on your social profiles this time of year, rather than solely promoting your products or services. People are stressed and pressed for time during the holidays, therefore it’s a good time to be as helpful as possible with posts. Posting daily gift ideas is a great way to do this and simultaneously promote your products.
  4. Build a Facebook micro-site to house a hyper-focused campaign or act as a hub for tying together all of your social and overall marketing efforts during the holidays.
  5. Get people talking! The holiday season oftentimes encourages people to go out of their way to be friendly and engage with strangers. Therefore, it is wise to capitalize on this by asking fans about their favorite Thanksgiving side dish, the best gift they got for Christmas as a kid, etc. Many people are eager to talk about their holiday customs, so these topics should be worked into your content for the coming months.

Regardless of which methods you employ, don’t miss the chance to use the holidays as a way of connecting with your social media followers.

 

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