4 Questions Marketers Must Answer To Extend Holiday Sales Success
Columnist John Donnelly III discusses how brands can use social media insights from the busy holiday shopping season to help guide their marketing strategy for the upcoming year and beyond.
With just a few weeks of holiday shopping left, brands have already seen massive sales both on- and offline. According to the National Retail Federation, sales are expected to rise nearly four percent from last year’s totals. The growth isn’t startling, but it’s a significant uptick for a number of businesses. And it’s not just about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, either.
However, brands can use social media data and insights from those days to learn lessons that apply throughout the year. Analyzing the way target audiences and customers discuss and react to their favorite brands and products on heavy shopping days can inform strategies that drive sales even after the holidays end.
Here are four questions that marketers need to answer to make a successful holiday season the beginning of a successful sales campaign:
1. Who Influences My Audience?
When people think about social media influencers and brand advocates, they tend to think of celebrities. There’s truth to this, of course, but there are other significant influencers on social networks.
On Cyber Monday, for example, a handful of influential mommy bloggers and coupon clippers hosted a Twitter party, sharing the #MacysCM hashtag. Based on our analysis of unique tweets, Macys was one of the most-mentioned brands that day.
Targeting engaged, prominent users who mention a brand can be as effective as any celebrity endorsement.
2. What Will Grab My Audience’s Attention?
Perks. Giveaways and discounts are always going to attract shoppers’ eyes. Many of the most popular posts from Black Friday had to do with giveaways, contests and special offers.
Away from the holidays, when the pressure to buy is usually a bit lower, this is an effective way to draw attention on social media. Simple “RT for a chance to win” tweets can attract followers and spread the word about your brand.
But don’t limit your brand’s activity to the socialverse. Use in-store locations, such as dressing room mirrors or the checkout counter, to let customers know about social promotions and inspire them to post on the spot.
3. How Do I Segment My Audiences?
While the audiences tweeting about Black Friday and Cyber Monday have a lot in common, there are some distinct differences between these groups. Compared to people talking about Cyber Monday, those tweeting about Black Friday tend to be more interested in fashion, health and beauty.
The Cyber Monday audience, on the other hand, is more likely to be interested in parenting, blogging and celebrities. Further, 52 percent of Black Friday tweets were crafted by men, while Cyber Monday conversation skewed toward a female audience.
Social media data helps brands segment audiences and calls to action to target specific shoppers with content and timing most likely to serve their needs.
4. What Other Platforms Should I Use To Support My Campaigns?
Tumblr has emerged as a strong and influential platform to reach a number of audiences. Between Nov. 23 and 30, according to our data, there were nearly 860,000 posts on the platform mentioning Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The most frequently used tags discussed shopping, sales and fashion, indicating that Tumblr users, who skew younger, are using the platform to talk about the holiday shopping experience. It’s a vocal audience, heavy on sharing visual content and unafraid to share their feelings on different brands and styles.
Brands can use bold, aggressive social content on Tumblr to stand out. During the holidays, the conversation may perk up a bit among consumers.
However, leveraging these tones and strategies year ’round will keep the audience engaged all 12 months.
It’s inevitable that holiday shopping will result in the busiest months for most companies selling directly to their customers. Our recent report (registration required) reveals that social conversations about holiday shopping usually increase in the week leading up to and during Christmas.
The holiday shopping season offers brands an opportunity to connect with consumers and adapt their holiday marketing strategies to increase sales by delivering what customers want.