8 Social Media Tips to Prep for 2015 Holiday Shopping Season


by Angie Pascale

Marketers preparing for the upcoming holiday shopping season can use these strategies for social media to effectively increase sales, drive traffic, and spread brand awareness.

It’s never too early to build your strategy and start planning for the increased interest, activity, and sales online. As most people prepare for relaxing beach vacations and sunny park picnics, e-commerce brands spend summertime preparing for the online holiday shopping season that occurs in November and December.

Leveraging social media channels leading up to and during the holidays can help to boost awareness, drive traffic, and increase sales. Here are eight tips for preparing your site and social media networks.

1. Make Social Sharing Easy

Make it simple and easy for users to share products via well-placed and optimized social sharing buttons. That way, when users add products to a wish list, they can quickly share to social networks, and tag their friends or family members for gift ideas.

Amazon does an excellent job of incorporating social sharing into its wish list and shopping cart process.


2. Add Reviews to Product Pages

Consumers are faced with innumerable product options online and nearly as many retailers selling those products. Product reviews and how you respond to them can help you stand out. Having reviews on your site lends credibility to your marketing messages and helps customers validate their purchase decisions. In fact, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. But it’s not only having the reviews on the site – your approach in responding to them really has an impact purchase decisions. According to BazaarVoice, 71 percent of consumers change their perception of a brand after seeing how they respond to reviews.

ModCloth takes this approach on its reviews, responding to negative comments with a genuine and actionable message.


3. Remember, It’s All About The Mobile Experience

Last year, 45 percent of holiday traffic came from mobile devices. Not all of that traffic originated on social channels, but it’s important to consider how your social media content appears on mobile devices, especially when driving traffic back to your site from social channels. If a user clicks on a link to a product from the Facebook app, will that product page be optimized for mobile? Are you using the right messaging and imagery for mobile formats?

4. Retarget Browsing Customers on Facebook & Twitter

Consumers start researching gift purchases months in advance. To remain top of mind and bring these users back to your site when they are ready to buy, you should run retargeting campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. You can work with a display publisher to leverage their retargeting offering, or use the retargeting tags from Facebook and Twitter to create and manage your own campaigns.

5. Create Gift Guide & Other Valuable Content

Creating holiday-specific content is a great way to increase engagement and drive traffic from social channels. One way to do this is by creating gift guides. Focus the guides on particular audiences with categories like Gifts for Dad, Gifts for Kids, or Gifts for Sports Fans. Or concentrate on specific product attributes – for example, Gifts Under $20, Home Decor Gifts, or Golf Accessories Gifts.

ThinkGeek‘s curated Gift Guide by audience type is available all year, but is especially relevant during the holiday shopping season.


6. Prioritize Pinterest

More so than any of the other major social media networks, Pinterest is about shopping. That makes it the perfect place for you to promote products during the holidays. Using the gift guides mentioned above, create boards for various gift or audience categories.

Adding Pin It buttons to product pages on your website allows users to easily pin items to their own boards. You can also implement Rich Pins, which will automatically add important information such as price, availability, and product description. Another benefit of Rich Pins is that they make your product eligible to be listed in Pinterest’s Gifts category feed; if a user pins a product and the price drops by $10, Pinterest sends that user an email.


7. Create a Response Plan and Staff Up

Social media can help get the word out about your business and products, and any deals or promotions you are offering. But there are other reasons to use social media, too. Customers take to social to get answers and file complaints. You need to be active in social media to provide this customer support and turn browsers into buyers.

When planning resources required to manage social media, consider the increased questions and conversations that will occur during this time. This will ensure that your team can provide highly responsive and helpful customer support leading up to, during, and after the holiday season.

8. Integrate with Other Digital Marketing

Customers don’t distinguish your Facebook posts from your email messages, your brick-and-mortar store, your website, or any other channels or environments. To them, it’s all one brand. But to you, it’s likely several different departments or teams – sometimes even in different offices. Regardless of the differing channels, tactics, and even locations, all marketing efforts need to align and integrate to create seamless experience for customers. Work from a holistic digital strategy to integrate social media into email campaigns, your website, and your offline retail environment.

The online holiday shopping season can be a stressful time for e-commerce brands, but getting started now by planning your social media approach will help to make November and December less taxing and more profitable for your brand.