We are continuing our holiday series today. You don’t have to be a retailer to take advantage of the holiday season. No matter your business you can have great success this time of year. Last week we talked about getting ready and this week we are going to discuss contests and promotions.
Know Your Goal
What are you wanting to happen? Are you trying to drive sales? Are you trying to get emails? Are you trying to create brand awareness? Are you hoping to grow your followers? You need an overall objective for your promotion. If I’m trying to collect email addresses but I don’t have a link anywhere that pushes people to my website so they can enter their email, it’s not going to be very successful. Make sure the promo lines up with your objective.
Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday are all right around the corner. Know which holiday is the best fit for your clients and be ready for it. If you are a retailer that sells pecans, Thanksgiving is going to be huge for you. If you’re selling toys, Christmas will be your time to shine. Know your season and plan accordingly. It’s ok to have multiple promotions. Just space them out.
Speaking of Giving Tuesday, Facebook is matching up to 8 million dollars worth of donations and it doesn’t cost you a thing. Pick your favorite nonprofit and promote them for Giving Tuesday!
Make Sure You’re Providing What the Client Wants
The best way to find out what your clients want is to ask them. Take a survey. Make a post. Find out what your clients want and what’s important to them. You might be surprised. Social media is a content-driven medium. Don’t be so sales-focused that you drive your audience away.
Select the Right Platform
It’s probably Facebook. It may have lots of problems but it also has lots of traffic, it drives lots of traffic, and you can control your contests and promos from Facebook to Instagram. If you want to use a different platform that’s great, just make sure you’re using the best platform to reach your audience. 80% of the time or more, I’d say it’s going to be Facebook or Instagram.
Use Good Graphics or Video
Video sells. People will engage with a video 10 times more with a graphic. They will engage with a live video 4 times more than with a regular video. If you’re going to use a graphic that is fine but it needs to be great.
Make Sure Your Giveaway Makes Sense
We are a social media company. Would it make sense for us to give away sneakers? Nope. A lamp? Nope. It has to make sense for your company. Social media managers are generally well caffeinated so maybe a Starbucks gift card would work. Also, anything digital would work such as an Apple gift card or apps. Things we use regularly such as ring lights or tripods would also make sense. If you sell ice cream, giving away free ice cream cones or a set of bowls makes sense. Giving away an iPad does not.
Don’t get hung up on the size of the prize either. It doesn’t have to be a $250 item to get people’s attention. Many times people think they have no chance of winning a larger item and are actually more likely to enter when the prize is smaller. If you own a restaurant, a free entree is a great prize.
Pick a Theme
Pick a theme for your contest and then use that to promote the rest of the season and sales. This goes back to planning. So how do you do this? Let’s go back to our ice cream example. Let’s say you are doing a hot and cold contest theme where maybe the prize is a cup of hot chocolate and an ice cream cone. Maybe you keep working in that theme with more hot and cold like mug cakes topped with ice cream.
Find a partner and take advantage of sharing power. If you and a complementary retailer or service provider can partner up and either offer a giveaway together or cross-promote items for each other this will help you both reach a broader audience and gain more sales. If you sell handmade mugs and another company sells hot chocolate bombs this would be a great example of a partnership waiting to happen. You can each share the other on your social media and it is mutually beneficial.
A Few Don’ts
Don’t start too soon.
Don’t overdo your emails to promote your promotions.
Don’t overcomplicate it. If it’s more than one or two steps, most people won’t do it.
Make sure you’re following the rules set out on your platform. For example, you can’t ask people to share or tag on Facebook. Yes, other people do it. Just because they’re not getting caught doesn’t mean you won’t. They can shut down and even delete your page which would be one of the worst things possible for your business, especially during the holidays. They have several rules. Make sure you follow them all.
Remember, you don’t have to be a retailer for these strategies to work for you. We hope you have a great holiday promo!