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Christmas is a little less than two months away. Are you ready? In our “Preparing for profitable holiday sales” series, we started with Summer Sales, looked at Catching the Early Birds, Supporting Mobile Shopping, and How to Prepare for Xmas 2014 with Sage Pay.

Now we’ll look at 4 ways social media can influence the success of your holiday sales:
1. Social Shopping
2. Twitter advertising
3. Facebook contests
4. YouTube

In a recent MarketLive survey of 1,000 e-commerce shoppers that spend at least $250 annually, 30% made a purchase after engaging with a social networking site. Hot buttons that triggered those purchases were:

  • Exclusive discounts only for followers
  • Access to exclusive products, only for followers
  • Daily deals
  • A friend “Liked” a product
  • A product received numerous “Likes”
  • Free shipping and discount codes promoted on social sites
1. Social Shopping Grows in Popularity

Along with starting or increasing promotions on social media sites, which will be covered in a bit, social networks specifically for shopping are gaining ground.

Wanelo (which combines Want Need Love) calls itself the “mall on your phone, curated by people.” That’s millions of people posting thousands of pictures daily to the site. Members can search and find products, see how much it’s “loved,” and click the link to the e-retailer web page to buy.

Wanelo hosts over 350,000 stores, from major brands like Nordstrom, Topshop, Selfridges, and John Lewis, to small shops and boutiques on Etsy and eBay with a few thousand followers.

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As seen in this example of Brightpearl customer, Butterfly Twists and their Olivia Black shoes, if you find that your products have been posted to Wanelo by either a consumer or retail partner, you can claim those postings, create a store and begin communicating with your followers (after review and approval from Wanelo).

A new feature allows retailers to directly import the product feed into your store and receive higher priority in search results and visibility. In turn, you can include the Wanelo button alongside your other social icons on your website, in email campaigns, and make it easy to share and save to Wanelo from your product pages.

Niche social shopping apps are popping up as well, including PocketHighStreet, a mobile shopping app for bike enthusiasts. CardBlanc phone app emulates the social nature of sites like Wanelo and Pinterest, but enables the user to purchase from the mobile app via PayPal or transfer funds from a checking account to their virtual CardBlanc card.

2. Twitter Advertising

Here, Brightpearl customer Peachy Belts lets followers know how gift certificates can take the fear out of shopping for the finicky.

“Pinning” promotion posts like this one keeps that important Tweet at the top of your feed.

Twitter advertising takes it a few steps further to boost online sales. A promoted Contest, Sale, or Holiday-related Tweet can target a very specific audience by geographical location, interest, gender, device, and keywords, including hashtags.

Advertising Tips:

  • Create copy that is a reflection of your brand. Visualise your customer. Think how they would be entertained and informed by your words and image. Be witty, smart, compassionate, and gracious, but keep it brief to allow room for the corresponding image.
  • Make sure your image is colorful, professional, and in line with your message. Feel free to repeat the offer in the image through text banners.
  • A/B test ads for copy and image engagement to optimise for the best results.
  • Create several ads and switch them out often to prevent ad fatigue
  • The use of hashtag tools such as Keyhole and RiteTag can help narrow down which keywords and hashtags are most popular and best fit your target audience.

3. Facebook Contests

Depending on the amount of competition in your market, Facebook advertising may or may not work for your advertising budget. A great example is Dorothy Perkins Want It Win It Competition which they run every Thursday.  

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The holidays offer unique opportunities for creative contests and give-aways that can be fun for you and your audience. Over 63% of Facebook users say they are likely to share a link to a holiday contest or give-away, and those that run contests show a 66% increase in contest submissions during the holidays.

Contest types:

  • Photo or video contests can relate to a product, a holiday theme, or an updated take on the ever-popular Christmas jumper.
  • Caption contests invite your audience to participate in your posted photo, which can feature images related to your shop, brand, or even your staff in the holiday spirit.
  • Fill-in-the-blank contests, where you begin a sentence and the participant fills in the rest, receive as much as 182% more engagement than other types of Facebook status updates.

Contest Tips:

  • Create a sense of urgency. Putting time limits, “enter by 5pm today for a chance to win,” helps to increase engagement.
  • Remember to announce the winners and give thanks to participants in a warm and personal way to encourage others to join in.
  • Any of these contests can be set up natively within Facebook, but tracking metrics can be a challenge. Third-party apps like Woobox costs money, but enable more features, including lead capture, engagement tracking and reporting.

4. Multi-Channel Social - Are You Prepared?

The shopping habits of online and in-store shops merged in greater numbers in 2014, as more merchants supported all the ways people like to buy things. You can develop a multi-channel social media strategy by including your social icons throughout your website and email campaigns, in your store and front window, printed promotional pieces and coupons, and even on your shopping bag. Brightpearl customer, Urban Rider, does a great job of using YouTube to review and promote new products with multi-channel in mind. This series, starring co-founder Andrew Taylor, has impacted both in-store traffic and online sales.

 

 

The next few months are going to zoom by. In addition to putting sales strategies and promotions in motion, make sure you’re ready for these efforts to be successful. Closely monitor inventory, ready staff for in-store sales and support, and set up processes to measure your success.

If you think ahead and get prepared, the holiday season can open the door to new customers and turn them into returning customers that stay with you for years to come.

Read more from our Preparing Profitable Holiday Sales series:
Summer Sales
Catching the Early Birds
Supporting Mobile Shopping
How to Prepare for Xmas 2014 with Sage Pay

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About the Author

Kim Owens is a veteran digital marketer and copywriter for Brightpearl, creating engaging, customer-centric content that provides value and an opportunity to learn about the quickly evolving retail industry.