“On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact midpoint, everybody stops, and turns, and hugs, as if to say ’Well done. Well done, everyone! We’re halfway out of the dark.’” -Doctor Who
Last night, I drove home from work in the dark. I hadn’t stayed late putting the finishing touches on another devastatingly brilliant blog post. It was just that, after the long Thanksgiving weekend, the darkness has finally caught up with the end of the work day. And there’s plenty more dark to go before the days get longer.
On the bright side, that means the holiday season is here. There are at least four major holidays and plenty of minor ones to go around.
All this festivity offers us unique chances to make a connection with potential customers. ‘Tis the season for savvy social media marketing.
You don’t have to drape your Facebook page in tinsel or string lights on your Twitter feed to catch the holiday spirit. In fact, the bigger, tackier celebrations are less likely to feel authentic, and more likely to alienate those who don’t celebrate a particular holiday.
It’s better to celebrate the holidays on social media the same way you do everything: With your audience’s needs and wants firmly in mind.
Here are a few ideas for getting your brand into the spirit.
#1: Go Behind the Scenes
Your audience always wants to see the people behind the brand. During the holidays, those who are celebrating will enjoy seeing others celebrating, too. Snap candid shots of decorated desks, bedecked halls, and your annual office party.
Collect memorable holiday stories and favorite recipes from your co-workers, too, and share them with festive holiday portraits. Ugly sweaters and santa hats are optional, but encouraged.
#2: Encourage Your Audience to Share Holiday Photos
During the holiday season, most people’s thoughts turn to happy childhood memories. We recall the warm glow of the menorah, or waking up early to see the presents under the tree–these memories are indelible. For kids born in the 70s and 80s, these precious moments were captured in pictures that look pre-Instagrammed.
Encourage your audience to share their favorite memories and photos with your brand. Create a branded hashtag you can use on Instagram to collect cool retro holiday photos and the stories that go with them.
#3: Shine Light on a Worthy Cause
One of the most powerful ways your brand can get noticed this season is to turn the spotlight away from the brand. Instead, highlight a charity that your brand can support, and offer a way for your customers to lend their support, too.
British retail chain John Lewis came up with a great way to support a good cause last year. Their annual holiday ad campaign centered on helping lonely senior citizens. On the campaign’s landing page, customers could watch a heartstring-tugging video and donate to the charity.
#4: Focus on What Your Customers Need
This time of year consumers are drowning in a flood of holiday-related advertising. Everything from $500 cell phones to $40,000 cars are positioned as perfect holiday gifts. Every retail outlet is playing some variation of Christmas music non-stop.
It seems brands desperately want to put their customers in a holiday buying mood. But that’s not what customers want. They want ways to deal with stress, or help finding the perfect gift, or a moment of silent reflection. B2B companies want help making their budget for next year, closing out 2016, making sure their customers feel appreciated.
Take some time to think about what special wants and needs your specific audience has this time of year. Better yet, ask a few of them. You could end up creating some powerful, useful content instead of more holiday dazzle. For example, last year on this blog we created an online retailer’s checklist to help our audience.
#5: Sum up the Year
Not every consumer spins a dreidel or stuffs stockings this time of year. But the vast majority do celebrate the New Year. It’s a time to look ahead and to reflect over the past year.
If Christmas carols or Kwanzaa lights don’t suit your brand voice, New Year’s is still a safe bet. Take the opportunity to tell your current and potential customers about your brand’s year. Let them know how the company grew, what you learned, and most importantly how you are planning on treating them even better in 2017.
#6: Highlight What Unites Us
This season is about more than lighting candles and giving gifts. It’s a celebration, as the quote up top reminds us, of being alive, being together, and being halfway out of the dark. Your brand can celebrate these ideals–family, togetherness, love–without committing to a single holiday in particular. Instead of singling out a specific group, you can remind everyone we’re all in the same group. Regardless of race, creed, gender, or political leaning, we can all agree Nick Offerman is a national treasure:
What is your brand doing to make the holidays special for your customers? Let me know in the comments.
Stay tuned for pictures from TopRank Marketing’s upcoming ugly sweater and cookie bake-off events. Sound like fun? We’re hiring.