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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 01 November 2021
  • Bert Strickland

How to Use Social Media Marketing for Your Small Business this Holiday Season

Social media marketing is an important marketing tool for small businesses to leverage this holiday season. With lots of small businesses relying on holiday sales, increasing competition across the board and the overhanging implications of COVID-19 on the personal and business level, social media marketing is too important to ignore this holiday season.

taking pic of decorations with phone

Holiday sales are typically a major source of revenue for small businesses, and social media marketing is a great way to capture these sales. Social media marketing can be used by creating awareness of your local small business or holiday offers, driving people to your website so they can learn more or browse your products and so you can garner sales. If your business is less concerned about holiday-specific sales, most of the principles in this article can still be utilized for general social media marketing to help your business in various ways.

Adapting to changing consumer behavior

It has been over 18 months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. With most of the U.S. population vaccinated, consumers and businesses may find themselves in a limbo between mask mandates, remaining cautious, and returning to normalcy. Whether you’re a consumer or small business owner, it’s important to take into consideration that the impact of COVID-19 continues to affect the way people shop and what they shop for due to large safety concerns and economic implications.   

Managing customer expectations

This holiday season, people will shop via various methods: online, in-store or a hybrid method like curbside pickup. Social media marketing can be a great way to communicate the necessary steps and measures that your business is taking to assure your customers’ safety, like the option for curbside pickup, hygienic measures such as hourly cleanings or closed fitting rooms. It is important to communicate these measures to reassure your customers and put their safety concerns at ease this holiday season.

Keeping customers engaged

With increasing competition across all retailers within every industry, social media marketing allows for small businesses to engage and interact with their audience and customer base on a more personal and 1-to-1 level. A great way to make sure that your customers take notice of your business this holiday season is by leveling up on your social efforts. Small businesses can create their own holiday offers to incentivize users to buy their products and services or create giveaways to keep people engaged and stand out among competitors. Small businesses can also create urgency with social media marketing by providing last-minute offers or inventory alerts to their followers and can even create special restock offers while utilizing the sellout to create urgency.

Bringing your social media marketing strategy to life

Once your small business has created a holiday social media marketing strategy, bring it to life and take advantage of all the different post and ad formats that each platform has to offer! Facebook and Instagram are two of the most popular platforms for small businesses, but other platforms like Twitter, Pinterest and TikTok should not be ignored. These platforms offer a plethora of options such as stories on Facebook and Instagram, interactive polls, quizzes, swipe-up links, stickers, text-based posts on Twitter, in-feed videos across all the platforms and so much more.

Staying true to what you do

Authenticity is now more important than ever. Showing genuineness and emotion around how your business is meeting customers’ needs and overcoming challenges along the way can ultimately lead to relatability among consumers, and success may follow.

Level up your social media marketing  

The first task that your small business needs to complete is defining your holiday season social media marketing strategy. The first part of defining a social media strategy is outlining the objectives — what do you want to achieve this holiday season? All small businesses want to make money and increase their bottom line, but there are multiple ways to do that, directly and indirectly. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you want to focus on awareness — letting people know that your small business exists and what your business is all about?
  • Do you want to focus on engagement — creating a community around your small business and the interests that align with it?
  • Do you want to focus on traffic and driving people to your website?
  • Do you want to focus on conversion and selling your products through your website or even directly through a social platform?

The objective you select depends on your small business. If you have an established business in your community and have a strong following, it makes sense to focus on an objective like traffic and conversion as opposed to awareness. Conversely, if you are a brand new small business, it might make sense to focus more on awareness and engagement to ensure more people know who you are and what your business is all about. If you sell products online and have a shop on Facebook and Instagram, you might want to focus on conversion to take advantage of your online shop, but if you don’t have a shop, then focusing on traffic is a better option.

Defining your strategy and objectives will help keep your social content focused on what you want to achieve, ultimately leading to better performance.

Applying social media marketing best practices

Below are a few best practices to keep in mind when creating your social content this holiday season:

Singular and coherent messages keep your audience focused

Ensure that you are communicating a singular and coherent message with a uniform look and feel in your holiday posts so consumers know what they should do after seeing your social posts. A singular and coherent message is important given the competition during the holiday season; it keeps users focused and directs them exactly where you want them to go. If you are communicating in-store safety measures while also communicating an online sale, it could leave consumers confused and might ultimately cause them to ignore both messages. A uniformed look and feel for your holiday posts is also important to stand out among the competition. This will help consumers quickly identify that the post is coming from your small business. Additionally, make the look and feel different enough from your day-to-day content to avoid your posts having limited visibility on the platform.

Clear and creative copy improves your social posts performance

Leverage the holiday season and time frame in your social copy, and get creative. Creative copy is an effective tool and can help your social media marketing immensely. Copy helps sell your product; it creates a bond between your small business and your audience, ultimately separating you from your competitors. Additionally, make sure you are including CTAs (calls to action) in your copy to direct consumers on what you want them to do. If you are utilizing a poll, end your copy with a line directing them to answer the poll. If you are communicating a flash sale (for example, 10% off for only 24 hours), end your copy with a line directing followers to “buy now and don’t miss out.”

Ensure your user journey is seamless

Utilize links in your social copy for organic and paid posts that drive to your website, while keeping the user’s journey in mind - organic posts are free to post on your social page while paid posts require a media spend to distribute them to a targeted audience. Optimize the user's journey to make sure there are the least amount of clicks as possible. For example, if you are highlighting a specific product, make sure that you link to that specific product’s landing page as opposed to the homepage. The fewer clicks the better, as this will help increase the user experience, which will in turn create sales and keep people engaged on your website.

Paid media may improve your social media performance

When defining your social media marketing strategy for this holiday season, think about taking advantage of paid media on social if your budget allows for it. Creating dark ads or boosting your organic posts is a great way to help ensure that people will see your posts. The platform will automatically optimize to an audience that will can likely take action based on your objective.

If you decide to implement paid media efforts, ensure that you focus on your targeting to make it as effective as possible for your small business. Two important parts of targeting that small businesses need to take into account are geography and interest-based targeting. If you are a small business that does not partake in e-commerce, you should set your targeting location to a limited radius around your store to avoid your content being distributed to people that are too far away. For interest-based targeting, look at your business and your audience to align your selected interest-based targeting with them. If you are a local flower shop, it might be advantageous to target an audience that has a gardening interest. On the other hand, it may not make sense to target car enthusiasts for a flower shop.

Measure your social media marketing efforts

When evaluating your social media marketing efforts this holiday season, make sure you assess your social content based on the objective you defined in your strategy. Social content must be evaluated based on the objective that it was created for, but when determining the cause for great or poor performance, other metrics must be taken into consideration.

If you focused on awareness, see how many impressions you delivered and how many users you reached. Impressions are defined as the number of times a social post was seen, while reach is the number of unique users that saw your content.

If you focused on engagement, determine how many users engaged with your post(s). Engagements are actions such as comments, likes, shares, etc. If a lot of people saw the post and your awareness metrics were high but engagements were low, there was likely something missing from the post to make users engage. In the future, determine why the content did not resonate with your audience, and adjust accordingly. Additionally, ensure a CTA was used.

If you focused on traffic, find out how many people clicked through to the landing page. If the traffic was low, figure out what you can do in the future to get people to click through. Is there a way to create urgency or tease information?

If you focused on conversion, find out how many sales you created. If conversions are low, look back and evaluate the social content to establish the cause. Was the offer price too low? Was it the targeting, a poor user journey or something else?

Making sure your objectives and strategies are aligned will lead you to the most accurate learnings and will eventually allow you to optimize and continue to improve your efforts.


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