News, Insights and Highlights from the world of Social Marketing

Everything You Do Now is a Prelude to Holiday Success

by Matt Sullivan
April 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Christmas lights

By now, everyone knows that social is just a different beast when it comes to commerce. Your fans have asked to have a relationship with you by “liking” or “following” your brand. It’s up to you to deliver relevant content and measure the results so you can get better over time. At Moontoast we call our approach Return on Fan™, and we look at each engagement and commerce offering within the context of relationships, relevancy, and results. Some updates won’t get a single comment while others will start a fiery debate. One thing is for certain, though, when it comes to your fans: they will be expecting something awesome from your brand when the holidays come around, and you can begin to use the Return on Fan principles to set up an awesome holiday shopping season.

So what can you do during months like February, April, and July to ensure success during the months of October, November, and December?

Develop Community Activity Early On Using the DITE Framework

Here’s the thing; you can’t ignore your fan base the entire year, then toss up a Cyber Monday Sale in November and expect a sellout. Your community essentially has to be groomed for commerce. We’ve seen it time and time again where a brand’s first one or two campaigns see lackluster results, but finally hit on a huge offer.

And you don’t have to focus only on commerce campaigns, either. We model our strategy around what we call DITE – Discovery, Interaction, Transaction, and Endorsement. Everything you do with your social marketing should touch on these areas.

  • Discovery - Make compelling content that catches people’s attention.
  • Interaction – Use photos, videos, or apps to provide interactive content that people like. This also helps with your Edgerank score.
  • Transaction – We think of transactions and the completion of a process. This could be a sale or a contest registration.
  • Endorsement – Fun content gets shared. People love talking about content that is creative, funny, or simply a really great deal.

Part of developing your community is simply getting them involved on a regular basis. Shorter, engagement-focused campaigns are the key to getting them talking. This not only gets your current fans excited, but also drives new fans to your community. Some examples include:

  • Contests/Sweepstakes - These could be anything from simple “comment-to-enter” contests to bigger events like winning a big-ticket item. To drive more fans to your community, integrate a sharing aspect where, for example, a fan gets two entries when they share it with friends.
  • Surveys – You can learn a lot about your fans with surveys. Make sure the questions you ask fit your brand and keep them short and sweet. Remember, your community is offering up valuable insight here, so reward them with a coupon or free download for completing the survey.
  • Giveaways – Offer up a free download in exchange for signing up to your newsletter, prompt your community to share it with their friends and see your fan base grow. Feel free to do this with physical goods as well, especially older, limited inventory products.

How to Prep a Community for Commerce

For many people, making a purchase on a social network is a little out of the ordinary. It’s still a new way to go about rewarding fans, and that can take time to catch on.

So, to make sure your community is ready for the holiday craziness, start early in the year with monthly commerce-focused campaigns. Remember, these offers need to be unique. Reward your fans for publicly following you by offering great deals on current products, giving them first dibs on new products before they are available anywhere else, or offering exclusive, limited edition bundles to your superfans.

The importance of these campaigns cannot be overstated. Even if many are not “successful” in your eyes, they are building a foundation for the holiday rush.

Plan (and Execute) Your Holiday Campaigns

When October arrives, and you’ve built your community through engagement campaigns and earlier commerce offerings, it’s time to plan your holiday strategy. You may even want to start this process earlier to coincide with offerings you are providing in-store or on your e-commerce site.

This is where your Marketing 101 smarts kick in! Things like free shipping, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, early-bird specials, or last minute shopping deals are great examples of successful holiday offers.

Also, don’t worry about posting too much. This is the one time of the year where your community is really expecting some great deals on gifts for their family and friends. When you start to use the DITE framework to create compelling campaigns and measure the results with a Return on Fan frame of mind, you’ll see more engagement and have a better sense of what the response means so you can get better with each offer.

Get in front of the holiday craziness by starting early and you’ll find that the hard work really pays off at the end of the year.