Social media will drive more holiday purchase decisions this year than ever before. In 2009, 27 percent of holiday shoppers started their gift search on social media, and 59 percent used search engines as their first choice for gift finding. If you think it’s too early to be considering this, keep in mind that 47 percent of consumers will have already started their holiday shopping by the end of October!
How can you as a local retailer engage shoppers using social media to drive revenue this holiday season? Let’s start with several low-cost and creative ideas that you can put in place this week to start off the holiday shopping season with a social media kick.
Seven Ways to Use Social Media to Boost Sales
- Start now with social media. Building a following on Facebook and Twitter or through some simple product videos or blog posts can pay dividends as we near the holiday season, especially when last-minute shoppers are seeking local options.
- Get reviewed online. Like signage in a retail store, customer reviews on Google and Facebook draw attention and help differentiate between similar retailers. Over 70 percent of consumers trust recommendations from reviewers and recent studies show 83 percent of ALL holiday shoppers this year will be influenced by customer reviews.
- Be helpful with your holiday messaging. Social media is really about sharing useful content with your audience. Make their gift-finding easier by offering helpful ideas and information, and you’ll be rewarded with increased loyalty, recognition, store traffic and online word-of-mouth. Think about the gift-giving challenges of your customers and speak to those needs with your Facebook posts or Twitter tweets.
- Use social media with traditional marketing. If you distribute flyers, postcards or do any form of advertising, include your social-media links everywhere your customers see your name. Don’t forget the in-store applications, where something as simple as sticking a printed “Follow us on Facebook” card in each shopping bag can help boost followers and online word-of-mouth marketing.
- Use pictures and videos where possible. Whether you sell hand soap, jewelry or pheasant hunting trips, research shows that people respond to posts with photos and video much more favorably than to simple text postings. Remember, you’re trying to tell your story, and any imagery you can use to help tell that story will bring in more holiday business.
- Work with local social media “web-lebrities.” There are over 3,000 people on Twitter in the greater Green Bay and Appleton area. Many of them have thousands of followers for whom they serve as taste-makers every day while influencing dozens of others. Use Twellow.com to find the influencers (most popular) and learn their tastes to find possible partnerships for your business.
- Advertise on Facebook. Facebook ads can be a targeted and relatively inexpensive way to reach a precise audience in our area. In fact, there are 120,880 people on Facebook within 25 miles of Green Bay. Placing some targeted ads based on keywords and interest can get you in front of the right people, in the right place and at the right time.
Moving into social media now will help you compete and win in this holiday season and for many seasons to come. Sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option for local retailers. Start your social media efforts now to benefit from the cumulative effects that only get better with time and increase the return on your investment each and every month.