In the third article in our three-part series on holiday social media campaigns, David Lantrip, education director at Franchise Concepts Inc., gives advice on how to turn your plan into action and generate likes, shares, links, follows, and ultimately, sales for your shop.
As custom framers, we are often at our busiest during the holiday season. But this fourth-quarter boom also offers tremendous potential for reaching out to customers with project ideas, building goodwill in the community and getting on new customers’ radars. If you are new to social media or haven’t maximized its potential, here are some ways to make executing your holiday social media plan easier and more effective.
1. Plan early & post often
Many holidays and events will call for multiple posts and these posts must be planned. For example, let’s say you are having an in-store holiday event with an artist appearance or holiday carolers. You will want to announce it well in advance, with a reminder leading up to it and the day before, and then utilize photos during the event and after on your social media platforms.
On a holiday such as Thanksgiving, you will want to create a post letting followers know if you are having any specials, what days you will be closed, and then a post on the holiday wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Put all of these on your editorial calendar. Once all of your events and holidays are marked on the calendar, your framework will be in place and it’s only a matter of filling everything out.
2. Social means social— strike the right tone with your content
Remember that social media is a conversation with your customers, so think of the tone as if you are having a conversation with a customer in your store. Language can be a bit casual, but grammar must always be correct. Spelling errors are still embarrassing, as is faulty punctuation. Consider composing posts in a word processing program first to catch such mistakes.
One form of punctuation unique to social media is the hashtag (#). What was once commonly known as the “number sign” is now a character that enables search across multiple social media platforms. It is the primary way to reach people who aren’t currently part of your social networks. Be aware of what holiday hashtags are trending and create those that suit your posts, such as #forthepersonwhohaseverything or #holidaymemories. Make sure to use hashtags appropriately and avoid any that might be controversial.
Also, think about the native language of each platform. Twitter, for example, has a limit of 140 characters, and images count toward that. Facebook does not have a character limit, but ask yourself how much people are willing to read in the distracting environment of social media. If you are using LinkedIn, you will likely want to write in a more formal and polished manner for the business-to-business audience.
Tone isn’t just important for your writing style on social media. It’s also important for your choice of content. Social media is not about promotion. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to limit promotional posts to about 10 percent of your content. Not sure what to post? This is an excellent opportunity to make customers’ busy holiday lives simpler. The vital principle is that whatever you share must add value.
- Does this provide information a customer might find useful or informative?
- Does this help a reader solve a problem?
- Is this something a customer could use in daily life?
- Is this entertaining? (Yes, entertainment adds value.)
Keep in mind that you do not have to originate all the content you share. In fact, it’s best to share information that comes from other places on topics related to custom framing. For example, look for informative content such as articles or infographics about the hottest trends in paint colors, creative ideas for wall arrangements or decorating for the holidays.
3. Make images your focal point
No matter the platform, posts with a picture tend to far outperform those without. Force yourself to take pictures of completed framing projects before they go out the door, and definitely be sure to get photos of all the happy customers picking up your great work. Don’t be afraid to snap all the pictures you want. (See Article 1 of this series for more on sharing framing stories.)
Add holiday imagery to your social media platforms. Your Facebook cover photo likely features an image of your store. Update it with a photo of your space decked out in its holiday nest to create some buzz and gain some social media attention for your shop.
As is the case with copy, share images from other places — always giving credit to the source. Repost a great project idea you saw or invite customers to submit photos of past projects you did for them. Share images of holiday-themed art or objects that would look great in a frame. Ninety-five percent of marketers curate images, so the burden isn’t on you to come up with something original every post.
4. Be in two places at once
It may seem like it, but you do not have to be chained to your computer waiting to post all day. One of the great benefits of having a plan is being able to set aside a block of time to focus on social media. Most social media platforms, including Facebook and Pinterest, allow users to schedule posts in advance, making it easy to prepare a week or month of content. Some social media management tools like Hootsuite have low or no-cost options that allow you to schedule content across multiple platforms at once. If you are serious about incorporating social media a part of your marketing mix, a management tool is a relatively small investment.
As you schedule your posts, consider the best times to do so on different platforms. There are some general guidelines for when users are online. For example, Pinterest peaks in the evenings between 8 and 11 p.m. LinkedIn is busiest during morning and evening commutes. Twitter is most active on weekdays at noon and 6 p.m. Given the hectic nature of the holidays, social media users often log on at different times. You can find out when your followers are on by looking at usage data. For Facebook, under the Insights tab the People report shows you when people are viewing Facebook on each day of the week. You can track this over the holidays and respond appropriately. When used effectively, social media can be one of the best tools for a small business owner.
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This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.