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Impacting Holiday Sales with Social Media

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What are the top tactics your company can use to boost holiday sales with social media, including those for Facebook, mobile, and more? What are ways to connect with loyal customers and attract new …

What are the top tactics your company can use to boost holiday sales with social media, including those for Facebook, mobile, and more? What are ways to connect with loyal customers and attract new connections?
These questions are answered and examples of holiday campaigns from socially savvy brands are highlighting in this paper

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  • 1. IMPACTING HOLIDAY SALES WITH SOCIAL MEDIA IT’S NOT TOO LATE FOR FACEBOOK AND OTHER SOCIAL STRATEGIES
  • 2. Shoutlet, Inc. 2012 • v12.012 shoutlet.com • facebook.com/shoutlet • twitter.com/shoutlet There’s no doubt that holiday sales are crucial for retailers. Consumers spent $471.5 billion between November 1 and December 31, 2011.1 Consider this revenue in conjunction with findings about how shoppers use social media: • 57% of consumers used social media to assist in holiday shopping in 2010.2 • Among those consumers, learning about discounts and deals was their top activity, followed by soliciting opinions from friends about gifts.3 • Sales and promotions influence Twitter users, too: 59% say they follow retailers on Twitter to keep up on deals.4 • 23% of consumers claimed that retailer Facebook Pages are either influential or extremely influential on purchasing decisions. Another 32% said they are mildly influential.5 Even marginal improvements in marketing effectiveness can amount to significant improvements to the bottom line. Traditional marketing often does not allow the flexibility to make changes or add new campaigns to the marketing mix. With social media channels, brands can begin major marketing efforts online late in the season that will have an impact on sales. IMPACTING HOLIDAY SALES IT’S NOT TOO LATE FOR FACEBOOK & OTHER SOCIAL STRATEGIES 24.3%of 2012 US retail ecommerce sales will occur over the holiday season6 Note: n=1,627 who visit retailer and/or consumer products company Facebook pages Source: Compete, “Spring 2011 Online Shopper Intelligence: Impact of Social Media on Retailing,” June 23, 2011 www.eMarketer.com 1 = EXTREMELY INFLUENTIAL6.2% 16.7% 32.9% Level of Influence of Retailers’ Facebook Pages on the Purchase Decisions of US Online Buyers, Spring 2011 % of respondents 21.7% 22.5% 23%OF CONSUMERS SAID SUCH PAGES ARE “INFLUENTIAL” OR “EXTREMELY INFLUENTIAL” 2 3 4 5 = NOT AT ALL INFLUENTIAL 1 National Retail Federation, via Forbes 2 Sapient Nitro, “Holiday Shopping Behavior” conducted by GfK Roper, via eMarketer 3 Sapient Nitro, “Holiday Shopping Behavior” conducted by GfK Roper, via eMarketer 4 Compete, “Spring 2011 Online Shopper Intelligence: Impact of Social Media on Retailing” June 23, 2011 5 Compete, “Spring 2011 Online Shopper Intelligence: Impact of Social Media on Retailing” June 23, 2011 6 eMarketer, “Online Holiday Shopping Forecast and Trends” September, 2012
  • 3. Shoutlet, Inc. 2012 • v12.013 shoutlet.com • facebook.com/shoutlet • twitter.com/shoutlet TIPS FOR USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO BOOST YOUR HOLIDAY MARKETING Norwegian Cruise Line noticed that cruisers loved to post pictures from their vacations to Facebook and other social outlets. This led to the “Cruise Like a Norwegian” campaign, which included ads on major TV networks. Related to this campaign, Norwegian’s Facebook page featured a six-day countdown requesting fans to post their favorite photos to illustrate how Norwegians dine, shop, and party. MAKE IT SHAREABLE! Make all your content shareable, especially gift items. Include Facebook sharing, tweet buttons, and Pinterest pin it tools to make it easy for shoppers to share your products. 1 REPURPOSE EXISTING MARKETING PROGRAMS Retailers no doubt have invested heavily in holiday campaign development. Maximize those assets by also using them in social media. Repackaging holiday marketing campaigns streamlines brand messaging across channels and also helps with holiday- themed content generation. Brainstorm ways to branch out from the primary holiday campaign through status updates and tweets that play off its themes, or with contests and giveaways that spin off from the main campaign. Don’t forget to update your social media presences for the holidays. If your company adds holiday imagery on its website, for example, stay consistent and do the same with your Facebook Timeline cover photos, Twitter backgrounds, Google+ images, YouTube channels, and Pinterest accounts, where possible.
  • 4. Shoutlet, Inc. 2012 • v12.014 shoutlet.com • facebook.com/shoutlet • twitter.com/shoutlet 2 PLAN FOR YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE WITH THE TIMELINE IN MIND 2012 is the first official holiday with the Timeline officially rolled out, and while many of the same strategies apply, there are new opportunities for brands this season. Tactics to explore this holiday season on Facebook: CONTESTS AND GIVEAWAYS Still a popular campaign choice, Facebook contests or sweepstakes tailored to a holiday theme get fans involved and helps attract new fans. Launching a holiday contest or sweepstakes is a great way to generate interaction on your Facebook Page. It creates engagement with current fans, but also attracts new ones that can continue throughout the new year. Remember to keep your contest simple. The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year, so keep that in mind as you choose which type of contest you run. For example, opting to run a simple sweepstakes instead of a user-generated video contest might encourage more participation during this season. Other audiences could be more receptive to uploading photos to a photo contest, for instance. Remington offered a sweepstakes throughout the holiday season on a Facebook app. It gave away a free styling or grooming tool each day to a selected winner. Taste of Home magazine hosted a sweepstakes on its Facebook Page in 2011 that awarded a Kitchen Aid® mixer for holiday baking. Revolve Clothing asked Facebook Page visitors to submit a photo of themselves in their ugliest holiday sweaters. Users voted for the winner, who received a $100 Revolve gift card to buy a replacement.
  • 5. Shoutlet, Inc. 2012 • v12.015 shoutlet.com • facebook.com/shoutlet • twitter.com/shoutlet SOCIAL SHOPPING APPS ON TIMELINE Other types of custom Facebook apps that help customers find the perfect gift and share items with friends can help drive traffic to your e-commerce site. This holiday season, customers will be recommending products and researching gifts online more than ever. And if they’re fans, they are more likely to purchase and spend more. Facebook users are 51% more likely to purchase after becoming a fan7 , and fans of a brand on Facebook spend 117% more compared to a non-fan.8 If you’re an e-commerce retailer, you can easily turn a Facebook custom app into a social shopping experience and make it simple for visitors to discuss your products by launching a Facebook storefront. Or, build a Facebook app that shows gift guides for key segments of your target audiences. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE TIMELINE FEATURES Timeline offers new ways to brand the Facebook Page from 2011. The cover photo offers a unique opportunity to add holiday imagery to your Page, and highlighted posts offer a way for important posts to stand out for visitors on the Timeline itself. Vibrant, easy-to- spot app thumbnail images are all part of your Timeline’s branding and help persuade visitors to click into your custom apps. Also, use pinned posts strategically to highlight important holiday events, promotions, and shopping deadlines. Dearfoams Facebook storefront, powered by Shoutlet Shop & Share™ . 7 Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies, February 2010. http://blog.cmbinfo.com/ press-center-content/bid/46920/Consumers-Engaged-Via-Social-Media-Are-More-Likely-To-Buy-Recommend 8 Via Social Commerce Today, http://socialcommercetoday.com/f-commerce-statistics-roundup-facebook- commerce-by-the-numbers
  • 6. Shoutlet, Inc. 2012 • v12.016 shoutlet.com • facebook.com/shoutlet • twitter.com/shoutlet 3 FOCUS ON THE NEWSFEED Incorporating holiday campaigns into your Facebook Timeline is important, but the majority of Facebook users who interact with your Page will do so by first seeing posts in the newsfeed. By helping ensure more people see your posts in the feed, you’ll see your content get more interaction and possibly more referral traffic to your e-commerce site. Get more exposure in the newsfeed by using Facebook EdgeRank to your advantage. The more visibility your holiday content has on Facebook, the better. Facebook EdgeRank is the algorithm that determines which posts make it into user newsfeeds. Knowing how this algorithm works and optimizing your content can improve your visibility. 10 TIPS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF EDGERANK 1. Post Photos: People love rich media content. And while no one is completely certain of the specific weight value of various post types for EdgeRank, it seems photos are heavily favored by the algorithm. 2. Post Videos: Just like photos, videos appear in the newsfeed as thumbnails and by their very nature, entice users to click on them. 3. Include Links: Links are great to include in your posts because they require interaction - users must click on the link to view the object. While not as heavily weighted as photos and videos, they are thought to have a more significant “edge” than other types of posts. 4. Ask Questions: Asking questions encourages comments on Facebook posts, which increases the chance that more fans will see it. 5. Put your Fans in Charge: Show your fans that you care about their input. Solicit feedback from them, and they’ll be more likely to respond. 6. Reach Out on a Human Level: Facebook is an ideal platform to show your brand’s human element. It is up to you to take advantage of that opportunity and add some life to your posts. For instance, thank your fans for their posts, comments, photos, and likes. Wish your fans well during the holidays. Don’t treat them like just customers, interact with them like friends! IMAGES HAVE BEEN THE STAR OF 2012 Pinterest’s skyrocketing growth and Instagram’s sales to Facebook have illustrated the need for quality, engaging photos as part of social media content plans. Take advantage of the visual appeal of the holidays and invest in photos on Facebook and other social media sites. NFO: News Feed Optimization EdgeRank - affinity score between viewing user and edge creator - weight for this edge type (create, comment, like, tag, etc.) - time decay factor based on how long ago the edge was created ue we de ue  we  de edges  e
  • 7. Shoutlet, Inc. 2012 • v12.017 shoutlet.com • facebook.com/shoutlet • twitter.com/shoutlet 7. Target your Posts by Time, Location and Frequency: Relevancy is a vital component to making sure your fans remain engaged with your brand. Post at times your audience is more likely to be active on Facebook. (70% of Facebook interactions occur within 60 minutes of the post, so this is critical.9 ) Also keep frequency in mind: Too many posts are a nuisance, while too few are missed opportunities. 8. Use Web Apps: Like links, photos, and videos, web apps are a great way to attract people to your content. There are a variety of types of interactive components you can publish to the feed like sign-up forms, video players, slideshows, podcast players, coupons, and others. These unique pieces of portable content can be created through the Shoutlet platform and then instantly published to Facebook. 9. Find Your Brand Voice: Finding your voice allows your company express itself in a way that is truly representative of your brand. This will help connect with fans and boost interaction rates. 10. Ask for Likes and Comments: The more interaction a Facebook post has, the better in terms of EdgeRank. Asking for a Like gets a 216% higher interaction rate10 , so be sure to occasionally include calls to action to encourage feedback. GET MORE EXPOSURE IN THE NEWSFEED WITH PROMOTED POSTS FROM FACEBOOK. For Pages with at least 400 fans, adding this paid option can boost exposure and put your posts in front of more of your fans. 9 AllFacebook.com, http://www.allfacebook.com/surprise-timeliness-boosts-facebook-engagement-2011-069 10 Momentus Media, http://momentusmedia.com/blog/?p=819 ASKING FOR A LIKE GETS A 216% HIGHER INTERACTION RATE
  • 8. Shoutlet, Inc. 2012 • v12.018 shoutlet.com • facebook.com/shoutlet • twitter.com/shoutlet WALKING IN A MOBILE WONDERLAND: Ways to Make Mobile/Social Users Happy Mobile adoption continues to grow, and more users are accessing Facebook’s app and mobile site than ever before. Make sure that the holiday content you’re offering on Facebook doesn’t impede mobile users. Here are a few ways how: PROVIDE MOBILE-FRIENDLY VERSIONS OF FACEBOOK APPS Visitors to Facebook Pages in the Facebook mobile app and mobile site aren’t able to access custom apps. Photos, Events, and Likes are available, but any custom apps you create aren’t visible. Make sure that mobile-accessible versions of apps are linked from posts. By offering links to both the Facebook app and a mobile optimized app, this helps make sure no customer encounters a poor customer experience. Shoutlet’s Social Canvas design tool makes it simple to create Facebook apps and web pages that can be designed for mobile devices. Plus, Social Canvas designs are HTML5 compatible, which is viewable on all major platforms, including iOS. WATCH FOR CALLS TO ACTION THAT ASK FANS TO “SHARE” There is no share option for Facebook posts when viewed in mobile apps and on the Facebook mobile site. Users can Like and comment on Facebook Page posts in their mobile newsfeeds, but there is no option to share. Keep this in mind when writing calls to action over the holidays. KEEP IT SHORTER FOR EASY READING Facebook posts often get truncated for length at 160 characters when viewed on mobile devices, so be brief when you can to ensure easier interaction for mobile users. TIE IN-STORE SHOPPING TO THE ONLINE SPACE By promoting check-ins on services like Foursquare, you can reward customers and help them spread the word about your holiday offerings in social media. Reach new visitors and regular customers with Local Updates, and run Specials to reward customers and attract new shoppers. Foursquare’s Promoted Updates are a paid option for reaching new customers over the holidays.
  • 9. Shoutlet, Inc. 2012 • v12.019 shoutlet.com • facebook.com/shoutlet • twitter.com/shoutlet 4 READY YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSE TEAM Addressing customer service issues via social media is becoming more common. Customers are turning to Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to express opinions and interact with companies. During the holidays, customers’ questions about products, shipping, and deals will inevitably arise. The lack of quick, helpful responses to questions and comments on Facebook and Twitter can mean lost sales online. Treat your social presences at the holidays like your brick-and- mortar stores, which stay open longer and employ more staff. Recent studies have found that when brands do respond to customers, it’s overwhelmingly positive. More than 80% of those who made complaints on Twitter and received a response from a company said they “loved” or “liked” it, with 74% of them satisfied with the response.11 5 MAKE YOUR CAMPAIGNS MORE RELEVANT WITH SCHEDULING FEATURES Customers aren’t the only ones who are busy this time of year. Social media teams are juggling tasks, too. Use social media management tools with scheduling features to help free up time you can devote to other social media efforts, including real-time response to social conversations and customer questions. Forrester Research’s report, “Become Responsive Through Push And Pull Social Media Marketing Strategies,” highlights this as a key strategy for becoming more responsive in social media. Add relevance to your holiday campaigns using tools like Shoutlet’s Social Switchboard™ , which lets your team build social campaigns in advance. Each piece of content publishes based on triggers you select. For retailers during the holiday season, this means creating campaigns driven on community behavior. When your Facebook Page hits a new level of Likes, a holiday offer is published, for example. Or, when your holiday video reaches 10,000 views, you release an outtake video to YouTube and Twitter. 6 GET PERSONAL AND USE TARGETING ON FACEBOOK Help the right customers see the right posts with Facebook Page post targeting options. Currently Facebook posts can be targeted based on language, country, state/province, city, gender, age, relationship status, interest in men/women, education level, work and college networks, and year of college graduation. Combinations of these filters can be implemented as well. During the holidays, use these filtering options to reach specific groups of fans with content that matters for their holiday season. Promote holiday events in individual cities or share tailored holiday gift guides and ideas. 11 Maritz Research and evolve24-Twitter study, September 2011, via Read Write Web http://www.readwriteweb.com/ enterprise/2011/10/stop-ignoring-your-customers.php
  • 10. Shoutlet, Inc. 2012 • v12.0110 shoutlet.com • facebook.com/shoutlet • twitter.com/shoutlet It’s not too late to wrap social media into your holiday marketing plans. Take advantage of the flexibility of social media by incorporating these tips into your plans during the holiday season. You will provide your customers with helpful information, alert them to sought-after deals, and drive holiday sales. Perhaps most importantly, you will be strengthening the relationships you have with current fans and followers – and creating new connections that your company can nurture throughout the year. ABOUT SHOUTLET Shoutlet is a leading enterprise social marketing platform. It includes Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube management, Social CRM, trigger-based social publishing features, HTML5 web app building, and analytics, in addition to tools designed to help global brands manage and measure social media programs for hundreds of locations, franchises, branches, or agents. More than 500 top brands and agencies have chosen Shoutlet as their social media management system after conducting comprehensive reviews of companies in the industry. Learn how they are using Shoutlet and see how Shoutlet can support your social media program at Shoutlet.com.

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