The World Outside is Frightful—Drive Holiday Sales with Social Media Instead

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The challenges of driving holiday sales in 2020 do not signify the end of retail, as many sensationalized headlines would have you believe. This e-commerce-focused season is, however, a siren call to local retailers who have yet to take social media marketing seriously. In the absence of typical frantic holiday shopping foot traffic, social media is a necessary part of holiday marking to effectively reach consumers who opt to stay inside. The world outside may be frightful, but the warm blue light of a cell phone is always delightful and open for business. 

This holiday season, retailers are facing an economic crisis and a pandemic that’s accelerated consumer demand for buying goods online that are delivered the fastest at the cheapest price. For local businesses to effectively compete, it’s critical that they take a proactive approach and develop an aggressive strategy for driving holiday sales with social media. 

Start social media marketing NOW 

An estimated 49% of shoppers plan to complete their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving weekend. This leaves no time to waste for creating a social media content calendar to plan your holiday promotions—both organic and paid. Planning ahead is key to boosting profits and minimizing stress as you head into the final—and possibly most crucial—months of the year.  

Transform your social media accounts into a virtual in-store experience 

Consumers are less inclined to make in-store visits these days, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to shop and see what you have to offer. If you’re having trouble getting customers to come to you, bring your local business to them by transforming your social media accounts into a virtual “in-store” experience. Doing this involves creating four types of posts: inventory, promotions, lifestyle content, and customer service. 

  • Inventory: Posting pictures, descriptions, sneak peeks, and full product demos on social media communicates what you have available and could give customers the push they need to visit your local business or place an online order.
  • Promotions: Use social media to keep your customers abreast of promotions going on. In 2020, you can decorate your storefront with a stunning display and captivating promotional signs, but the reality is many people are spending so much time at home that they may never see it. Make sure that you also post digital versions of any promotional signage you create and alert your social media followers when you’re having a sale or special deal. 
  • Lifestyle content: Unbranded lifestyle content offers a way to connect with your audience on a deeper level and prompts them to envision how your brand aesthetic can fit into their own life.
  • Customer Service: Customer service is a meaningful aspect of the in-store experience that is hard to replicate on social media. A level of customer service can be achieved by doing livestream Q&As about products, curating a list of top gift items to help customers find that special something, or asking questions on social media to discover what your customers need help with. 

Update your location data 

Local business hours often vary during the holiday season and when compounded with an uptick in Covid-19 cases, customers may be uncertain about whether or not some businesses are open. Update your location data regularly so that your social media accounts always reflect accurate hours of operation and contact information. You can also use location data to communicate other important business updates, such as whether curbside pickup is available or if you’ve implemented capacity limits for in-store shopping. 

Having accurate location data on your social media profiles is a simple, free way to care for your customers and can even be life-saving amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, less than 60% of local business owners have taken advantage of claiming their online business listings, which could cause them to miss out on driving holiday sales.

Be available to your customers on social media 

It’s a general best practice to respond quickly to questions, comments, or direct messages posted by customers on social media. But especially over this holiday season, the timeliness of your response could be the difference between making a sale or missing out. Consumer patience is wearing thinner and thinner, and convenience is paramount. If your customers can’t obtain an answer to their questions online, chances are, they will take their business elsewhere. 

In 2020, social media marketing is one of the best tools available to local businesses for driving holiday sales. Getting foot traffic through the door and standing out in a sea of e-commerce stores is challenging enough under normal circumstances, but with an aggressive and strategic social media presence, local retailers can finish the year strong. 

Maddy Darby is a Social Media Consultant at BrandMuscle.