Oh yes. It’s that time of the year again. The countdown to Christmas has begun. Which means, as an e-commerce business, it’s time to start preparing for the chaos.

When it comes to your digital marketing, regardless of the time of year, you need to have an omni-channel approach. By integrating your social, email and content marketing, it will create a seamless and consistent message across your social platforms and digital marketing activities.

With this in mind, you’re going to need a kick-ass Christmas campaign idea and a way of populating it across your digital channels. If this wasn’t enough of a challenge, you’ll also want to stand out from the seasonal social noise and create a buzz.

So whether you’re a small or large business, on a limited or limitless marketing budget, these tips should help with content ideas and planning.

Make a connection

When you look at past digital marketing campaigns from the big brands, the core values are clear and relevant to its audience. There’s always an emotive element. And it seems John Lewis are the festive favourites when it comes to their Christmas campaigns. Who could forget weeping unashamedly at the little boy and his penguin back in 2015? Or laughing at Buster the Bulldog when he finally gets to bounce on the trampoline in the 2016 ad campaign? Love them or hate them, they know how to tug at the heart strings and connect with audiences at Christmas.

The key ingredient to any successful festive campaign is to share a human moment that almost anyone can connect with. John Lewis have close-to perfected this and is now the most hotly anticipated Christmas campaign in UK retail. This year’s #MozTheMonster campaign sees a £7million spend and ambitious launch of ad-themed products, including Moz the Monster cuddly toy, set of pyjamas, slippers and a story picture book.

This is how you will draw people in and be invested in your brands message. Not just with cute, furry animals (although animals in marketing does help). But with a clear strategy, and a bit of heart.

Moz the monster

Share the love actually

Don’t worry, I won’t be rambling on about that overly cheesy Richard Curtis film!

I want to talk Instagram. Instagram is your friend this Christmas. This platform is built for sharing, and will help boost your marketing campaign and engage your audience.

“Instagram campaigns allow brands to engage with customers in ways other marketing channels, or even the less visual-centric social platforms, don’t allow,” says Romain Ouzeau, CEO of Iconosquare an analytics platform for Instagram marketing. “Christmas is all about sharing, and in Instagram terms, this means sharing posts, images and videos in order to engage customers.”

Here are a couple tips to help you get started with Instagram:

  1. Have set themes for your content, such as a certain colour palette relevant to your brand and a particular filter. This will create consistency and give your brand a style and look on Instagram. During the Christmas period, it’s also a good idea to add those festive colours to your photos so they stand out from the usual content.
  2. Create a hashtag/user-generated contest and people will follow. The temptation of an exclusive online discount or winning a prize at Christmas is an awesome technique to lure your audience in. Not only this, but the content will create itself. For example, you could create a 12 days of Christmas campaign, that asks people to share a photo related to the days in the song. Anything that challenges your audience and encourages a bit of creativity will help increase engagement.

Note: When creating a competition make sure you have clear guidelines and you ask permission to share the photos.

 

Be even more social this Christmas

You can’t ignore using Facebook for your festive marketing either. As one of the largest social platforms, the opportunity to promote your brand to a wider audience, is too great to overlook. It’s competitive yes, but well worth the time and effort. Experiment with using Facebook video and Facebook live feed to show off the benefits of a product, or behind the scenes at Christmas. If it’s festive, fun and relevant, then you can’t go wrong.

Other things you could be doing on social:

  • Get creative by designing some Christmas themed profile and banner graphics. These could be updated regularly on the lead up to the big day, to keep things fresh for your audience.
  • Advent calendar graphics can be a fun way to countdown to Christmas and will give you regular content going out on your platforms for December.
  • Paid advertising will allow you to target specific audiences to either generate sales, if that’s your CTA, or build up your following. Whatever your motive, choose one. Don’t create an advert that tries to combine everything. It will just be confusing for your audience and will likely have the opposite effect you were hoping for.
  • Run a competition. This could be a product giveaway or vouchers. Just make sure to shout about the limited time offer!
  • User generated content is an awesome way to create a buzz on your platform. It keeps people engaged with your brand and generates regular content. Starbucks have an impressive track-record for encouraging their audience to be creative and get involved in their hashtag challenges. And not just at Christmas.

starbucks content

Don’t forget to #hashtag

Hashtags are a great SEO tool for social, and when using the right ones, can really help boost your engagement and reach.

Social commerce is increasing and becoming influential in buyers’ decision. So, it’s important you get the hashtags right so you are visible online, and your marketing campaigns don’t get lost in the ether of continuous, streaming content. You want to try and avoid the most popular, generic hashtags like #merrychristmas. Want to guess how many times this hashtag has been used? At least 22.74 million times on Instagram! That’s a difficult hashtag to compete with.

Tip: If you’re selling specific items, for example, teddy bears, you might want to narrow down a hashtag that will appeal to your target audience. You could use #festivebears, #christmasteddy #ateddyisnotjustforxmas #xmasteddybear and so on. Linking this to the product page with an edited Christmas graphic of your product will certainly get you noticed.

 

Remember…

It’s not too late to start planning and implementing your marketing and social media campaigns. Just remember: Customers aren’t just for Christmas they’re for life. Your digital marketing activity during the festive season needs to have an omni-channel approach that engages new customers, and encourages an ongoing relationship after the season is over. That will be the measure of a successful campaign.

If you need a bit of help creating your marketing campaigns or managing your social media, then contact our digital marketing team.

 

Featured image copyright of John Lewis