Push your social media to work harder, better, stronger over the holidays

Push your social media to work harder, better, stronger over the holidays

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The lead up to Christmas and the holidays is the biggest time of year for retailers. This is prime time to use social media marketing to gain new customers and brand advocates. Social content is a vital part of the overall marketing mix. To help you to make the most of the busy period, have a read of the following tips.

1. Build genuine trust with your audience

During the silly season, you could noisily tout your wares like a old lady brandishing fish in a village market. Or you could use your social media to listen to the chatter and conversations about your brand. Then respond and attempt to create a personalised, generous and positive interaction.

Unlike other forms of marketing, social media is a two-way dialogue with evenly distributed power dynamics. It’s all well and good to blatantly sell on social media, but if the storytelling around your offer is non-existent, then your posts won’t resonate with your target audience.  

​ 2. Plan, plan and then plan some more

In order to win market share, it’s a great idea to start planning early. The earlier you begin planning, even as early as July or August, the more your business stands to gain out of the holiday period.

When you start early, it’s easier to avoid getting bogged down with BAU  operational needs. Instead you should focus with laser-sharp  awareness on long-term strategic marketing goals. Also social advertising and search marketing gets expensive in December. So filling the top of the funnel in July makes more sense!

​ 3. Don’t be afraid to get creative

The more creative and edgier your holiday season offerings are, the more likely your business will be to stand out, in a crowded room of competitors all tooting their own horns.

4. Don’t forget brand storytelling

In amongst all the excitement (and pressure) of having to make yearly sales targets for the year, it’s possible to lose sight of the long-game of growing and nurturing brand advocates and fans. The holiday season isn’t just for selling stuff. It’s about building loyal customers who continue to come back time and time again.

5. Remarketing is important

Remarketing strategies through social media and PPC are going to attract huge returns during this time. In other words, the more frequently a relevant target audience sees your message, the more likely they will be to buy from your business. So make sure you wow them in your ads, so that they remember your brand.

​ 6. Combine social with search

Search marketing is where you can really see some sales conversions. So be sure to change up your keyword strategy so that it’s relevant for the holidays. Also you should adjust your social strategy so that it’s relevant.

7. Social ads are a must

Even if your social strategy only goes so far as organic posts, it’s always a good idea to initiate a paid campaign over the holidays. This is when the majority of shoppers will be primed and ready to purchase. Sweta Patel of Silicon Valley Start-Up Marketing found that social conversions can increase from 0.6% to almost 20% from social ads alone.

Christmas online is akin to a fluorescent nightscape in Tokyo…its LOUD!

8. Up the ante with your ads

Your ads need to be memorable. To do that they must stand out and be compelling for prospective customers. Split test a broad variety of ad copy and artwork combinations, to find that magnificent combo that your audience resonates with.

9. Think broader than social media for your overall marketing

Social media platforms will be thoroughly saturated over the holiday period. So in your holiday marketing strategy, be sure to integrate unexpected guerilla marketing campaigns, and competitions to spice things up.

10. Consider Facebook groups for people with specific interests in your business.

After all, people prefer to purchase from an individual and not a company. They would like to engage in a two-way dialogue with an individual who can help them, not a nameless social account. Any sort of selling in this group needs to be incredibly laid-back and a subtle for it to be effective. The primary goal here is to resolve challenges that people face by offering solutions.

11. Email marketing and social combined are a cash-cow

Gift card offerings, competitions and last minute offers to email subscribers and via social are going to be highly effective for revenue growth. Start testing and retargeting your ad groups as soon as possible, to get the most out of that opportunity.

12. Scarcity works

Create limited time offers and limited stock offers to generate FOMO with your target audience. Create a limited number of coupons or exclusive offers that are only available until a certain date.

13. Visit and engage with people in niche online communities

Are you selling rental furniture to a young Uni crowd? Then visit the forums of a subreddit and post valuable information there. Avoid any kind of sales approach and instead aim to be solutions-oriented. Take a personalised approach to resolving challenges.

“We’ll just hold up these empty signs and smile…hopefully nobody will suspect anything”

I hope that this guide to surviving the silly season helps you to seize the opportunities of email marketing, copywriting and content marketing. Get in touch with me today to see how we can blow the cobwebs out of your content marketing strategy!  


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eHarmony

Content Strategy, Copywriting

Background

While working for an agency in the UK I worked directly with the UK arm of the eHarmony Group and helped them to create an Australian sub-brand for their brand. They were expanding to create an Australian website and needed to optimise the copy on the site for a new audience.

Implementation

  • As an Australian I had a good understanding of the sort of colloquialisms that they should use and so I helped to create their tone of voice document which was unique to the Australian market.
  • I planned and executed a content strategy involving on-site blog content, off-site third party blog sites around the theme of Christmas gift-giving for new couples along with infographic gift guides.
  • Liaised with content writers and designers to create infographics, blog posts and feature articles related to dating during the Christmas period.
  • Content ideation around Melbourne versus Sydney styles of dating and other Australian oriented content around regional Australian areas (wine region in SA).
  • Collaborated with the digital engagement team to create Australian relevant PPC ad content and landing pages for driving conversions.

Results

  • The eHarmony Christmas infographic gift guide was incredibly successful in terms of organic sharing and actually made it to the reddit front page at one stage. It was reused in subsequent seasonal campaigns by eHarmony and on their social media in the years following.
  • The high quality on-site blog resulted in an increase in web traffic to the regional AU eHarmony site and was used in conversion rate optimisation for increasing sign-ups on the site. Here’s an example of a post I did  for eHarmony.
  • The eHarmony team saw the editorial tone of voice consulting as helpful in the creation of the Australian sub-site and useful in targeting the new site to a new audience in a meaningful and authentic way.

eHarmony Christmas Gift-Giving Guide

First draft of the infographic went something like this… 

case_studies_infographic_eHarmony_

The final designed version…

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Brain Research New Zealand

Content Strategy, Copywriting, Graphic design, Social media marketing, Video production, Web design

Background and challenges

Brain Research New Zealand – Rangahau Roro Aotearoa (BRNZ) is a Centre of Research Excellence which was newly created in 2014. BRNZ involved 4 Universities – Otago, Canterbury, Auckland and AUT along with several independent research institutes and groups and over 300 researchers.

BRNZ’s aim was to advance the treatment and prevention of diseases of the ageing brain on a global scale. BRNZ therefore required a heavy-duty marketing approach to kick it off.

I was the sole-charge marketing person for the group and as such had to be a one-woman band. I also had a zero dollar marketing budget with virtually no access to funding for day-to-day marketing, with the exception of the creation of the annual report and some key research events.

As such I needed to produce valuable marketing assets out of nothing but my own capabilities. I also needed to foster an atmosphere of branding consistency and cooperation between historically competitive institutions, which were now brought together under the same banner for the first time.

I therefore put together a marketing strategy and then executed all of it highly effectively.

Actions

• Management of a database of community members for targeted personalised comms around specific issues, via Hubspot and HootSuite.

• Ongoing community outreach with relevant not for profits and iwi across the country – both online and in-person events.

• Event planning, management and promotion before, during and after events.

• Produce creative, cost-effective merchandise, branding materials and visual branding (myself and via an outsourced agency).

• Social media management and content management best practice training for researchers.

• Measuring and optimising the website using Google Analytics and making cost-effective recommendations for optimising content for SEO and conversion.

• Content, design and digital marketing using free and open-source tools where possible to keep costs low.

• Media liaison with Fairfax, NZ Herald and other journalists and getting researchers stories out into the media.

• Relationship building with dispersed teams and individuals in order to capture and convey research stories to the wider world and get cooperation on key campaigns.

 

Results

 

Community engagement, social media and online conversion optimisation

As a part of my role with Brain Research New Zealand – Rangahau Roro Aotearoa, my role was to engage directly with Not for Profits and Maori Iwi within Auckland and Dunedin and to arrange marae visits for researchers and clinicians.
BRNZ had a stall at Te Matatini 2016 was an outstanding success. I managed to giveaway over 3,000 kete bags with the koromiko seeds and also to giveaway approximately 1,500 notepads. The community outreach and #GrowWithBRNZ campaign online and offline resulted in a 30% increase in Twitter followers along with substantial user generated content.
The campaign also meant a spike in engagement, with over 3,000 views of the website during the week of the event. The conversion goal of 100 responses to our online survey was exceeded and we received over 800 responses to the online survey into knowledge of neurological conditions.
Community events (which I organised and ran) contributed to the group receiving millions in philanthropic funding towards improving health outcomes.

Media interviews 

Read the full selection of stories on Linked In

 

Web design, graphic design, content marketing

I designed a new website for Brain Research New Zealand which was based on usability assessments, paper and online surveys, and research into the existing CMS and what pages were most visited on the site. Also the UX process involved integrating the most important user functionality such as access to new research studies looking for participants, as well as contact information for key clinicians. I designed the site with this and design best practice principles in mind.

Internal communications/ research collaboration

I wrote, designed and produced a pamphlet for researchers to promote themselves internally to other researchers within BRNZ and externally to researchers around the world.

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Annual Report writing, design and production management

This was the first annual report ever produced for Brain Research New Zealand.Therefore it needed to be visually impressive, on-brand and also contain stories of substance and scientific rigour which would impress the target audience – the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) the governing body which provides funding to BRNZ on a 4 yearly basis.

I coordinated the content, interviewed researchers, coordinated the photography and managed the production of the design and printing via a design agency.

Click image to browse the document

Video production and post production

For the opening of several new dementia research clinics across the country, I managed photo shoots and produced a series of videos which featured interviews, speeches and cut aways to stock footage.  See examples below

eDM template design and distribution

Direct Line Insurance logo

Direct Line Insurance

Content Strategy

At a glance

  • Conducted an audit their existing content and found there wasn’t enough content around business van ownership which would be of interest to a particular target audience (business van and ute owners).
  • Created a series of how-to helpful resources for their website about van ownership, saving money on business vehicle insurance and common challenges for tradespeople.
  • Worked with client to create a suite of FAQs which answered the commonly asked questions via social media and customer service inquiries.
  • Worked on a content marketing strategy which encompassed blogging on 3rd party sites about van ownership and insurance.
  • Worked with freelance content writers, third party blogger sites, designers to pitch out and manage the creation of infographics and blog posts.

Background

Direct Line Insurance were a client of a digital agency where I worked. I worked directly with them as their account manager and also acted as their content strategist for a sub-brand of van insurance. I helped their corporate team with articulating the right messaging and the right content that would be relevant for their customer personas, the people who would be interested in buying their van insurance.

Through customer research, we gleaned that the types of customers interested in Van insurance were

  1. busy, self-employed tradesmen who are time-poor and also wanting tips on how to save money in their business.
  2. Owners of small businesses with a fleet of several vehicles used by sub-contractors.

These people were highly engaged on mobile devices and often listened to radio. They were interested in ways that they could save money and time on their commutes between jobs. They were interested in ways they could save on having insurance for their vans and work vehicles.

Content strategy

I worked with their on-site team to create a content marketing strategy which was strengthened by using a mix of radio and mobile based advertising, as well as content marketing which was delivered via a mobile application.

This mobile app provided personalised money saving tips for van owners and included discount offers for petrol stations across the UK and real-time traffic updates for people out on the road every day.

The mobile app also had a calculator which recommended the right Direct Line insurance policy for the individual according to their van’s payload, location and budget.

An RSS feed with relevant content from the mobile optimised website ensured that people were able to access personally relevant money and time saving tips, according to their interest.

I helped to develop an editorial tone of voice which suited the audience – van owners. I helped Direct Line to coordinate the kind of content they needed for both the mobile app and the online blogs. I managed two content writers to complete the copy according to their needs.

Results

The mobile app received over 4,000 downloads while it was active. There was two updates to the app and it was rolled out on Android and iOS. Direct Line considered the van insurance mobile app as successful  because it contributed to the early-to-middle sales funnel (the brand awareness and evaluation  phases).The mobile app positioned their nascent van insurance brand within a place of high authority with their target audience. The mobile app allowed Direct Line to capture and qualify thousands of new sales leads through that platform. The mobile friendly blog and personalised RSS feeds which fed into the blog was used primarily to create thought leadership and to foster trust with potential customers by providing them with the information that they need, to help them become better or more efficient in their work – information about taxation, sub-contracting, real-time traffic updates, discounts on petrol and other incentives which are highly important to them.

My Van is My Home Infographic

Van Insurance – Online Knowledge Centre

https://www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk/van-insurance/knowledge-centre

https://www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk/van-insurance

British Gas logo

British Gas ‘Price Freeze’ content marketing campaign

Content Strategy

Background

British Gas was one of my key clients at an agency I used to work with in 2011-2012 in the UK. I worked with their corporate team to create a content strategy around a seasonal offering from British Gas – an offer that allowed customers to freeze their gas prices for the year at a static amount and pay the same amount each month, rather than have to deal with price fluctuations.

Recommendations

I recommended that British Gas develop a series of helpful and practical blogs around cost-savings and helpful tips for staying warm and being wise with energy during the colder months. Also I recommended that the brand attempt blogger outreach to influential bloggers in Britain who would be willing to host sponsored posts about these helpful hints. I recommended that British Gas also try to use native advertising and sponsored posts on sites like the Daily Mail and The Guardian.

Implementation

I created a content calendar, selected influential UK bloggers with a large following in the health and lifestyle catergory. I got costings and data on native advertising in lifestyle magazines and national news media like The Guardian and the Daily Mail. I researched topics which would be relevant and useful to the average British Gas customer. The customer persona for the British Gas brand was  the  decision maker of the household, this person is generally also the primary caregiver of the household and the bill-payer. By targeting this customer persona with relevant content that is interesting and helpful to them, it builds brand trust, thought leadership and also with time, brand loyalty.

The content strategy involved the creation of several infographics which visualised the leaky, coldest parts of the home and nifty ways to fill the gaps. Another infographic visualised the ideal energy-saving home. Tips for the winter included articles about winter warming tips for cooking food in the most energy efficient way, doing the washing in an energy efficient way and tips for making your kids become more energy conscious around the home. These blog posts and infographics were used on social media and in the blog part of the British Gas website in conjunction with several paid PPC advertising campaigns around the Winter Price Freeze campaign.

Results

Pitching out these helpful hint articles to lifestyle blogs and news sites with backlinks to the original articles on the British Gas site was successful. The objective was to create high quality branded content which reflected the British Gas brand and led to greater brand trust and authority on energy-saving. The off-site content was also placed on high ranking and reputable blogs and also used in conjunction with PPC campaigns around the Price Freeze offer. This led to a boost in google search rankings under several keywords like energy-saving tips and winter energy saving.