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Planning Ahead: Social Media During The Holiday Seasons

Planning Ahead: Social Media During The Holiday Seasons

The holiday season may be the best time of year to look forward to but as a business owner do you find that your social media activity spikes just at the same time as you’re heading away from the office? It’s a typical scenario and often the busiest time of year when other team members are requesting time off too, you’re looking forward to spending time with the family – and you’re wondering how you’re going to keep up with your online marketing.

We know that social media doesn’t take a vacation, so how do you manage both sides of the coin and enjoy your holidays whilst knowing that your social channels are all up to date? Often when businesses are looking at what they can cut back on during the holiday season, marketing is one of the things that gets dropped. However your marketing is still a vital and essential part of any business and helps to keep the business sustained all year through. Dropping it can have bigger implications later on in the year.

Here’s our 7 tips on preparing for the holiday season

Be prepared in your online marketing when it comes to the holiday season

 

Get ready with a social media calendar, now!

This time of year means that there’s much more to juggle, so planning ahead makes perfect sense. Using a calendar will help to see what content needs to be created (it can be harder to visualise when it’s not written down or laid out in front of you).

We love our own Social Media Planner, it gives us the perfect space to plan ahead, to write in notes as we think of them and to organise and plan goals and targets. All of these come together to form part of your online marketing plan.

2020 Social Media & Business Planner

A calendar is also good for dates that you know are coming up, national awareness days, events that are important to your business and anything that you know is imminent. Put it on the calandar and once it’s all there, you can think about how it’s going to look and feel on your social channels.

 

Work with local businesses

It doesn’t have to all be about you and your business, if you know you’re stepping away from the office for a while, why not tap into someone else’s resources? You can promote or share stories from local businesses, charities & worthy causes, friends or family businesses. It’s a great way to involve your local community and for people to know that you care about what’s happening around you. It also helps with raising your profile in the community.

 

Curate content

As we (should) know, social media marketing should not be all about self-promotion. People will get very bored very quickly and switch off – resulting in your audience diminishing. There is a way to keep content pumping through and keeping your audience engaged – with curated content. This means that you are sourcing relevant content that you can use on your channels that will give your followers extra resources to read, learn from, engage with and much more. Headline: You are not the only expert in your field! And there is no point in wasting time trying to compete all the time. Use industry experts to help your cause, to provide value to your customers and to give even more inspiration to the people engaging with your channels. You only have to go online to find relevant articles or images – plan and add these into your content calendar.

Here’s a great read from Buffer: How to Schedule Social Media Content for Next Week, Next Month, and Next Year

 

Create social media content in advance when it comes to your online marketing and going away for the holiday season

Get others involved

When you create content on the hoof and quickly, you’re doing all the work; the content, the image creation, the thought-process. However, if you get others involved, you may gain a different perspective, ideas and initiatives that could have great results for your marketing and for your business long-term. If you’ve got a team, ask them for ideas and thoughts on what they think your audience would like to see and hear. If you’re a solo business owner and do create all your own content, why not ask people that are interacting with your business what they would like to hear about. Alternatively, you could ask a friend or family member to take a look over your social profiles and to give you an idea or suggestion on what they think may be a good read.

 

Create a theme

A nice way to show that things may be a little different for a season is to create a theme and have everything during that time fall into that theme. Not only does it give a refreshed look and feel to your content, but it shows that you’re trying something new and changing your plan for that season. The summer can be the perfect time for a theme change: think sun / sea / sand and how you can brand your content around a summer emphasis.

This can be applied throughout the year at different holiday seasons, like Christmas or new year: a branded theme can run straight through all that you produce.

 

Run a competition or promotion

The last thing you want to happen is for your content to flop while you’re away and this is where a competition or promotion could be the perfect tool. Set up a promotion that will last through your time away, with the winner being announced after your return.

Competitions always generate engagement, so while your promotion is getting interaction, your page is also gaining in momentum and engagement. To take it one step further you could promote User Generated Content, this is of course free advertising and will help with generating content throughout your holiday season – Ask them to tag or share your content, if someone loves what they see, they will share it.

 

Schedule ahead for paid advertising

Paid advertising needs to have just as much care and attention that organic social media posts. If you’re looking at continuing in paid advertising during your time away from the office, ensure that you have your ads pre-approved prior to you going away. This means planning in advance and setting up Facebook Ads for example in plenty of time for them to go through the system. If tweaks need to be made, have you given yourself enough time to make the adjustments? If this is something that you’re not sure on, make sure you gain expert advice. You could waste a lot of money if you leave your paid advertising running without setting it up correctly to start with.

Are you using social media for your freelance business?

A holiday season needs to be enjoyed and looked forward to. It can be quite stressful to put everything in place to cover this time, but utilise all resources around you, tap into colleagues or friends and always do as much in advance as possible. Of course you will still need to engage with those who are interacting with your page but this is much easier to do from your mobile if everything else is set up and running automatically. (Or hire a VA to cover your engagements during this time)

What scheduling tool do we recommend? There are so many to choose from but for ease of use and costs effectiveness, we love Hootsuite. You can have up to three profiles with the free account and it’s very simple to use. If you’ve got any other scheduling tool suggestions, we’d love to hear them!

 

It’s also worth thinking about outsourcing your online marketing during busy seasons. Using a digital agency means that you can completely let go and know that your marketing is in good hands while you’re putting your feet up and taking some well-earned relaxation time. The time and energy it takes to plan and schedule everything in advance, being active on the channels while you’re away and ensuring that everything is working properly, can be balanced out by outsourcing to a reputable agency to cover it all for you. If you’d like to know more about working with an online marketing agency, we’d love to chat with you and discuss your options. Your business success is our success – and we’re here to make your marketing as smooth and effective as possible. Get in touch and let’s talk strategy.

In the meantime, why not download our Awareness Days calendar to put some of those engaging dates in your diary. It’s free to download 😊

 

Get your FREE copy of our social media awareness days for 2020 - download now!

 

 

 

 

What Social Media Platforms Should You Use?

What Social Media Platforms Should You Use?

When it comes to marketing a brand, business owners are faced with a wide variety of social media platforms to choose from. But how do you know which ones to use or which ones go with your brand?

There are way too many platforms for a small business to be able to use them all and to be effective in their marketing, unless of course, they have a dedicated marketing team working full-time. But this is not usually the case when it comes to smaller businesses or start-up companies.

 

Always start small

Just like word of mouth marketing, everything has to start somewhere, from that first conversation or first form of communication, the word gets out slowly and reputations are grown. The same goes for your social media marketing. Start small and experiment with different platforms little by little. Don’t go all in the first time you dive in; it will be hard to keep up and to be consistent in your approach

Instead work with your audience and which platforms produce results, which platforms house your ideal audience and demographics. Where is your audience most likely to be found?

If you’re a B2B or a B2C business, you will have different audiences, and these people will want to see and hear different types of content. Which platform would give you the best traction and where (after you’ve tried a little) do you find the best results?

 

Measure everything

In order to know what is working and what’s not, measuring the results is a must. Constantly watch and monitor what is going on around you. This can be done with a simple spreadsheet or notepad when first starting out. What’s happening in your industry and what can you do to jump on the trends? When you jump onto something that works, you’ll have more measurable results. But take note of everything you do, especially when first starting out. It can be easy to jump from one platform to another without really gauging an idea of whether it is working for your business. It may be a platform that you enjoy personally, but it is a platform that your audience will be found on?

 

measure your results on your social media marketing - use what works

 

Practice makes perfect

Not everything will work for you the first time around, it doesn’t mean that you’re in the wrong place, but it does mean that you may need to tweak or adjust your approach or even the type of content. If you see results straight away, that’s great! But it doesn’t always happen that way and it’s not a reason to be discouraged. Practice does make perfect and the more you get to know your audience, the content they want to see and the information and type of posts they enjoy the most, the better your results will be.

Stick to what works

When you’ve tried the different platforms and you’ve measured your results, stick with the platform(s) that produce the best results. The worst thing you can do it to spread yourself too thin. By thinking that you need to be on every social platform out there and creating a hundred posts a week will not work! It will cause you disappointment and probably lead to burnout. Focus on what works and leave the other social channels behind. They’ll still be there when your business grows and has the capacity to produce more content but until then it’s better to do one thing well than to do ten things badly. You will lose customers and a good reputation if you do not stick to what your audience is looking for. Give them what they want, produce valuable content and resources and gain their respect and attention for the right reasons. You will grow your audience by building trust. People buy from people they know, like and trust but that must be earned. You will see the most effective results when you do one or two things well and put your efforts into those things.

 

How often should you post on social media?

This is a big question and one that we are asked a lot! But again, this comes down to the individual business and their owners. It can come down to time, resources, expertise and content.

The average recommended posting schedules can be determined as the below, but remember, you are only going to choose the platforms that perform well for your business, you will not have time for all of them, so don’t panic just yet!

  • Facebook pages: 1-2 per day
  • Twitter: 3-10 times per day
  • Instagram: 1-3 times per day
  • Instagram / Facebook Stories: 2-5 times per day
  • Pinterest: 3-20 times per day
  • LinkedIn Pages: 1-2 times per week

how to choose which social media platforms work for your business

Unless you have a big marketing team behind you, you’ll never keep up with a schedule like this and do it well at the same time. Always focus on where your audience is, what they react to and interact with and the type of content that drives the most engagement.

Your audience knows best and you should try to be where they are to impact their thinking and decisions. Where are they on the buying cycle and which platform would they be benefiting from the most? Where will they be hanging out? What type of messages do you want to give? How can you help them in their pain points and create a solution for what they need? Use the platforms as a springboard to be able to speak to individuals direct.

 

What does each platform represent?

To name a few of the most popular ones:

Facebook – the largest of all social media platforms, Facebook is a place for people to connect and network with family and friends, and to engage with business groups and apps.
Twitter – this platform is mainly for news, entertainment, sports, politics and a more. It has a strong emphasis on real-time information and the things that are happening right now.
Instagram – this social platform is a photo and video sharing social media app. It allows you to share a wide range of content such as photos, videos, Stories, and live videos.
LinkedIn – this is a professional networking platform, more than just an online CV as many people think. It’s a place where industry professionals can connect and expertise can be sought and found, along with a place for people to establish themselves as a thought leader in the online world.
Pinterest – is a place where you can find inspiration and help on almost any topic and where brands can put ideas in front of buyers, helping them to make decisions about their purchases.

So, with all the platforms out there, where can you see your business fitting in? What audience do you want to reach or attract? What type of content do they want to see or hear from you and where would be the best place to put that content?

The main point to consider is to only focus on what works and to build your online presence around that. Be confident in what you create, be thoughtful in your approach and put a strategy behind every piece of content you create and schedule into your marketing plan. Your business will grow and produce good results when it finds its place in the online market. No ‘one-size fits all’ when it comes to social media marketing, although it is good to keep an eye on what’s going on around you! But your values and goals make your business unique. And you have a duty of care to your audience and your business to be true to who you are and to who you are trying to reach.

If you’re still struggling to work out which social platforms work for your business, maybe it’s time to consider a social media audit or a strategy plan in order to start on the right track. We’d love to talk to you if you’d like to learn more – together we can do this! Contact us today and let’s talk.

social media checklist free download

In the meantime, if you’re starting out in your social media marketing and often forget where you are or what you’re doing, why not download our FREE social media checklist – Don’t forget the basics! We’re here to help and that’s exactly what we love to do.

Time to get social… have fun and we will hopefully speak soon.

 

 

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