It’s the most wonderful time of the year… or is it? If you’re a brand on social media, you could end up with a ton of proverbial gifts under your metaphorical tree if you play your holiday cards right. Your brand’s reputation can be more fragile than an antique glass ornament, though. So you’d better check twice to make sure it’s well protected and you don’t end up with a dangerous mess.
The holidays provide a great opportunity to organically engage with your online communities. Depending on your brand’s specific needs, there are many ways to relate to seasonal events in both promotional and conversational ways.
But just like you’d place Great-Grandma’s hand-blown glass snowflake on a sturdy, safe branch – you need to be thoughtful and purposeful with the placement of holiday-related online content. While your worry is legit, keeping the prettiest ornament in the attic for safekeeping isn’t the answer either. The positive opportunities that the holidays present to brands are worth the risk. Just be smart about it!
What kind of PR nightmare am I alluding to with this whole glass ornament allegory? Since some holidays are religious in nature, there is sensitive subject matter at play. A seemingly innocent comment can end up offending fans, marginalizing others, or just adding to the stress of the holiday hustle and bustle.
Sensitivity to the diversity of your audience is very important. Carefully consider all posts so not to alienate any member of your online community, or consumers in general.
Know your PR boundaries:
Make sure that any themed content is in line with your brand’s philosophies and public image. For secular and/or all-inclusive brands, make sure to incorporate all the holidays or keep things generic by using terms like “holidays,” “winter,” or “seasonal,” instead of “Christmas” or “Hanukkah,” directly.
Apply common sense:
If you’re a Christian publishing company, wishing your Facebook followers a “Merry Christmas,” is expected and just fine. If you’re a global brand that’s secular in nature though, be conscientious about how you word holiday greetings.
Posting holiday content:
Holiday shopping and promotions go hand in hand. Do make sure to market the sales, specials, holiday deals, and products/services you’re featuring this season. If your brand offers gift certificates, remind your fans about the option.
While making sure to offer marketing content – remember to have regular conversations with your fans too. The holidays can be a very stressful time of year, light and fun content that doesn’t put any pressure on your fans to make purchases will be very welcome. Besides, it’s through genuine conversation (and not constant product marketing) that real relationships are built between brands and social media users.
Ask fun questions about holiday plans or the ways that people celebrate. Post polls on friendly topics that many people can relate too, like which holiday dessert is the best, or if white Christmases in the snow are better than a Mele Kalikimaka (Christmas in Hawaii).
You can always make suggestions that will help your users out. Ways to beat stress, be prepared, have fun, save money, and save time, are always welcome. Some examples would be ways to beat mall traffic, de-stressing techniques, gift-wrapping tips, time saving hacks like recipe shortcuts, and so on.
Finally, make sure to showcase what your brand is doing. Share updates about your holiday party, or special events. If you’ve been involved in any seasonal philanthropy, post about it.
And don’t forget the decorations!
Update the look of your social pages to reflect the holiday season. Update Cover Photos on Facebook, Twitter backgrounds, etc., in a way that reflects the holidays. Upload photos that illustrate how your brand is acknowledging the holidays, for example – pics from a holiday party, or showing the decor in your office. Create branded images that are special just for this time of year, adding some flare to your logo, default photos, headers and other imagery associated with your brand.
More social media holiday tips:
Save yourself time and ensure that your brand posts throughout holidays by scheduling Tweets and Facebook Status Updates ahead of time: Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or Facebook’s native scheduling tool are three great options for scheduling content.
Pinterest now offers “Secret Boards,” that only the logged in user can access. By using a Secret Board, you can plan holiday gifts and other surprises without risk of social media secret spoiling!
Watch out for scams! Check out this article about some popular scams circulating this year. Before sharing links or ideas with your followers, make sure that they are legit. Stressing out consumers at this time of year, or worse yet, seeing them get ripped off could be an epic PR crisis.
However your brand is choosing to celebrate the holidays – we at ICUC wish you all the best!
If your brand needs some more guidance, help with a holiday contest, moderating the influx of holiday posts, or anything related to your social media campaigns – please feel free to contact us. That’s what we do! firstname.lastname@example.org