September isn’t just the kick-off to the school year—it’s the kick-off to your social media strategy for the upcoming holiday season. This is the month to plan your social media campaigns for the holidays leading into the new year, because prime-time shopping is right around the corner.
Aimed at small businesses, this article is the first in a monthly, 5-part series that outlines your must-do monthly activities to get your social media ready for the holidays.
Make a Calendar
Step one. Make a basic calendar that highlights your key dates for the next few months, including:
- Black Friday
- Cyber Monday
- Christmas Eve
- Boxing Day (in Canada)
- New Year’s Eve
- New Year’s Day
And don’t forget to add your deadlines, including:
- adding new products to your store
- promotion start and end dates
- photography shoots
- graphic design work for campaigns
- merchandising from suppliers
- shipping cutoffs from your courier services
Research, Analyze, Decide
Step two. Do your homework, evaluate your findings, and plan your strategy. An important part of developing your social media plan is reviewing your performance from last year, and deciding what you’ll be offering.
- Your competitors: What did they do on social media during key holiday periods? What products did they promote?
- Photographers and graphic designers: If you don’t have the skills in house, find a photographer and graphic designer who can help you design and deliver your product and social media imagery.
- Shipping and delivery: This part is critical. You need to know the shipping cutoff times and dates for your chosen couriers, for all the services you offer your customers.
- Your products from last year: What performed well? What didn’t perform well?
- Your social media from last year: What did you do for the holidays? Was it well planned? What would you like to improve?
- Your promotions from last year: What promos did you run? How did they perform?
- Your performance across the year: What went well? What didn’t do well? (If this is your first holiday season, look at your performance across 2018.)
- Products: What products will you offer? Consider adding some products per holiday that are specific to that holiday to entice customers to grab them while they can.
- Promotions: What promotions will you have for each holiday?
- Sales: Will you run any storewide sales?
- Shipping rates: Decide now which services you’ll offer and for how much. Will you offer promotional rates during any holidays?
Making these decisions now means you won’t be stressing and throwing something together at the last minute. And knowing exactly what you’re offering makes it 10 times easier to plan your social media campaigns.
Set Photography and Graphics Deadlines
Step three. Whether you have photography and design resources in house or you’re contracting them, set a day in your calendar for all your photography and graphic design deliverables.
You’ll need the following images and design assets for each major holiday campaign:
- Product photos for your website
- Product photos for social media—have at least 3 per product, per holiday
- Promotional imagery for social media—have at least 10 to 20 images, themed by holiday
- Graphics for promo codes, sales, and shipping offers or deadlines
- Graphics for social media banners and profile photos
- Additional platform-specific graphics, like Instagram stories
Work with your photographer to tick off each item on your list—and be picky! Creativity and attention to detail count here, so make sure the photos fit your brand aesthetic.
By planning ahead and sticking to your deadlines, you’ll soon have a productive and full social media calendar. And there’s something about time constraints that unlocks creativity and ideas—whether for marketing and social media campaigns, or for new products your followers will love.
Stay tuned for the next article in the series, or subscribe to The Taproom newsletter!