It’s that time of year …

Holiday music starts playing on the radio, retail shelves are stocked with tinsel and ornaments and social media feeds are full of twinkling lights and mugs of hot chocolate. Nearly every brand wants a piece of the pie during the holiday season, and it can feel hard to compete – especially if your time or budget is limited.

Here are a few tips to prepare for the season and add some (strategic) cheer to your feeds:

Start planning early
A thoughtful social media strategy takes time to develop, and ideally, planning should start months in advance (before Halloween costumes go on sale). Think about the objectives of your holiday campaign. Do you want to boost online sales? Generate awareness? Encourage donations or volunteerism? These objectives will help you tackle the holidays with a sense of purpose and achieve real results. And, when every brand is competing for your customers’ attention, you want to make sure your holiday marketing efforts stand out from the seasonal noise.

An effective campaign should establish your goals and objectives, include creative and compelling tactics to support those objectives and measure your success.

Liven up your content
Then comes the fun stuff – content! The secret to a successful holiday content plan is using a variety of content types that will make your brand more engaging to your audience. Get festive with your social media presence, and don’t forget to “decorate” your profile and cover photos and feature photos and videos that celebrate the season. The most successful brands find creative ways to push their products and services that aren’t salesy or overly promotional. Strive to delight your followers first, and then, think about your bottom line.

Tis’ the season of giving
There’s not much that compares to the excitement of winning something, which is why contests and giveaways are a great way to generate huge audience engagement. Tools like ShortStack offer ready-made templates and ideas for running a successful contest. Challenge yourself to incorporate at least one into your holiday campaign and be sure to include an enticing incentive. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Multi-day giveaways (12 Days of Christmas) often generate great engagement on Facebook and Instagram as fans come back day after day to enter. The idea can be applied to many types of giveaways or special offers that are relevant to your brand. Include a hashtag like #12DayofGiveaways to track activity.
  • Photo contests can capitalize on the traditions of the season as followers travel home for the holidays, share meals with loved ones and decorate their homes. Think about an activity or action that fits within your brand narrative and encourage followers to capture those moments and share them with you on Facebook or Instagram. Again, be sure to use a hashtag.
  • Quizzes or trivia-style questions are a great way to spark conversation, make people feel involved and create a sense of community. Ask your followers to share their best travel trips, favorite holiday movie or gift ideas in the comments for a chance to win.

There’s a reason it’s the most wonderful time of year, so don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with your social media strategy during the holidays. It could be the perfect setup to a successful 2020.