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“How can brands and retailers cut through the noise of #holidaymarketing?”

Every successful social media campaign is built on solid planning. If you’re not sure where to start, the tips in these articles can put you on the right track.
It’s November and my company already has a couple months of planning for the holiday season under our belt. Sounds a bit zealous, right? Well, as it turns out, not really. For big corporate companies like Walmart and BestBuy, planning six or more months in advance for the holidays is normal. Why isn’t the case the same for small businesses?
While it’s true big brands need more time to prep for the holidays because they’re operating at a large scale, there are still lots of reasons small businesses should start preparing for the season early, too. It’s like warming up before a big game. If you don’t do it, you won’t be able to play at your best.
What business doesn’t want to be at playing at their best when Christmas rolls around?
                                   Gray Thursday
Gray Thursday, aka Thanksgiving, has recently become a holiday shopping day in its own right. The nickname came about since Black Friday sales are starting earlier and earlier. Many large department and online retail stores are starting their sales on Thanksgiving evening.
Idea: Get some attention with a Gray Thursday giveaway. Invite your customers to write a short essay about the true meaning of Thanksgiving using an easy-to-build essay contest that invites fans to share what they’re most thankful for. The best response, chosen by you or by votes, wins a gift card to use on Gray Thursday or during the long weekend.
                                   Black Friday

Technically, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, although promotions and other sales typically continue throughout the rest of the long weekend.

Idea: To appeal to your on-the-go Black Friday shoppers, create a promo code app that works on mobile. How?  Take notes from Cinemark’s weekly concession coupon app. They used ShortStack’s Image Widget to embed an image of a scannable QR code (you could use a barcode, too). This allows customers to use their phones to redeem your store’s Black Friday deal from your app.

You could also create a Black Friday countdown app that on each day leading up to Black Friday reveals an exclusive coupon. On the last day of the countdown, fans can enter to win a prize. Use ShortStack’s new Black Friday Countdown/Reveal template to create your app.
                           Small Business Saturday

Large national brands used to be the businesses that won big during the post-Thanksgiving shopping period. Now, thanks to Mayor Michael Bloombergand American Express, small businesses have an opportunity, too. In 2010, they introduced Small Business Saturday to encourage consumers to spend their dollars supporting local small businesses. Every year, Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday.

In 2012, Consumers spent a whopping $5.5 billion at locally owned stores and restaurants on Small Business Saturday, according to Forbes. Wouldn’t you like a piece of that pie?

Idea: Visit to get free advertising and marketing materials for your small business.

How: Encourage and reward your customers for checking into your small business on Foursquare on Small Business Saturday. And use a Facebook app to advertise your store’s Foursquare deal.

Here’s one creative idea: A fitness center once ran a promotion that allowed each person who checked-in on Foursquare to bring a friend for a free class or a day pass. Tons of new people were introduced to the gym by their friends and many became new gym members. The gym promoted their Foursquare special on Facebook. You can use ShortStack’s Foursquare “Who Checked In” template to display Foursquare profiles of users who have checked into your business to take advantage of your offer. You could also use yelp to market and attract the same client.

                                  Cyber Monday

What: Cyber Monday is quickly becoming the biggest shopping day of the year. For online retailers, this day is huge as it appeals to the growing number  of consumers who prefer the convenience of online shopping to crowded in-store shopping.

Cyber Monday takes place on the Monday following Black Friday. In 2012, according to an IBM report, sales on Cyber Monday reached $1.98 billion, a 17 percent increase from 2011. As this shopping event gets bigger, online retailers must strategize for the day.

How: On Cyber Monday, the internet is ablaze with deals and promotions. So how can your business’s online deal not get ignored or forgotten? It’s simple: Use an RSVP app to remind your fans of your brand’s Cyber Monday sale. An RSVP app allows fans to easily put your sale into their Google Calendars directly from your Facebook Page.

                                  Giving Tuesday

After a long weekend of spending, Americans are encouraged to “give back” on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving.

Giving Tuesday is a one-day national effort to help charities raise money online during the holiday shopping season. The first Giving Tuesday was held in 2012 and 2,600 non-profit organizations received donations. This year, the day is expected to be even bigger. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Giving Tuesday became as renowned as Black Friday?

Idea: In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, use ShortStack’s Like Drive template to help raise money for your business’s charity of choice. Track the number of new Likes your Page receives on Giving Tuesday. For every new Like you get on the day, donate a dollar to your chosen charity.

MyIdeaology recommends for any holiday promotion you have a pre-promo plan, deploy multiple posts throughout the promotion, write a blog post press release, share on social media, use targeted Facebook ads and promote to your email list.
                                 It’s Not Too Late

There’s still time to start a social media campaign for the holidays. Whether you do a few simple things to “dress up” your brand for the holidays or commit to a full-on campaign, you have plenty of options.

Just look at your goals, your best platforms and your company. Then create unique and fun ways to get your brand and your audience into the holiday spirit. Remember to track your efforts so you can learn what to do and what not to do next year.

And if you need a little help, feel free to connect with me:


for appointments: Start Your Social Media being Social Today

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