It’s no secret that winter can be pretty dreary and painfully long but it does offer up a lot of joy during the holidays. As a brand, there are plenty of opportunities to sell, engage and inspire your audiences online but with so many family gatherings, parties and the desire to hibernate, when is best? As with any other time of the year, there are certain days of the week and certain times of the day that are best when it comes to gaining the attention of your followers. It’s also important to remember that every platform is different, not only in regards to what they offer but also how users engage with brands on those platforms.
Do you have any tips for businesses that want to engage audiences online during the winter?
Do you find you engage more or less with brands on social during the colder months?
Social media platforms will be a major source of information and persuasion for this year’s holiday shoppers, and many consumers will turn to their social networks to help them navigate through the online crowds. Online shopping is the key retail trend to follow, as more are turning to their devices in order to help them make informed purchase decisions. With the stress, time-constraints, and strict budgets associated with the holidays, it’s no surprise that social media will play a huge role in businesses hoping to maximize their profits during the last quarter of the 2011 fiscal year.
Whether they’re comparing prices, reading reviews, or actively making purchases, the average holiday shopper plans to do 46% of their holiday shopping online, according to the latest research conducted by the National Retail Institute.
The same survey also found that 29.2% of consumers (that’s nearly 3 in 10) will check out a company’s Facebook page for more information about products, consumer reviews, or holiday promotions, while 65.1% plan on reading customer reviews on a company’s website. A similar survey conducted by the marketing research firm, SymphonyIRI, breaks down exactly how consumers plan on using the Internet during the 2011 holiday season. 61% of consumers will use more coupons from group couponing websites (as opposed to only 33% in 2010), 48% will take advantage of promotions learned online, and 43% plan on comparing products online via blogs, forums, and other social platforms.
According to Deloitte’s 2011 Holiday Survey, 44% of consumers will use social media as part of their holiday shopping process. Below is a breakdown of how consumers plan on using social media:
As a business, how can you use social media to help you maximize your success during the 2011 holiday season?
Update Is The New “Up Sell”
It is extremely important to keep consumers up to date on all the latest promotions, discounts, one-time deals, and exciting new product linesas holiday shoppers are in hot pursuit of deals, reviews and coupons. By continuously pushing new updates across your social platforms you can easily increase your business’ presence by staying relevant with key search words. In addition, a frenzy of updates will filter through the viral tunnel which will ultimately send more people in your business’ direction.
Integrate your social posts with your other online advertising communications (such as emails, banners etc). This allows for instant feedback and analytics that can help optimize conversation and response rates by responding to your customer’s needs and preferences in real time.
Don’t Just Entice Customers With Your Promotions, Engage Them
Spread the news about your unique promotions (Clickz suggests activities such as: gift registries, holiday countdowns, and price altering) through your social networks. By adding opt-in and registration opportunities, like Facebook tabs, you can easily drive value and add engagement while at the same time growing your databases for more effective conversations even after the holidays.
Respond With Rewards
Incorporate incentives such as exclusive offers and loyalty events for social community members. Make a reward available for those consumers who engage with your holiday campaigns and who help to spread the word.
Integrate The Ability To Make Purchases
46.7% of holiday shoppers will buy online this year, so why not use those online purchases to leverage your social media platforms? Use your Facebook page to offer purchasing opportunities (this is known as F-commerce). Clickz also suggests using your social platforms to create social events around big commerce events, like “Chat With The Designer”.
So, get to where your consumers are this holiday season. Respond to the latest trends and shifts in holiday shopping behaviors, and leverage your social media presence in order to maximize your profits in the fourth quarter and beyond. Remember, you need to keep your consumers up-to-date with fresh, exciting content, and compelling, unique promotions, as this year’s holiday shoppers are all about price discounts, product reviews, and comparative shopping. There are also a number of many creative ways to extend your success and capitalize on conversions by incorporating your existing social platforms. If you’re overwhelmed by these tasks, or are in unsure of how your business fits in with this new holiday shopping model, turn to the experts here at Blab! For suggestions, strategies and executions.
Tis the season for travel (and unfortunately, airport lineups and flight delays). With people from all over the world scrambling to fly home for the holidays, travelling can quickly lose its appeal when a snowstorm delays your flight and you find yourself sleeping overnight in an airport using your luggage as a pillow. Luckily, if you’re the proud owner of a smart phone, you can use this helpful guide of apps to pass time between vending machine meals and make your temporary stay, a little less painful.
1. Skype (FREE) – There’s no better way to cheer up than calling a friend or family member and sharing a smile and some good conversation. It’s free to join and you can make calls to anyone in the world with a Skype account. You also have the option of calling landlines and cell phones for a small charge
2. Wi-Fi Finder 2.0.1 (FREE) – Interested in surfing the Internet aimlessly to burn some time? Chances are the answer is yes and luckily for you, this app will help you find a good connection nearby. You can download a complete directory of free Wi-Fi spots in the US and it even works without a data connection. Keep in mind this app works best in populated cities because that’s typically where you’re more likely to find free (and paid) Wi-Fi connections.
3. Word Lens ($5.00) – There’s nothing worse than being stuck in an airport where all the signs are in a language you don’t understand! Word Lens instantly translates printed words from one language to another, using your phone’s built in video camera, in real time! There are different language options to choose from so no matter where you find yourself during the holiday season, you’ll always be able to navigate efficiently.
4. Apple iBooks (FREE – books vary in price) – With airline luggage costs soaring, it’s hard to bring along your favourite reading materials without sacrificing your first born child as payment. Now you can download some of your favourite books and read them right on your phone. iBooks organizes all your titles, allows you to bookmark and set notations. It’s a great way to catch up on your reading while on the go!
5. Postman ($2.99) – What better way to share your experience of being stranded in an airport? Create custom postcards with photos and text and share them through email, web, Twitter and Facebook! You customize everything right down to the font so there’s no doubt that this app is a great way to pass time and share some of your magical holiday moments captured while waiting at gate 7.
6. Airport Maps ($2.99) – Navigate around the airport more effectively with this app that shows you where to find food, a comfortable spot to sit, or a few stores to browse through while you’re waiting. It offers coverage of 61 major North American airports providing airport maps and even terminal maps so you can find what you’re looking for fast!
7. iChristmas Tree ($0.99) – Take some time from sleeping on an airport bench to celebrate the holiday season and decorate your very own Christmas tree right from your phone! Choose from many ornament options, decorate your tree, take a snapshot and share your creation with friends and family.
8. Angry Birds ($0.99) – Is it really necessary to type an explanation? In case you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, now would be a great time to try out the game the whole world is talking about! It’s simple, addictive, and highly time consuming. We recommend playing near an outlet since chances are, you’ll kill your battery before you snap out of the comatose state hours later.
9. Next Flight ($2.99) – Want to make sure you beat that annoying woman and her screaming child onto the next available flight? Use this app to plug in your origin, destination, and departure date for a list of available non-stop flights from more than 1200 carriers for the current and following day. You can find all the flight details you need without fighting to view an airport monitor. Avoiding chaos, priceless.
10. Christmas Sudoku ($0.99) – A popular game with a Christmas twist! This puzzle will have you starting tournaments with strangers while you wait for your flight. It gives you the option of playing with Christmas goodies or numbers and will definitely get you thinking! It’s a great way to pass time and exercise your brain for the holidays!
The Christmas season always brings many different re-enactments of the birth of Jesus from nativity figurines to school plays. But what if the Nativity were to happen today in the age of technology?
Designed by Portugal-based media company ExcentricPT, The Digital Story of the Nativity is a viral video that answers that very question. It’s a seasonal video that tells the story of the nativity through Foursquare checkins, Facebook status’, Google searches, emails, and online shopping. It appears to be inspired by Google’s Parisian-based commercial that was launched in February during the Super Bowl and told the story of a courtship through Google searches. Just proof that viral ideas can stay ripe for parody months after they launch.
Get in the Christmas spirit and see what the immaculate conception would have been like if Mary had an iPhone.