Dominate Your Competitors This Holiday Season With An Unforgettable Social Media Campaign

Dominate Your Competitors This Holiday Season With An Unforgettable Social Media Campaign

Buyers have already started their holiday shopping crusades to find the perfect gifts for family and friends. From window shopping to online browsing, consumers are looking for discounts and unique products.

To aid their search, 52% of buyers will use social media when holiday shopping to locate product deals, read customer reviews, and learn more about brands.

Shoppers are expected to make 82 million searches for gifts on Pinterest. Moreover, these social savvy buyers tend to spend 2x more than the general public.

To help you build a worthwhile social media campaign, I’ve outlined four strategies you can try below.

1. Use Visuals to Drive Emotion

Can you remember the last impulse buy you made? How did the imagery of the product make you feel?

Research reveals that 50% of every buying decision is driven by emotion. However, 89% of customers feel no personal connection to the brands from which they buy.

Most companies falter when showing emotion to their consumers because they lack a brand personality—a set of human characteristics attributed to a brand name. These businesses operate like inanimate objects that merely function to complete a transaction.

Instead, you must embody the traits of your consumers—laugh, cry, and rejoice. These qualities include sharing opinions on the latest trends and becoming a trusted resource for customers. Personable companies outshine the competition and build authentic connections with buyers. So, loosen up and get real with your customers.

More than 80% of people only skim the content they read online. Visuals are effective attention-getters, catching people’s eyes as they scan through lots of material.

Colored visuals increase people's willingness to read content by 80%. Visual storytelling displays your brand’s emotion and encourages greater consumer engagement.

“Using compelling visual content to tell or extend your story sparks emotion in your audience. It’s that emotion that inspires trust and loyalty. Telling a story that connects with your audience could mean sharing a single captivating picture, an entire album or even a video,” writes Anna Francis, content manager at My Social Agency.

Why not give your social media campaign life this holiday season by showcasing universal images that invoke positive emotions? Most consumers want to see warm and fuzzy objects like jingle bells, snowflakes, sleds, and red ribbons.

Furthermore, the holidays are about spending quality time with loved ones. Post photos of family members enjoying a laugh at a party, or a person exchanging gifts with someone.

In the Instagram post below, Seattle’s Best Coffee highlights its product with a red mug, a decorated gingerbread house, and lights in the background.

IMAGE VIA SEATTLE’S BEST COFFEE

For an added bonus, move consumers toward your brand by including a call-to-action in each post. You can accomplish this by encouraging fans to click the website link in your Instagram bio.

During the holidays, shoppers will be bombarded with a multitude of advertisements, promotions, and sale invitations. And who wants to be just another company overwhelming the consumer?

Instead, you can use Pinterest boards to visually display gift ideas for shoppers. With this technique, your consumer can find exactly what he or she needs quickly. If interested in learning more, the buyer can simply click on the pin for additional product information.

IMAGE VIA HOME DEPOT

Eighty percent of Pinterest’s traffic comes from mobile devices. The Shopify Plus platform is native to mobile buying for Pinterest users—making it easier for consumers to checkout and pay for products.

To drive more sales, Kim Garst, founder of Boom! Social, suggests adding price tags on all your product photos. She says:

“There’s no need to hide the fact that you’re an ecommerce site; in fact, product shots with price tags generally receive higher click-throughs on Pinterest than those without.”

2. Experiment with Social Commerce

Adweek reports that social commerce represented 5% of online retail revenue in 2015, or $14 billion—in the first year that social commerce was introduced. So, it’s worth testing this new channel during the holiday shopping season.

Social commerce capitalizes on the consumer's desire to engage in impulse buying. The shopper sees the perfect holiday gift on social media (perhaps from an attention-grabbing photo) and wants to take action immediately.

Social buy buttons give consumers the convenience to react on these impulses by reducing the steps to checkout and keeping the buying experience native to the social media platform.

“The first step is to identify the networks your customers use – you can get this information from a simple survey – and (if you can) overlay it with sales data to find which networks your most profitable customers use,” says Alec Bertram, co-founder of Allotment Digital.

Also, take note that the top five purchases inspired by images on social networks are clothing and fashion, gifts, home decor, food and drink, and accessories. Knowing where and what to sell helps increase your potential revenue with social commerce.

Shopify Plus merchants can sell their products directly to their customers on Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Pinterest. From discovery to checkout, their followers receive a seamless shopping experience—which is essential for holiday shoppers with limited schedules.

MVMT Watches saw social commerce as an opportunity for its company. Instead of luring consumers to its website to browse products, the brand decided to open a shop at the top of its page. The initial results included 1,500 visits to the shop page and an additional $15,000+ in revenue.

And a recent study found that Pinterest users’ average order value from a Buyable Pin is $123.50. In the Shopify Plus store, all your pinned products automatically become Buyable Pins, making it easy for your team to set up.


Purchasing items from social media is still a fairly new concept for shoppers. To urge consumers to participate in social commerce, you can demonstrate the ease of the experience with a quick video tutorial and assure shoppers of the security of their credit card information.

“Consumers already use social media to discover and talk about products and services. By keeping transactions contained within the world of that social network, brands can get immediate feedback on the items they're selling,” writes Nicole Fallon Taylor, assistant editor of Business News Daily.

Now, let’s take a look at the benefits of enlisting the help of your most loyal consumers to provide images and product feedback for your campaign.

3. Ask for User-Generated Content & Reviews

Studies reveal that “92% of consumers worldwide say they trust word-of-mouth more than advertising.” That’s because consumers respect the opinions of fellow buyers to provide honest input about products.

User-generated content offers a unique perspective on your products because they can visually show and tell others about their personal unboxing experience and even how they benefit from your items.

In today's society, UGC sheds light on the positives and negatives of their shopping experiences.

“User-generated content is a staple of most ecommerce websites. Consumers want to share their feedback, and these humanizing reports about products and services are trusted by other shoppers,” says Kimberlee Morrison, a freelance writer and editor.

Consumers between the ages of 25 and 54 contribute 70% of all UGC. They are the tastemakers and influencers offering reviews on what’s hot and not in the market. So, don't feel reluctant to ask people to contribute content.

But asking for UGC comes at a cost. Consumers expect something in return for their efforts—discounts, swag, or exclusive access to new inventory.

Furthermore, you need to seek customers who have a passion for your brand and the skills to capture compelling visuals and offer descriptive quotes about your products.

Pepsi MAX created a UGC campaign encouraging customers to share pictures on Instagram on why they prefer its brand over Coke. The best entries received various prizes, including TVs, gift cards, and a year’s supply of free Pepsi MAX.

The campaign generated more than 7,000 entries, and the brand’s site received over 50,000 unique visits—with the average visitor staying for almost six minutes.

When acquiring UGC, ensure your team is part of the creative process. For example, during the holiday season, most buyers seek gift ideas to aid their shopping efforts.

Here’s an example from a Birchbox customer (below). Ania tweeted a link to her gift ideas along with an image of the brand’s products.

IMAGE VIA TWITTER

Ensure that the photos invoke emotion and entice people to buy right from your social media page. GoPro’s customers submit riveting images, making the viewer crave the experience.

IMAGE VIA GOPRO

“After you launch your campaign, don’t forget to jump onto your social networks and engage with fans who are submitting content. Thank them and compliment them on their submissions, or start a dialogue to keep the conversation going. You can even try to encourage fans to engage with each other,” states Justin Garrity, AVP of Postano.

Remember that UGC is a way to continue the conversation with your targeted audience.

4. Host Creative Competitions

Online contests have shown to acquire a 34% audience increase on average. Competitions draw consumers to your brand because people like the chance to win.

The best contests provoke consumers to do something now, rather than later. The immediacy appeals to our human fear of missing out on a prize.

“Urgency compels people to take action immediately. An exciting competition is one which stirs buzz and anticipation in participants. How to achieve this? Set a time-limit on all your contests,” states James Dickerson, CEO and founder of Crush Campaigns.

You can spark a viral buzz this holiday season by actively engaging on social media. For example, elicit responses from your customers by asking questions and requesting that they submit specific UGC. Make the competition worth their time by offering a free product sample or gift card.

Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Contest reminds participants to spread the holiday spirit by decorating the brand’s signature red cups. Customers enter the competition by creatively designing the red Starbucks cup and posting the photos on Instagram with #RedCupContest.

Then, the brand selects the best entry that showcases beauty, artfulness, and individuality, and five winners receive $500 gift cards. Within the first 48 hours of the contest launching, consumers shared a photo of a Starbucks holiday cup every 14 seconds.

IMAGE VIA SALESFORCE

Snapchat is also an effective platform for engaging with your busy shoppers. You can send 10-second conversational stories announcing a sale or highlighting the availability of new products.

For example, Amazon employees carved pumpkins and shared their Halloween creations on Snapchat. They asked followers to screenshot their favorites. While this type of competition doesn’t offer any tangible incentive, it does spark the consumer’s curiosity to learn if her selection is the winner—thus, increasing engagement with the brand.

IMAGE VIA CONSTANT CONTACT

“Just be sure you’re aware of the social media platform’s Terms of Service, as well as any local rules and restrictions, surrounding contests. The last thing you want is for your holiday giveaway to be shut down after running afoul of local laws,” writes Sujan Patel, growth marketer and co-founder of Web Profits.

Let holiday competitions bring fun-filled emotion to your next campaign and use it as a stimulus to drive social commerce.

Memorable Social Media Campaigns

Business is tough during the holiday season. You can use social media to gain your customer’s attention and outsmart your competition.

Remember to add visuals to elicit emotion from your shoppers. Persuade buyers with user-generated content. And host competitions to spark brand awareness.

Boost holiday sales. Build unforgettable social media campaigns.

About the Author

Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter: @shaylaprice.