The holidays are right around the corner, especially if you are a marketer, and moving at the speed of social means you can't simply cut and paste last year's social marketing plan into this year's plan. While getting above the noise is foundational to success, it is just that. A foundation. Simply blitzing consumers with sales, discounts, and similar promotions makes it difficult to differentiate your brand amongst the rest. Instead, sales and promotions should be used strategically to build ongoing consumer relationships via social media.
This article will share three distinct ways marketers can rise above the noise by recognizing and rewarding consumers in a strategic bid to grow their share of voice this holiday season.
1) Offer early access to sales programs for loyal customers.
For those of you who have a loyalty program, socialize that list by offering your loyal customers early access to sales programs. People love being rewarded for their loyalty and early access to the best deals is a terrific way to reward your loyalists. They feel special for getting an early invitation (get it before the masses do) and serves to reinforce the positive image they already have of your brand. If you do not have a loyalty program, this is a good time to identify your brand's social influencers and reward them in the same fashion. They will likely return the favor by sharing the event-and their favorite finds-on social media. In the process, you will grow your share of voice among the most powerful of your customers-happy, loyal customers, and give sales an early kick-start as well.
2) Provide extra services or add-ons to activated users.
Hate the idea of loading all the kids in the car on Black Friday? Need an extra hand wrapping, cleaning, or cooking? Name the peeve that comes with the holidays and chances are your customers have it, too. This is a potential opportunity to provide extra services or add-ons to reward activated customers, thereby encouraging and rewarding their social reach and engagement. Extras also give consumers the warm feelings we talked about in #1. All of which leads to good feelings about your brand, products, and services, which in turn lead to growing word of mouth both on and offline. Work with your product/service team to identify add-ons that complement your holiday brand messages. You can also survey consumers now about their biggest holiday headaches and devise ways to help whether that be an emergency poultry cooking guide or free shopping and gift wrapping services.
3) Reward consumers who integrate your product or service into their social holiday experience.
Most importantly, reward those consumers who are not just tweeting about your sale or promotion, but who are talking about how they've used your product or service in the context of their holiday experience. It's one thing for a customer to post, "40 percent off IKEA glassware" to their timeline and another thing altogether for them to share a photo of family around the dinner table with a post, "Toasting 2014 with my new IKEA glassware." This not only shows consumers the product or service in action, but gives them a vision for how it can be used in their daily lives. It evokes an emotion and connects your brand with that emotion. While this has been the goal of user-generated content for some time, it has often been solicited in exchange for a specific contest or promotion, rather than as part of an ongoing loyalty rewards program.
And that's the real opportunity here-to reward loyalty customers via social and grow your social holiday voice. Because of the public nature of social media (versus traditional email communication,)in the process of rewarding loyal customers, you can acquire and convert new activated consumers to become part of your loyalty program who see what their friends are doing. Loyal customers want to communicate with your brand (90 percent according to L2 Research) and social is an ideal way to do that, especially during the holidays when everyone is on social and mobile. Do all of this, and in the process you will not only grow your share of voice this holiday season, but do it in a way that furthers meaningful relationships with fans, followers, and brand loyalists.