Holiday marketing season is in full swing, and it’s a lot to keep track of. Most brands ramp up their social media marketing this time of year, including the number of both their paid and organic campaigns.
This time of year often means increased site traffic and high sales potential, and we want to capitalize on all of it. With the bigger workload and the chaos the holiday season brings, working smarter is essential, and that means high quality, reliable marketing tools.
These are the 5 tools you need to prepare for your holiday marketing.
1. Social Media Management Software
I normally recommend that brands of all sizes (including one-person LLCs) use social media management software. These tools are designed to let you manage your social media profiles and posts from multiple platforms in one dashboard. They typically include features that let you draft and schedule posts ahead of time, assign tasks to team members, monitor and respond to user engagement, and evaluate social performance over time.
This time of year, we typically see peaks in user engagement. This includes users commenting on posts, leaving reviews, and sending private messages. Social media management software can consolidate the engagement (both public and private) all in one place. This makes responding to users unbelievably faster, and it ensures that no one slips through the cracks when you’re juggling multiple platforms. The scheduling tools let you plan your campaigns far in advance, and schedule posts so you don’t have to update them manually when you’re in the middle of the holiday rush.
Hootsuite is typically my go-to recommendation because it’s adaptable to businesses of all sizes. This means that it’s scalable as your business or brand grows, which is a huge benefit. It’s got all the features listed above.
As always, don’t forget to use AdEspresso to manage your paid ad campaigns, so you don’t miss out on a single sale.
2. Contest Software
Throwing a contest on social media can ramp up engagement. It also gives you the opportunity to promote certain products (especially if they’re prizes). Using contests with big prizes this time of year can help you stand out from other businesses.
You can run social media contests without any contest software, but they won’t be nearly as effective. Contest apps like Wishpond and Shortstack are easy to use and effective. They have fast and beautiful landing pages that you can use to capture real lead information in addition to engagement, and you can more effortlessly promote your content on more platforms. A “Facebook contest” or “Instagram contest” can become a “social contest” with landing pages shared across multiple social media sites.
3. Chatbot Creators
Imagine having a tool that could handle a large number of initial customer messages that ask about things like tracking their package or warranty information. Chatbots can do exactly this, and can be programmed to instantly respond to private Facebook messages. With the drastic increase of customer service inquiries most brands face this time of year, chatbots are a huge asset.
Pandorabots and Chatbot.me are two easy-to-use tools that allow you to create a chatbot. They’re both extremely user-friendly (even for my technologically-challenged fellows). Pandorabots is my choice for features and programming ability. Remember to program your chatbots to pass along customer service inquiries to actual people if it can’t answer your clients’ questions.
Some chatbots go one step further beyond handling customer inquiries and can actually drive sales. Read more about chatbots and how to use them here.
4. Instagram Selling Storefronts
Instagram’s visual focus and high engagement make it an incredible platform to sell on, but their no-links-but-the-profile-link format hinders that just a bit. Instagram selling tools can remedy this.
There’s many selling tools that turn Instagram in a virtual storefront, and giving customers the ability to purchase quickly from your feed during the high-demand holiday season can only be beneficial.
HavetoHave.It and Like2Buy are two of the most popular selling tools. They turn your singular profile link into a virtual storefront. These storefronts are shoppable, curated content that matches the content you shared on Instagram. Some of these tools can by synced up with Shopify to help you keep track of your inventory.
Since you want to make purchases as easy as possible to make (especially this time of year), Instagram selling tools can be exceptionally valuable.
Maximize the selling power of Instagram by using Instagram Ads to send users to designated landing pages. Instagram is also testing the ability to post links in stories, but it will take some time before we get access.
5. Hashtag Researching Tools
Instagram and Twitter rely heavily on hashtags, and being able to identify and create perfect holiday hashtags for your brand can make or break your campaigns. Researching hashtags can give you a strong understanding of what will perform well and what hashtags users are excited to attach to their own posts. Lots of brands benefit from having holiday-specific hashtags associated with their name.
Hashtag researching tools make this significantly easier; they can help you see whether you want to come up with a Christmas pun or focus on traditions like #uglysweatercontests instead.
Hashtagify is my favorite hashtag researching tool. You can type in a word and see the most commonly used hashtags associated with it. This can give you some new ideas that you hadn’t thought of, and it’s extremely effective. Each of the associated hashtags is clickable, so you can click to see more associations. This can help you develop a creative but relevant holiday hashtag (and campaign) for your brand to boost engagement and UGC.
Most brands experience massive increases in social engagement, site traffic, sales, and customer service inquiries during the holiday season. The incredible social media marketing tools discussed in this post are valuable year-round but are exceptionally important during this busy season of the year. These five tools you need to prepare for holiday marketing are high quality, reliable, and ideal for brands of all sizes.
What do you think? Have you used any of the tools we mentioned? Which tools do you use to prepare for the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!