Shoppers are playing it smart this holiday season. They aren’t willing to wander around aimlessly in big box stores hoping the perfect gift magically presents itself. Instead, shoppers are checking social media sites for inspiration, which means small businesses have an opportunity to cash in on a shopper’s virtual wandering.
To capitalize on the holiday shopping season, start by sprucing up your Facebook page, says social media strategist Joan Barrett. “A well-crafted holiday promotion on Facebook has a lot of potential,” she says.
Her company, The Content Factory, helps small businesses with content creation and social media promotions. “I’ve seen small businesses sell out of certain inventory because of a Facebook promotion. It all depends on the time and effort invested.”
If you’re looking to attract gift-givers through your company Facebook page, Barrett offers these tips:
Change the cover photo
It’s time to swap out your generic cover art for a holiday-themed photo, Barrett says. While it sounds simple, a lot of businesses don’t do it. “An eye-catching photo is a good way to get shoppers thinking,” she says. “A high-quality picture of your product in use may convince some holiday shoppers to give your product as a gift.”
Bottle Your Brand, a company that makes customized labels for products like wine, has a good example of seasonal cover art:
Throw a holiday contest
A contest or giveaway is on Barrett’s holiday list. These kinds of promotions can boost your social media presence and increase your long-term sales.
“Everybody is looking for a good deal around the holidays so a contest or a giveaway can draw crowds,” she says. “However, you need to make sure it’s worthy of your customers’ time. Go all out, don’t cut corners on these promotions.”
For example, one of Barrett’s e-retailer clients is giving away a $250 gift card through its Facebook page. In order to enter the giveaway, customers must like the page first. “In the first two days of this promotion, the company gained hundreds of new fans,” Barrett says. “These new fans could turn into loyal customers in the coming months.” Always check Facebook’s promotion guidelines before launching any contest on the social media network to make sure you don’t break any rules.
Use Facebook to promote holiday content
Even if your ultimate goal is to boost sales, use your Facebook page to promote content on your blog, Barrett says. “Turn clicks into sales by driving customers back to your company blog,” she says. “Write a few holiday-themed articles that are useful to your customers and include product links.”
For example, Barrett’s company wrote a blog post for Find.com that offers tips to create the perfect holiday table. Within the post there are links to purchasable products like waterproof tablecloths. “Use Facebook to tease content like this,” Barrett says. “It’s a great way to convert fans into paying customers.”
Promote charitable giving
If your small business is making a donation of time or money this holiday season, mention it on Facebook, Barrett says.
“I know small businesses don’t sponsor a charity for self-promotion purposes, but it’s okay to let your customers know you’re giving back,” Barrett says. “Customers love human companies. In other words, these kinds of actions show customers the face behind the company and it resonates with people.”
Maynard’s restaurant in Minnesota is donating proceeds from one day of sales to a local food pantry. The company created a Facebook event to promote its charitable giving, which is something Barrett suggests doing. Posting pictures of the event is a good idea too.
Some small businesses will see a spike in holiday sales because of Facebook promotions, but business owners shouldn’t just focus on short-term effects, Barrett says. The number of new customers you reach through holiday promotions is just as important to your long-term sales growth.
This post contributed by guest author, Lisa Furgison. Furgison is a media maven with ten years of journalism experience and a passion for creating top-notch content.