How to Run a Successful Christmas Social Media Contest

Christmas Tree (3)Whether your seasonal social media marketing campaigns have been established for some time or you’ve only just got them up and running, expanding your engagement plans will benefit your company greatly over the run up to the big day. Alongside exciting content, you need to be able to keep your followers interested during December as many other retailers and organisations up their game.

In this article we consider how to run a successful social media contest in the run up to Christmas.

1. Choose Your Platform

Before getting creative with your social media contest it is important to decide which platform you will be launching it on. If you’ve chosen to gain user-generated posts then image-sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest may work best, whereas contests that depend on sharing or commenting will lend themselves better to Facebook or Twitter. It is also possible to navigate away from social media altogether and focus on sending out email-gated contests in which you use the client base you’ve collected and send out festive competitions via email.

Choosing the platform that you feel reflects the nature of the social media contest and the audience you are looking to target will enable success in the number of participants and reaction.

2. Target Your Market

Knowing what appeals to your target customer is the best way to gauge the kind of contest will work best for your business. If your customer base has an age range between 18 and 44, Instagram, with over Target Your Customers150 million global users you are likely to reach the right kind of people. Facebook and Twitter still seem universal to most age groups and with customers aged between 45 and 54 as the fastest growing user demographic for Facebook, certain businesses may benefit from sticking to that site.

3. Plan

Before you figure out how your users are going to gain access to your prize you’ll need to decide what you’re going to give the lucky winners. During the festive season, many retailers stick to gift vouchers or the year’s best-selling item from their inventory.

Some larger retailers, like Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, have used Pinterest in the past as a way to learn more about a customer’s spending habits. ‘Dear Santa’ contests have become popular where users are given the option to pin their favourite item from the retailer’s new collection in the hope that they will be chosen to win that item. These are brilliant as it also allows them to get a better insight into the tastes of their customers.

Selfie contests are increasingly popular amongst social media marketers at this time of year. Don’t underestimate the power of them. During Coca Cola’s campaign last summer, customers were invited to post photographs of them holding a bottle with their name written on the label. That campaign was one of the biggest of 2013.

4. Launch & Promote

Once you’ve planned what kind of contest you are going to use and where you’re going to be posting it, it’s time to launch and promote it. Spread the word through each of your online presences – social media platforms, Twitter birdemail, company website and blog, not only will this promote the contest itself but expand your visibility across these networks. Writing brief articles or blog posts with a direct link to the contest will make it easier and more enticing for your followers to enter.

Creating a hashtag relating specifically to your social media contest will make it easier for you to collate details and pick a winner and will promote the engagement that you’re looking to get out of it. Make sure to add this hashtag to each promotion of the contest.

5. Follow Up

Your social media marketing campaign shouldn’t stop as soon as the contest closes. It is important to nurture and build on the relationships that have been created with your audience after the closing date.

Whether you’re choosing your winner at random, through a panel of judges or a public vote, notify them via email or publicly with an @mention. Share the winning entry on your social media platforms and promote it on your company website.

To “Wrap” Up…

Social media contests are great for adding engagement and consumer interaction to your content. Collecting data on what did and didn’t work for your contest after its closed will allow you to decide what to do next.

Do you have any tips for running a successful social media contest? Please leave your comments below…

A Guide to Last-Minute Christmas Social Media Campaigns

canstockphoto7493198With the convenience and ubiquity of social media, marketers are able to transfer ideas instantly to the eyes of a business’ followers. Although some may have rolled out their Christmas social media campaigns months ago, it is not too late.

In this post we consider some of the best ways to inject a little holiday spirit into your social media just in time for the big day.

1. Promote Events & Offers

Lots of exciting things are sure to happen during the festive season, whether it’s a lights turn-on, Christmas party or gift sale incorporating it into your social media is great for promoting your event or offer to your followers. Adding images to your promotional posts will enable the readers to get as excited about it as you.

Posting holiday-related updates on any of your channels will expand your Christmas social media campaign. Try working to the strengths of each of the platforms – if you have some nice images of your Christmas tree use Instagram, if you’d like to show off your light display how about Vine, Youtube or Twitter?

2. Inspire Your Followers

With Christmas being one of the biggest holidays in the western world, writing blog posts and incorporating updates that inspire your followers canstockphoto14766616will really top up your engagement figures. As most social media users respond better to visual content, share images that relate to the industry you work in – from beauty, to transport, to travel – and graphics that inspire potential customers to want to get involved with what you have to offer. Pinterest is perfect for this kind of strategy as all content generated on the site is visual.

With the New Year only days away from the Christmas festivities, why not allow yourself time to promote any potential trends for the year?

3. Have Fun!

In the words of Andy Williams, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, remember that when you’re updating your Christmas social media campaign. Adding hints of Christmas to your existing sites in the form of new profile pictures and banners will really inject that little bit of holiday spirit and coincide with any fun updates you’re planning on posting.

4. Integrate User-Generated Content

One of the biggest rules for social media marketing is not to overdo it. A combination of promotional posts relevant to your company’s products or services as well as fun and engaging posts will stop followers from getting bored, and ultimately, unfollowing you.

canstockphoto16713355As engagement fits perfectly into the spirit of the season, why not ask questions to your followers – What are their favourite cracker jokes? Do they have any turkey cooking tips? How have they decorated their houses this year? Getting involved with your existing and potential customers will keep you memorable.

Alongside these kinds of questions, why not open photo contests? Very popular at this time of year, you are able to gain knowledge of your customers’ tastes as well as a substantial following.

5. Schedule Your ‘Merry Christmases’

No one wants to spend Christmas day writing a festive messages to their followers when they could be unwrapping their presents. Nobody expects a brand to be particularly active on the big day but scheduling a message of goodwill, whether on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn will enable you to keep your customer’s minds on your company while they plan their January sales shopping.

To “Wrap” Up…

Spreading the cheer over the festive period with fun as well as relevant updates is the best way to reward your customers and build a better following for the New Year. Getting others involved in the content that you generate will also endorse your brand and show them that you really care.

Do you have any tips for great Christmas social media campaigns? Please leave your comments below…

Make the Most of Your Christmas SEO During the Festive Period

Christmas SEOWith Christmas just around the corner and the volume of retail enquiries due to double over the next few weeks, getting your SEO right is vital. With more people than ever using the internet to do their shopping and compare service prices, it’s time to make the most of your Christmas SEO.

1. Target Local Services

With an estimated one in five people doing all of their Christmas shopping online, targeting your local area may be the best option. Tweaking your PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns during the festive season is a great way of upping sales. Pausing your usual, year-round campaigns and opting instead for Christmas –themed ones. Think beyond your PPC; include holiday keywords on your website homepage and social media profiles. Use your adverts to endorse your promotions here and really show your products in the best way possible.

2. Get Creative with your Promotions

So Black Friday’s gone, Cyber Monday’s vanished; now it’s time for Christmas Offersserious sales-driven focus. Everybody loves a sale or a promotion so make a big deal of it. Why not create a give-away campaign or photo contest? Social media is brilliant for promoting any kind of service and works especially well with these engaging campaigns – try Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest on top of the usual Facebook and Twitter to gain a wider reach.

3. Hashtags all the Way!

Hashtags are always a great way of getting people engaged on social media – whether it’s through sharing content or getting involved with a conversation. Why not create a custom Christmas hashtag specific to your product or promotions? #MontythePenguin has already captured the hearts of the nation this year so why not give it a run for its money with a similarly memorable and exciting hashtag.

4. Up your Christmas Game

Make everything you do for the rest of the month as Christmassy as possible. Why not change your social media icons, banners, profile pictures and website headers? Go all out. Deck the halls and the pages with as many hats, bells and holly berries that you feel comfortable with. Adding specific Christmas-themed keywords to PPC adverts and Meta descriptions will make it easier for people to find your business during the festive season. You may sell gift sets all year round but during December target Christmas shoppers. Small things like this will not only add to your SEO but show your customers your Christmas spirit, enabling them to find you easily during searches.  

canstockphoto67105175. Think Multi-Device

Mobile and Tablet usage has sky-rocketed in recent years; above all make sure that your website is responsive to these devices. No one wants to be redirected to a webpage where you need to zoom out and move clumsily around the site, this might put individuals off actually purchasing your products or services.

To “Wrap” Up…

Injecting a little cheer into your Christmas SEO strategy will really boost visibility online. Targeting local areas, especially nearing the big day may be incredibly beneficial to companies due to postage or accessibility.

Your Guide to Picking Blog Topics

Untidy, messy desk - overwork concept

With over 42.6 million new posts published on WordPress every month and 77% of internet users reading them, blogging is still a strong force to be reckoned with by small and large businesses alike. The addition of a couple of blog posts relevant to your business or products can be really useful for building an interested customer base and promoting your brand’s reach.

We understand that sometimes it can be a little daunting to come up with blog topics, here are our favourite tips for beating writer’s block.

1. Make it Relevant

If your blog posts will be published on a company website it is important to keep them as relevant as possible to the primary subject or industry. A general rule is that if people are looking for the company website they’re probably looking to learn something about a topic similar to it.

If you’re looking to build a blog on your own, something apart from your work life look at writing about topics that interest you, whether that’s Mediterranean food or nail art. Condensing the themes that you write about down to a minimum will keep your blog concise, link your posts and give you lots of opportunities to delve into further relatable subjects.

2. Create a Conversation with your Topic

Like all aspects of social media, creating a relationship with your followers is a Pen (fountain)great way of promoting your blog and getting some good old fashioned feedback. It’s helpful to pick a topic that you can talk about openly; maybe even something where you know there will be different opinions available. Ask your readers what they think or whether they have any further tips.

With widespread subjects such as marketing, your readers have probably seen everything before. Try expanding your approach so you are able to debate with others. A healthy debate is a great way of engaging with your readership and remaining memorable. Enable the comment section of your blog to encourage this and who knows, you may even gain a new customer!

3. Discuss Current News Topics

Current news topics are brilliant fodder for blog posts. Researching the topic beforehand will help you gain a better perspective on what’s happening. Reporting these stories will encourage a dialogue and keep your readers engaged. It may also gain more traffic as shared news stories tend to do better than guides or tips.

4. Answer Questions

Most internet searches start with a question and the need to be guided to the correct answer, use this to your advantage when choosing a blog post topic. Are there any questions that you would like to be answered? Think about the subjects you encounter on a daily basis, whether industry or product related and give your readers followers worth reading.

To Wrap Up…

It’s vital to pick a topic which will interest your followers, using a common theme within your blog will not only create a cohesive structure but entice users to return.

Do you have any tips for picking blog topics? Please leave your comments below…