Is your holiday social media ready for the most wonderful time of the year? If not, you’re probably not thinking wonderful thoughts.
The reality is that your brand will see increases in …
- Pre-and-post purchase messaging on social channels from would-be and current customers
- The need for faster brand response rates
- Increases in social commerce by consumers for shopping
If your holiday social media plan isn’t considering those factors, we’ve got advice on how to (quickly!) prepare.
Looking Back To Look Forward
Looking back to 2021, online shopping drove retail sales, which grew over 14% compared to 2020.
According to research from Sprout Social, there were an average of 2,477 messages received per month by retailers from January through October 2021, while retailers received an average of 2,804 messages per month in November through December 2021.
That’s a 13% increase in average messages received per month during the 2021 holiday season!
These stats alone should encourage you to prep for the uptick with your holiday social media.
If you know you’re going to receive an influx of messages, what’s your plan for meeting those messages quickly with your responses?
In another report, this one by Jay Baer, he says the speed in responding to these messages is critical to acquisition and retention. A few fast facts from the report include …
2/3 of customers say SPEED is as important as PRICE
More than half of customers have hired the first business to respond, even if they were more expensive
50% of customers are less likely to spend money if a business is slower than they expect
So, not only do you need to be present, you need to be fast. I probably just threw a wrench in your holiday social media planning since 75% of customers have contacted or mentioned a business and never received a response.
Don’t be that company!
What Will 2022 Holiday Shopping Look Like?
First, don’t let the economic downturn fool you. Holiday retail sales, while not as robust as last year are still expected to increase between 4% and 6% in 2022, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast.
Despite profit-making challenges most businesses will face this year, many predictions expect an increase in holiday shopping.
Other factors to consider …
- Shoppers are starting early this year, so don’t be late or left behind!
- Consumers are looking for deals and inspiration.
- Buyers will not adhere to only shopping on “deal” days (e.g. Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday)
Unsurprisingly, you can expect an influx of holiday social media messages this holiday season. Sprout Social’s data projects retailers can expect about an 18% increase social messages per month this holiday season. Therefore, your social media customer care teams need to start preparing now.
And when it comes to the team that supports your shoppers? Don’t forget how important the customer experience is to keeping your shoppers happy and off social media to blast your brand.
To start, encourage your employees to take breaks. Provide praise and extra support. If you have a strong staff making your customers’ shopping experience seamless, you’ll give your brand a key differentiator.
Ready Your Brand For Holiday Social Media Support
As you ready your brand for the 2022 holiday season, it’s important to put the consumer at the center of everything you do.
Here are three main ways you can do that with your customer care and holiday social media support.
1) Get Personal
One area I’d focus on is social listening. Social listening allows you to glean insights from your holiday experience. Furthermore, you can apply those insights towards next year’s strategy. With social listening, your goal should be to look for data that can inform product development and improve the customer experience.
And, this data can support you year-round, not just for the holidays!
2) Put A Focus On Social Media Customer Care
Social media is wonderful because it allows for real-time dialogue between business and customers. This dialogue may take place on Twitter, for instance, where your business is able to address concerns or even connect your customer with support.
But it doesn’t end at retention. Social media customer care has also seen a significant rise in the acquisition of new customers.
Just remember that social media holiday support (and beyond) isn’t always a 1-to-1 experience. It’s more like a spectator sport. So the better you are at answering those pre-and-post purchase questions, the better you’ll be at shining a light on your brand for others.
3) Remember: Response Times Matter
Santa isn’t slow and you can’t be either! Earlier, I touched on Jay Baer’s Time To Win report about the importance of speed when it comes to social media customer care.
However, even with the rise in holiday social media usage for support, brands are getting worse at responding. Gulp.
My gut tells me this is due to several factors like the labor shortage and the downsizing of marketing or social media programs to protect budgets during the economic downturn. However, if being unavailable is costing you sales and repeat businesses, you’re only hurting your bottom line.
According to 2022 Sprout Social Index™, more than two-thirds of consumers expect brands to respond to their social messages within 24 hours — but many reports show that response time allowance to be much less!
Holiday Social Media For Social Commerce
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about social commerce for the holidays and beyond.
Unlike “regular” retail sales, social commerce is expected to increase by as much as 25% in 2022. If you’re able, you should ensure you meet budget goals by including social commerce in your marketing mix.
You can do this in a myriad of ways, including
- Live shopping on your social channels (Evereve is a GREAT example of this!)
- Shoppable social posts
- Shoppable video
- User-generated content and peer reviews
Furthermore, if you’re using social commerce to attract new customers, you can use social media customer care to help ensure you close the deal — right there on the customers’ channel of choice!
Make It The Most Wonderful Time Of Year For Your Brand
To successfully navigate these tug-of-war economic times, you have to be ready for the onslaught of social media conversations around acquisition and support.
We know that many consumers are now using social media as a place to research new brands, make buying decisions, and to ask for help with purchases they’ve already made. Is your brand ready to meet them there? Especially when they need the upcoming holiday social media support?
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