Social media sites can be incredibly effective tools for small business owners. Not only do they offer a great way to communicate with customers, but they also serve as a cost effective marketing channel.
With only a few weeks left until the holidays, its time to get inventory out the door before the new year. Here are a few ways to promote your holiday sales using social media:
Create an exclusive
“Make sure to have social media-only sales,” said Amanda L. Sage, owner of Gong Gong Communications, a small business marketing consultancy based in Columbus, OH. “Even if you are a brick and mortar store, give discounts specifically to your social media followers. It will encourage them to engage online.
“Try partnering with a non-competiting company to form a social media campaign,” said Neal Schaffer, president of Windmills Marketing, a social media strategic consultancy based in Newport Beach, Calif. “You can publicize a joint physical event or even offer a virtual event where followers can ask experts questions in real time. Either way, it will attract new followers to your site and increase awareness of your service or product.”
Tip off customers
“Give your social media followers a sneak peak of a sale,” Sage advised. “Even if you are offering the same sale to everyone, tell your followers exactly what will be offered a few days before the event. That way, people will want to keep coming back to your social media site to learn more.”
Post a list
“Create a blog post or Facebook post detailing which of your products are hot for this season,” Schaffer said. “Make up your own top 10 list. Tell them about the top 10 best sellers of the year. Or gear the list to something relevant to this season such as new year’s resolutions -- maybe a top 10 of gifts to help someone stick with their new year’s resolutions. People love lists. They create awareness of a product without being pushy.”
Create a contest
“If you create a sense of urgency with your social media followers, you are sure to land more sales,” said Tommy Swanson, social media specialist for KMA Direct Communications, a marketing agency for non-profits based in Plano, TX. “Make up a contest and then incentivise participation. You can also incentivise referrals by indicating that if a referre wins, the referrer wins as well.”
“Working with a non-profit is a great way to raise awarness of your company,” Schaffer said. “Tell your followers that you wil donate $5 to a designated charity if they buy a specific item. Find a non-profit that already has a strong user base, so you can leverage a large pool of potential followers. Also, post a non-profit ad to your website to increase visibility.”
Target your demographic
“Facebook gives companies the ability to create ads focused on a specific demographic,” Schaffer said. “This is a great way to reach an audience.”
“When creating a cupon on your social media site, think outside the box,” advised Swanson. “Don’t send out a cupon just for 10 percent off. Instead, surprise your followers by doing something out of the ordinary, such as giving out free gifts or slashing prices dramatically.”
Advertise your web presence
“Make sure to tell your customers about your social media activity,” Swanson said. “Make your profile readily available to customers. For example, put a banner across the top of your website that advertises a 10 percent discount for signing up on Twitter or Facebook.”
Katie Morell is a Chicago-based freelance writer specializing in small business concerns.