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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas—earlier than ever. 

Thanksgiving’s late calendar date means an extra early kick-off to a holiday season that is six days shorter than last year. For digital marketers, it’s time to make your local presence known as the world counts down to Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa—and readies to ring in the New Year. Consider the following checklist to make it easy to get your digital presence into the holiday spirit:

Set Realistic Goals 

Sounds obvious. But, far too often, multi-location marketers launch campaigns without direction. A strategy is about objectives. Holiday marketing is a great time to introduce your brand to new customers and thank loyal buyers for their business. Do you want to drive more people through the door? Boost sales and engage local followers? Once you define your goals, create an attainable and measurable plan that can be tracked and tweaked along the way. These insights will be invaluable to help craft a long-term localized digital plan. 

Update your Page’s Local Business Information

These days, people are on their devices to research buying decisions, decide where to shop, dine, or buy local, and turn to social for ideas and inspiration. Your local social profile is the swiftest way to reach your target audience where they’re already spending time online. Make your local pages count and connect. Take advantage of customizable options on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google My Business, and Yelp and optimize your page’s content for holiday keywords. Add a festive background, post localized holiday content, and update your bio and link to share a message of good cheer and your holiday specials. Make sure your digital presence is up-to-date and correct (location, holiday hours, contact information, etc.) across all your customer discovery channels.

Give, Educate, Entertain

In-store shopping surges during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Logically, the top reason for brick-and-mortar shopping during the holidays is the human element – the local experience. People want to browse and see products in person. There are also emotional benefits that are hard to reproduce online; 42 percent of shoppers said they shop in-store for the holiday ambiance and 27 percent to spend time with family. Your localized digital presence should be inviting. Provide value with your content. Share local discounts, giveaways, holiday-themed food and beverages, in-store events, and charitable partnerships. 

Get ahead of the holiday rush, and plan ongoing scheduled localized content to inform, entertain, and engage with your customers with festive seasonal blog posts, infographics, videos, and images. Here are some localized content ideas for the holiday season:

  • Highlight your product or service as a gift.
  • Create holiday gift list ideas by price point or category. 
  • Encourage customers to share pictures of their products and tag the local store. 
  • Give without receiving through general how-to posts that highlight your expertise with decorating and organizing advice, planning the perfect Christmas meal, or holiday stress busters.  
  • Show off your holiday spirit. 
  • Share a behind-the-scenes look at your business during this busy time of year. 
  • Highlight the good works of team members, community contributions, and other seasonal photos. 

Be Holiday Response Ready

Shoppers increasingly engage with local businesses across multiple channels before making a purchase decision. When researching, potential customers tend to be less forgiving if there is a technical problem or less than stellar customer service experience. Be ready to engage even more during the holidays – fielding frequent questions and responding to reviews or complaints from your followers to avoid losing the brand loyalty you’ve worked so hard to build. 

Facebook estimates 65 percent of holiday shoppers who used the Messenger app indicated they’d be more likely to buy from a business if they could contact it through a messaging service. Recent enhancements will make message management easier. Along with new customizable story templates, Facebook has introduced new features to Instagram Direct to help multi-location businesses with managing customer communications. Businesses can now sort through Messenger and Instagram Direct messages in a single location from their Page Inbox. The platform has also rolled out an instant replies tool for local business owners to automatically respond to messages when they’re not immediately available.

Start the New Year Right

Add year-round seasonal prep to your list of local social marketing New Year’s resolutions. Use insights gained from the holidays to build momentum and business for Easter, Back-to-School, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Planning pays. 

Cheers to making 2020 your best digital year yet! If you’d like to learn how tips from our experts on how to prepare your localized social marketing strategy, contact us today!

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