Increase Holiday Sales with Social Media

It’s that time of year again! Halloween candy is now 70% off and Christmas lights and garlands have taken over the shelves. This year it’s predicted that November and December sales could hit almost $617 billion, which is a 4% increase from last year’s holiday sales. As for online sales, they are expected to increase as much as 11%, a 3% increase from 2013 sales. So what are you doing to help increase your sales this season?

As we’re finding with our StrataBlue clients’ campaigns, social media advertising is key to any company’s efforts to reach large, targeted audiences in order to increase holiday sales. Below are some ideas we recommend to help increase holiday sales with social media.

Create a Pinterest “Gift Idea” Board

Millions of people every day are flocking to Pinterest for ideas on what to get their loved ones for the holidays. Make their search easier by creating Pinterest boards specific to whom the gift will be given. Giving your holiday Pinterest boards creative and engaging names is paramount to increasing traffic. Try some of these titles:

  • 50 gifts under $50
  • Gifts for The Person Who Has Everything
  • Last Minute Gifts
  • Gifts Your Boyfriend Will Love
  • DIY Christmas Gifts

Be sure to keep in mind the pain funnel when creating boards and pinning your products. What might your potential customer’s challenge be when shopping this holiday season? This could include:

  • Trouble finding the right gift
  • Shopping on a limited budget
  • Shipping costs
  • Gifts for the right occasion

Last, and most importantly, remember to link your product pins to your website for fast and easy access for your potential buyers. (And once they get to your site, consider having remarketing code in place so that when they continue on their search quest, you can re-appear in order to stay top of mind.)

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Steve Madden pins their gift guide on Pinterest.

Run Facebook Ads

Running Facebook Ads is a must this season if you are wanting to increase your holiday sales with social media. As for which type of objective to choose for your Facebook Advertising campaigns, I would suggest either a Clicks to Website, Website Conversions, Offer Claim or Local Awareness campaign.

Don’t forget to include a call to action in your ad!

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Target advertises free shipping for online orders on Facebook.

Exclusive Deals with Email Marketing

Give your email subscribers the upper-hand this season with exclusive deals, coupon codes and offers right to their inbox. Not only will your current subscribers be thrilled to receive special offers, but this will also open to the door to increasing your email list subscribers with those who want the same deals. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your email marketing this season:

  • Consider Cyber Monday, December 1st– the biggest day for online shopping
  • Don’t spam your lists!
  • Personalize messages to increase brand loyalty
  • Consider sending emails on the weekends
  • Use creative subject lines to entice opens
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TJMaxx gives a sneak peek to subscribers.

Create Twitter Cards

The recent roll-out of Twitter Advertising cards makes targeting online shoppers a breeze. Be sure to include an engaging card image along with a catchy headline. Remember Twitter cards appear on your audiences’ Twitter feeds, so step out of the box with your Twitter card and catch the eye of your potential customers.

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Choose the “Shop Now” button as a call to action.

Deck the Halls with Data

To make sure you are getting the most out of your social media efforts, be sure you are tracking and assessing your performance throughout the entire campaign. This way you will be able to tweak and re-target to see what’s working and what’s not working. Consider these tracking systems:

Whether it’s pushing in-store sales or online sales, running several social media campaigns across several different platforms can be very effective. Don’t be afraid to hand the reigns over to a digital media marketing firm to help you reach your highest potential this year.

Best of luck this season and Happy Holidays!

Twitter Cards: Which Advertising Options are Best for Your Campaign?

All good things must come to an end, and in this case, they must now come with a price. The era of organic reach for brands is slowly dwindling, but smart marketers called that years ago. In June Facebook outlined why organic reach is declining (mainly due to mass amounts of content being created), and they offered Promoted Ads as a solution. Twitter is also making this shift and providing several options for brands and users.

Back in May I provided an overview of Twitter Ads and their advanced targeting options, which are very useful for lead generation. Since then, I’ve been able to sink my teeth into a Twitter service that several big brands are using called Twitter Cards.

Twitter Cards advertising opportunities were actually introduced in 2012 but are becoming more popular among marketers as the aforementioned organic reach disappears. Overall, the nine card options are useful to brands because they allow for photos, videos and media to be included in a tweet to complete three objectives: (1) increase engagement (2) provide a clearly stated call to action (3) drive app downloads.

Below I highlight the nine types of Twitter Cards available, starting with those that require coding. I also list key benefits and round it out with a Website Twitter Card case study from StrataBlue.

Pick a card, any card

Let’s start with the seven cards that require the most work. In order to launch the below cards, you must first install each card’s unique metadata to your website and then use the Twitter Card Validator. Once verified, your cards will show up in tweets and appear in the Twitter feeds of your intended targeted audience.

  1. Summary Card – This card serves as preview to a brand’s website and can include a snippet of web content like blog posts or restaurants menus. The biggest benefit of this card is that marketers can customize the content description in the card. Adios default text! Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - Summary Card - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. Summary Card with Large Image – With so much content being thrown at consumers, the Summary Card with a compelling image or graphic is a way to break through the noise and snag your reader’s attention. The image or graphic must be 280X150 pixels. Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - Summary Card with Large Image - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. Photo Card – Highlight a chef’s dish or stunning photograph of your product with the Photo Card. The image will render across mostly all devices but must be 280X150 pixels. Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - Photo Card  - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. Gallery Card – Highlight several pictures of an event you hosted or professional pictures of your company with this feature. You can also give credit to a photographer through coding. Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - Gallery Card - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. App Card – Direct download of  an app has never been easier. Although this is not available on mobile web yet, it is ready for Twitter.com. Embedding the code allows your name, description, icon and a price to appear. Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - App Card  - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. Player Card – Rich media comes alive in users’ Twitter feeds with the option to embed video or audio. The process of installing the code is a little more complex, but have no fear, Twitter has guidelines to assist. Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - Player Card - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. Product Card – Create an interesting visual to grab attention of a product you offer and instantly drive traffic to your website with this card. The extra information you can add, including a price and description off the product, can answer your prospects’ questions. Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - Product Card  - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

Now I’ll highlight the final two Twitter Card options that do not require coding and can be created within Twitter Ads under the “Creatives” menu:

  1. Lead Generation Card – Secure e-mail addresses for a webinar or newsletter with this simple step. Users’ Twitter e-mail addresses will already be pre-filled in the card and they will only have to click the button to submit. Create simple text explaining what users are signing up for and a simple call to action button. Twitter also provides you the option to download the generated leads at any time.
Twitter Cards - Lead Generation Card - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. Website Card – Immediately drive traffic to a specific page on your website and include a compelling image or graphic with this card. If you are opting to include an image, be sure to follow these guidelines:

–          Max size is 1 MB

–          Minimum image width is 240 pixels

–          Minimum required image height is 96 pixels

–          Minimum 5:2 aspect ratio required

Putting the Website Card to the Test 

Recently, the StrataBlue team hosted a webinar on how restaurants can leverage OpenTable data to maximize profits. One strategy to gather e-mail addresses for the webinar was to run a Website Card to our target audience on Twitter for seven days. (We also pinned it to the top of our profile page, so when users searched for us or visited our profile directly, that would be the first post they saw.) Our call to action button read “Visit Now” and directed users to the sign up page.

Twitter Cards - Paid Media - StrataBlue Website Card - OpenTable Webinar

Running the Website Card was successful and we reached 8,381 people online but more importantly gathered e-mail addresses and participants for our webinar.

Interested in learning more about Twitter Cards and how to set one up? E-mail me at [email protected] or chat with me on Twitter at @whatupTUT.

Achieve Your Marketing Objectives With Twitter Ads

Recently, we gave you the run down on how to successfully take advantage of the new Twitter facelift. If you haven’t fixed the dimensions of your cover photo or pinned a tweet yet, you better get to it!) Amongst the changes like a new layout, Twitter offers advertising to amplify lead generation and reach target audiences with Twitter Ads. You may have even seen a few Twitter Ads features in your newsfeed, like the promoted tweet below.  

Promoted Tweet

After signing up for Twitter Ads, you have three options: Promote Accounts, Promote Tweets and Promote Trends. Depending on your objectives, each option may be great for your online marketing plan.

Promote Accounts: Catch the attention of brand advocates, users and other brands to increase your following and find out what your demographic needs or wants through online interaction.

Promote Tweets: Target your audience and provide special discounts, offers and more to the right person, in a specific area, during a designated time. Promoted tweets are easy to measure in terms of success because they can require immediate action like an e-mail sign up or purchase.

Promote Trends: Garner attention for a new product, campaign or conversation easily through Promoted Trends. This is a useful tool to search and manage your conversations online.

Promoting one of the options above is very similar to Facebook Ads or Facebook Unpublished Posts in that you create a campaign, time frame, targeting options and a budget.At StrataBlue, we understand the magic happens within the targeting option section. Because 37.8 million users a month user their phones to access Twitter, geo-targeting is also extremely important.

But wait, there’s more! Have you been looking for ways to better analyze how your audience interacts with your produced content? What about the issue of fitting everything, include a picture, within 140 characters or less? No problem. With Twitter Cards you can increase link clicks and traffic to your website, retweets to get your brand resonating in customers minds and more through “cards” with videos and images.

Twitter Cards

Bit.ly is a great tool to use for URL analytics, but teamed up with Twitter Cards analytics you get to the core about how your customers are engaging with content you produce. Using these tools together helps to eliminate content “fluff” that your audience doesn’t necessarily care about.

Interested in learning more about targeting for Twitter Ads or marketing possibilities with Twitter Cards? Contact us!