Summer is just wrapping up for most U.S. residents. However, for marketers, our eyes are already on the holidays. Preparation for our end-of-the-year shopping season requires early planning and full-speed integration of the most effective technologies. Unsurprisingly, Facebook remains a contender for maximized seasonal sales.
Recently, the platform published its “2020 Facebook Holiday Package,” which shares insights on consumer behavior throughout the pandemic, as well as the pandemic’s forecasted effects on outcomes for the holiday season.
From consumers’ greater desire to shop for themselves to an increased receptiveness to new products and services, the environment is rich with the opportunity to use new features to engage customers.
As the founder and president of a marketing company, I recommend using the following four features to help your Facebook marketing strategies succeed during the holidays:
Small businesses that typically rely on brick-and-mortar shops might feel rushed to improve their e-commerce strategies in time for this fall and winter. This is why some might find Facebook Shops to be a helpful solution: It's an online shopping platform for brands to share with their customers.
By enabling this capability on a brand page, customers can browse a catalog of selected products, save them for later, or place an order directly through Facebook or Instagram (if brands have enabled the "Checkout" feature). Shops can also be linked through stories or ads to garner more attention on spotlighted items.
For a simplified and accessible online selling option, I recommend including a cover image and accent colors that keep your brand identity top of mind while shopping. Also, as you guide users to this feature, you can stress less about redesigning the user experience on a separate and complex website.
Facebook Events is another opportunity that brands have experimented with throughout the pandemic. According to Facebook, “Live broadcasts from Pages double[d] compared to the same time last year, largely attributed to broadcasts since March.”
Now, experienced-based businesses can better capitalize on remote gatherings through paid events. By using Facebook’s live video function, brands can sell real-time courses, events, talks or experiences to customers throughout the holiday season. After creating a standard Facebook Event, set your price, promote the event, host and collect payment through the platform.
You can also help your event run smoothly by establishing expectations early. Add details in the event description on how the day will be conducted, how customers can reach out with service inquiries and any supplies that may be needed on the day of (whether to be purchased independently or in kits from your brand).
However, even with the power of paid events, it’s important to note Facebook’s recent comment on paid event fees. While the platform “will not collect any fees from paid online events for at least the next year,” Apple has been unwilling to reduce its 30% app store tax or allow Facebook Pay, thus reducing small businesses’ profits to only 70% of revenue from paid events.
A new way to “sell” holiday sales, Facebook Offers lets you share deals with new and returning customers to redeem online, in store or both. This free feature appears similar to an ad and can be promoted in the same fashion. Follow best practices by including an engaging photo and detailed copy to attract clicks.
If users aren’t ready to make a purchase immediately (which is often the case), they can also save the offer and receive automatic reminders to use the deal before it expires. With the ability to like and comment on your post, users can also tag friends who might be interested. Finally, if a user has location sharing enabled, they’ll receive reminders to use your offer as they near a store.
Data from offers is gathered in Facebook ad reports, where brands can see how many people viewed, clicked, saved and used their coupons. Consider these insights throughout the holiday season to constantly improve your ad strategy.
Finally, perhaps the most apparent update to Facebook and Instagram has been the introduction of Reels, the Tik-Tok lookalike. With many creative options, including sounds, filters and more, Reels serves as an accessible tool for creating snackable lifestyle and promotional video content.
The major draw of Reels is that brands (and their influencer network) can rely on already-established audiences, rather than rebuilding on a separate platform. Share Reels on the “Explore” page for a chance to be seen by new audiences or add to your brand Story after the clip appears on your feed, giving 24-hour, highlighted access to current followers.
To foster engagement, brands should take advantage of shared audio. Similar to how we once used hashtags, these sounds tie you into popular conversation with consumers. Have your social media manager research which sounds are currently most popular and would best suit your brand story. Then, use them as signposts toward viral content opportunities.
Although this holiday season will likely be as unprecedented as the months preceding it, the market appears fruitful and full of opportunity for brands to execute new social media strategies. With these insights and tools, companies of all sizes can reach and motivate consumers to continue their holiday shopping experiences online.