Deck the Halls with Digital Delight: 12 Holiday Social Media Tips

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Be Nice, Not Naughty!

The celebration rush started on Thanksgiving Eve, as people gathered to kick off the holiday season. You may not relax again until the week after New Year’s Eve, as you clean up the last of the confetti and tinsel…right before you prepare for Super Bowl season and Valentine’s Day.

Amidst the holiday mayhem, please take the time to use social media to thank your loyal customers and invite new ones into your business (or to sample your spirit brand). The winter holiday season presents a significant opportunity for social media engagement and content marketing. No time? You can use some of the stress-relieving tools recommended in this article!

We’ve all heard of the 12 Days of Christmas. Here are the 12 tips for a festive and fabulous social media strategy. They are relevant no matter how you celebrate the holiday season!

  1. Make a list…check it twice. Take an hour to create a plan for your holiday social media and decide who is going to be posting and when. Be inclusive and sensitive to your customer’s beliefs. Because social media is global media, acknowledge all the holidays being celebrated this time of year.
  2. Clean up your social media “house” before you start inviting guests inside. Review your Facebook page, Instagram account, Pinterest boards, blog, and Twitter feed. Make sure they are all working properly. You may even consider changing up your cover photos on Facebook and Twitter to reflect a holiday theme. Take a picture of your establishment decorated for the season and give your pages a festive feeling.
  3. Choose which media you’re going to use. Different demographics use varied forms of social media. If you attract a younger population, you might focus on Instagram and Snapchat, for example. See this report for who’s using what these days. The trends change, so refresh your knowledge as you enter 2016. We’ll be talking more about this at the workshop at the Nightclub & Bar Show in March.
  4. What’s in the box? Quality content is every bit as important as the applications and media you use to share your messages (see “7 Ways to Rock Your Content Marketing”). Some ideas for holiday-targeted content include information about themed cocktails, special holiday events and deals, and dos and don’ts for behavior at holiday parties. Remember, images paired with short text will grab viewers’ attention. Do not ignore the obvious. Your website and all your social media sites should reflect your holiday hours! If you’re open when your competitors are closed, you can capture the market that’s looking for places to go late at night or on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
  5. Thank your friends and family. Businesses often forget that direct marketing to consumer (via e-mail, direct texts or Twitter messages, or good old-fashioned printed holiday cards) is an important part of the relationship- and business-building mix. If you don’t have a list of your customers, start building one. A fishbowl with a drawing or a guest book will do if you don’t have a tech-based system set up yet. And, if you do have a customer list, use it wisely to keep people informed and thank them for their business! Apps like Swarm and Foursquare will enable you to identify the most frequent visitors, too. You’ll want to reward your “Mayor” this holiday season – a free drink, a meal, a gift certificate, or even just a personal note from your manager.
  6. Gift yourself a great electronic device. Photos and video are key for social media engagement. Your bar or nightclub should not only serve great shots, it should take great shots too! Capture festive photos of your team, your specialty drinks and dishes, and your exterior and interior dressed up for the holidays. But see Tip #7.
  7. Mommy may not want to be photographed kissing Santa Claus! Be careful using photos or videos of your guests in your marketing programs unless you have obvious signs posted about how you’re using images! But encourage your guests to post their photos and videos on your site. Make taking photos easy. See #8.
  8. Invest in a photo booth that’s social media-capable and have holiday-themed props on hand. Make sure every photo features your establishment’s name. Otherwise, have selfie-sticks available for rent or loan.
  9. Throw social media holiday parties! Invite your local bloggers and other media folks (and even just those people who post regularly about your establishment) to your place on a particular night for a special deal. The beauty of the social media community is that most active users will give a shout-out to those people and places that treat them well.
  10. Beware the grinches. As your volume picks up over the holiday season, you may be subjected to more negative reviews about food or service. Carefully monitor the review sites during that time. (See Yelp Me!)
  11. Count your social media blessings. Take one day each week – even if it’s just 30 minutes – to review each site and your tracking data. You’ll clearly see which types of posts and which apps are getting the most engagement and you can fine-tune your plan based on that.
  12. Resolve to start the new year right. Social media takes planning, focus, analysis and expertise. Those businesses that invest in professionals and take the time and focus to do it right reap the long-term benefits through increased business and loyalty. And what gift is better than that?

So, have yourself a peaceful, festive and profitable holiday season, and the happiest and most social new year!

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