Now that weâ€™ve passed Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, social feeds will be filled with ads and marketing messages enticing shoppers to buy the perfect gift.
But when everyone from your cousinâ€™s Etsy page to Fortune 500 brands are competing for eyeballs, clicks and dollars, how can a small business stand out among the noise?
Here are some ways you can meet your KPIs as the calendar turns to December.
1) Instagram Stories
Move over, Snapchat. The hottest time-bomb messaging program is baked right into Instagram. Boasting 300 million daily active users, Instagram Stories are becoming the go-to platform for brands big and small.
Users love watching Instagram Stories, and brands are able to include a Call to Action, such as directly linking to a landing page. Now you can even upload photos to your Instagram Stories that are older than 24 hours, allowing your marketing team to plan.
Instagram Stories allows companies to show off a fun, playful side â€” but the short life of posts means you can create immediate demand with limited-time-only sales.
For instance, Black Sheep Cycling used Instagram Stories to promote a new cycling kit. They announced the promotion in a traditional Instagram post, then used Instagram Stories to showcase the outfit â€” with a one-hour sale. They sold out in 30 minutes. You can also post coupons to drive in-store traffic, such as announcing a 50 percent off sale of a certain product or showcasing a hot new item.
Not only does this create immediate desire, it lets your customers feel like theyâ€™re in a special club with access to this discount. You can promote the Instagram Story sale on Facebook, or wherever your fan base is, to drive traffic there.
2) Be a Mobile MVP
It feels like old advice at this point, but it still needs to be said. Just having a great website or Facebook page isnâ€™t enough. Increasingly, shoppers are checking mobile first, even if they convert on desktop or in store.
If youâ€™re using Instagram Stories to drive customers to a dedicated landing page, make sure the mobile experience is top-notch. If youâ€™re linking out to blog posts from Twitter, those pages need to load quickly, or else eyes will wander.
Adobe has predicted that nearly half of all retail website visits this holiday season will come via mobile (45 percent), nearly eclipsing desktop (46 percent). The percentage of mobile visits has grown considerably, up from 33 percent in 2015.
Unless you already have a dedicated userbase, donâ€™t place too much importance on a mobile app. Adobe found that while 64 percent of shoppers have a retail app on their phone, only 32 percent would download an app specifically for holiday shopping. Youâ€™re better off driving traffic to your mobile-friendly website.
3) Charitable Efforts
More and more, people want to make sure theyâ€™re spending responsibly. As companies come under fire for derogatory statements by leadership or wasteful business practices, todayâ€™s consumer wants their dollar to go somewhere worthwhile.
The uptick in cause marketing and the success of cause-based for-profit companies like TOMs shows how critical it is for brands to do good and be good.
This doesnâ€™t mean you need to donate all of your profits to world peace or pivot to becoming a charitable nonprofit. You can tie sales goals to a cause that your customers care about, such as announcing via Facebook that youâ€™ll give a percent of profits on a certain item to a local homeless shelter or posting an Instagram coupon saying customers can get 25 percent off by donating school supplies.
Holidays are the time to make an emotional appeal, whether thatâ€™s laughter or tears. Brands all over the world have put away the schtick this holiday season to connect with their customers emotionally. You can do that on a local scale, by showcasing yourself as a charitable neighbor.
Bay Area clothing retailer Oaklandish has thisÂ down to a science. The company embraces its standing, partnering with local organizations and giving back. They know theyâ€™re not just a business in Oakland, but aÂ member of the community.
Find ways that you can emotionally connect with your customers by getting involved with causes close to them, and to you â€”Â and tell that story responsibly on social.
Written by Justin L.