Nov 9, 2011

Six No‑Cost Social Media Ideas for the Holidays

With shoppers more inclined than ever to use social media sites for holiday shopping, November is a particularly good time for retailers to reinvigorate their social media efforts. With that in mind, OIA has scoured the Web to come up with this list of six no-cost tactics outdoor specialty retailers can use to enhance their social media efforts.

  1. Increase promotional cadence. Research shows that the number one reason people become fans or follow brands online is to get access to exclusive deals, promotions and content. Moreover, a much larger percentage of the people visiting social media sites in coming weeks will be looking for gift ideas or deals on specific brands or products. They are on a mission and, in many cases, they are in a hurry and unfamiliar with your store. These shoppers won’t want to weed through more than five or six posts about your latest camping trip or athlete to find what they are looking for. So increase the cadence of posts about what’s happening at the store.
  2. Consult your rep. Many reps have become much savvier at digital marketing. Check out your rep’s website and social media sites for ideas on what’s trending. Good reps should be able to provide access to all the product images, athlete testimonials, magazine reviews and adventure videos you need to create excitement around a category or product. If you really want to get a leg up, start a conversation with your key vendors at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in January about how you can tie in your social media next year to their 2012 holiday promotions.
  3. Recruit followers now. The surge in holiday traffic makes November and December a great time to build your fan and follower lists. Make it clear on your Facebook landing page what kinds of exclusive content and deals fans get. Whatever you offer them, promote it on Twitter and your other social media sites.
  4. Keep ‘em posted. Give your online followers a heads up on product arrivals, sales, extended store hours, upcoming speakers, clinics, etc., particularly if they revolve around hot categories, brands or products. In Boulder, outdoor Divas, which no longer uses print advertising, recently tweeted news that three new styles of Merrell boots had arrived. Online retailer recently advised its more than 4,000 Facebook fans to “Follow us on Twitter and never miss a sale!”
  5. Use images. Don’t just tell them; show them with photos and images of the goodies available in your store. There is no need to get fancy. Just use your smartphone and tweet out an image of that coveted merino wool base layer or freestyle boot or share a link to a video on your site.
  6. Reward your fans. Launch contests as a way to attract, identify and reward fans who can become community ambassadors. There is a growing host of social media marketing solutions available through the software-as-a-service model that enable you to build sophisticated sweepstakes and other promotions into your Facebook page, but you can reward existing fans with simple contests at no cost. In Charleston, SC, for instance, Half Moon Outfitters recently ran a photo caption contest on its Facebook page. The photo of an infant in a Halloween costume garnered 42 posts in 48 hours. Winners can be awarded swag or coupons or even a meet-and-greet with the next outdoor celebrity visiting your store. Always make clear up front, what the winner will receive.