Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) is around the corner, and eCommerce stores are busy preparing for one of the busiest weekends they will have all year. Prepare your store for the rush by streamlining your fulfillment, optimizing your site, and outlining your social media marketing in advance.
It’s no secret that social media is one of the main marketing channels for eCommerce stores. A lot of the traffic to online retailers, both paid and organic, comes from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
As BFCM approaches and the buzz about it grows, people will become more engaged in shopping and will be actively looking for sales information. Your social media strategy should reflect that boost in interest and use it to entice some of those bargain hunters to visit your store.
Naturally, you will get busier managing order fulfillment, returns, exchanges, and customers service as the rush kicks in. That is why it is important to think of a social media marketing plan ahead of time and schedule your promotion posts early if you can.
Make a Social Content Calendar
The old advice still rings true: Have a plan and stick to it.
Most brands post about six times per week on social media, and the ones that gain the most engagement spend a good deal of their time conceiving, testing, and creating their posts. Even small brands use at least three social media channels, and most have four or five.
Add to that the up-to-six types of paid Facebook ads they use that are divided per market segment. Break those into two different ads per segment — one for weekdays and one for the weekend — and you’ll quickly see how much time and commitment it takes to maintain an active social media presence.
You may be doing a little less on social media or a little more, but it’s easy to see why putting all these activities in a social media content calendar might be a good idea… especially when you should be coming up with new content tailored to BFCM and have your hands full with orders and customer inquiries.
It is vital to organize your promotions, discount codes, and free shipping codes, and incorporate them into timely posts that build a momentum for your store. Use Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule all your posts at least two weeks before BFCM so you know your hands are free. Your posts will automatically roll out, and you will be able to better focus and handle the influx of orders.
Start Planning and Preparing Early
It is never too early to start planning your BFCM social media marketing campaign. Don’t wait until the last minute because you will significantly stress your operation. And it is likely your creative will suffer as you rush to put out hurried content.
If you already use a social media calendar to plan your content and use apps to schedule it in advance (good job!), start planning your BFCM posts at least a month in advance. First plan what kind of discounts you will be offering and on which products. Create social media content for each type of discount, and plan to post them more than once.
If this is not your first BFCM, you will have a good idea of what your conversion spike will be and how much of a strain it will put on your operations. If you don’t want to invest in extra hands or logistics, consider offering deep discounts the whole week of Black Friday so you distribute your traffic over a longer period of time.
Visual content is key, so plan ahead and get your types of discounts in line so you have time to create eye-catching ads. For example, 50% off entire store, free shipping for orders over $45, and additional 10% off of orders over $100. Create images or graphic designs with these discounts that will resonate with your audience. It could be images of your products or the intended environment they’re used in, say a mountain if you are selling skis.
Set Your Social Media Marketing Goals
Remember to set goals for your campaign and be realistic about both what you want and what are capable of achieving. Set a measurable goal that will serve as your North Star about every decision you make. Avoid vanity metrics like views and likes, and settle for something solid. In online retail, that is usually conversions or sales.
You can also use Google Analytics to track how each of your social media channels is performing on a daily or hourly basis. So when you notice which posts perform best, create similar content to boost your campaign.
Go a step further and create specific discount codes for individual posts. You will be able to track how many people have used them and judge how the post is performing. This technique gives you another layer of information and offers more precise tracking.
Optimize Your Social Media Content
Don’t just post the first draft of an idea. Go back over your work to make you’re using high-conversion keywords so you rank better in searches. Use tools like Semrush, Moz, or Google Keyword Planner to see what people are searching for in your niche.
Then, take a look at what your rivals are posting to see where your niche is standing and get some creative ideas. Share content that is fun, engaging, entertaining, and in line with your BFCM agenda.
One way to be a bit more fun is to use visual content including images and video. Create different images for different channels, depending on the segment of your audience that hangs out on them. Social media is casual, in general, but there are subtle differences between channels.
For example, the Facebook crowd is composed of millennials and older generations who prefer casual but polished content. Pinterest has a more mature following that prefers polished thought-through posts. While Snapchat is where teenagers hang out and they tend to gravitate towards raw, gritty images and posts.
Don’t forget to also size your images accordingly. Square works well for Instagram, and vertically-oriented is best for Pinterest. And if you do not have the manpower, do not spread your efforts too thin. Focus only on your key channels, then, so you can deliver quality content that converts.
Work Your Creative
Keep your brand’s graphic elements in mind, and create content that resonates with your audience. Research the latest trends and what content your target audience prefers. Your goal is to build momentum for the BFCM sale and keep your customers engaged.
Get creative! Build countdown timers with promotion codes that give ever deeper discounts by the day. For example, start with 30%, then go to 40% the following week and 50% on Black Friday.
Organize social media games and raffles. You can ask your existing customers to tag you in a picture in which they are wearing your products for a chance to win the newest version of a product. Or post an image of a product in a specific place, say Time Square, and ask your followers to guess the location for a chance to win what is in the picture.
Be creative, stand out, and build momentum for BFCM to get maximum traction.
Test, Analyze, and Improve
The social media world is dynamic and ever-evolving. As trends come and go, there is not really a surefire solution to any particular issue. You have to be vigilant and try to make your BFCM posts stand out from those of other brands that will be posting this month.
That is why it is essential to start posting early so you can test your graphic elements and make adjustments along the way, if needed. Stay on top of incoming data, and see how your posts are performing. To make the most of BFCM, you have to never stop learning and improving.
However, it is vital to avoid testing and experiments during the sale itself and focus on fulfilling orders and customer service instead. There will be plenty of time for testing when the dust settles after the holidays. Be sure to collect data during the sale, though, so you can use it to improve your operations in future peak seasons.
The BFCM peak in volume is the ultimate test of your abilities to channel those holiday shoppers to your store and engage them enough so they come back. Consumers are in a rush and hunting for deals, so your goal is to stand out from the crowd with fresh creative content that not only sells but entertains and delights.
So get your social media posts scheduled, do your final checks and tweaks, and get ready for a successful Black Friday.
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