Between Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Black Friday, New Year’s Eve, and the rest of the winter holidays, this is the most important (and busiest!) time of the year, especially for B2C brands. Holiday ecommerce sales alone reached a total of $126 billion last yearup from $108.2 billion in 2017.

So, what’s the best way to tap into the holiday excitement? 

Here’s a time-tested social media holiday strategy to end 2019 off on a high note.

1. Start with a Social Media Calendar

In order to truly capitalize on all of the social media opportunities the holidays provide, it’s important establish a social media calendar as soon as possible. You should realistically have every day planned to the end of the year.

Quick tips for what to include in your social media calendar:

  • Day of the week
  • Date and time of the post
  • Content objective
  • Content topic
  • Copy specific for each channel
  • Placeholders for recurring content activities

Next, preparing and following a set editorial plan will help you succeed during the holidays and beyond.

2. Create a Branded Hashtag Campaign

One of the most reliable ways to delight customers instead of adding to holiday “noise” is to create a branded hashtag campaign. When done right, these campaigns evoke emotions and promote sharing.

For examples, UPS created the #WishesDelivered campaign to promote good deeds during the holidays and showcase videos and stories where they have fulfilled a wish or delivered a surprise. #WishesDelivered offered a refreshing change of pace from other top social media posts brands rely on during other times of the year.

People are encouraged to use the campaign hashtag to share UPS’s stories, or stories of their own. On top of that, every time the #WishesDelivered hashtag is used, UPS makes a $1 donation to one of three charity partners. To date, the hashtag has been used more than 10,000 times across Instagram and Twitter alone.

The campaign is promoted around the idea of: deliveries during the holidays begin with a wish. The goal of UPS was to turn those wishes into reality and they’ve done just that with their social media holiday strategy.

And remember, any success with this year’s hashtag will be carried over to next year when you run the campaign all over again.

3. Host a Contest or Giveaway

Hosting a contest or giveaway on social media may seem like an obvious one for B2C and B2B brands, but the classic social media holiday strategy is still very much alive and well.

The contest or giveaway should consist of two important factors: 

  1. The prize should be enticing enough for your audience to want to take action
  2. The rules and content should incentivize sharing with family and friends

Contests and giveaways might be a little more time-intensive for your audience (compared to a hashtag campaign), but can pay off big time in engagement and new customers. There’s even potential to tie the contest with the hashtag you created in #2.

You can utilize the traditional, but effective “Like or Comment to Enter” approach or something that requires deeper engagement such as “Share or Caption to Enter”. 

In 2017 Lush Cosmetics ran one of the most popular holidays giveaways to date under the campaign and hashtag: #SwishUponAStar.

This giveaway offered audiences a trip to the uber-popular Lush factory for two. The only requirement for entry? Fans were asked to post their best piece of “bath bomb art”, tag Lush on social media, and use the #SwishUponAStar hashtag. The Lush team picked their favorite as winner. 

#SwishUponAStar created buzz within industry media outlets and resulted in a big uplift in brand awareness for Lush. It was also a creative way for Lush to give back to their audience during the holidays.

B2B Brands Can Join the Holidays, Too

Don’t worry, if you’re in the B2B space that doesn’t mean you can’t join in on the holiday excitement with your audience. To be successful, it just takes a little extra creativity to for B2B brands to come off as authentic.

Here are a few B2B holiday ideas to get your team started

  • Upload a holiday video to your website or social media
  • Have your employees change their email signatures
  • Hold a B2B Black Friday, Cyber Monday sale
  • Make a company calendar that your audience can use
  • Host a holiday open house at your office
  • Promote gift cards or give some away
  • Add products and services to purchases (or provide free trials)
  • Send personalized cards and gifts to your top clients
  • Support a local charity or donate to a large organization (ask your audience to as well)

There is no shortage of ways to think BIG in your B2B social media holiday and PR strategy. Use what you’ve learned here today to make the 2019 holiday season your best few months yet.

Whether you’re a B2C or B2B brand, to ensure you’re ready, read our ebook on great social content, with more examples from top brands.