5 Ingredients For A Successful Holiday Social Advertising Campaign

Whether or not we want to believe it, the holiday season is upon us. We see turkeys and pumpkin pie everywhere we go. The pre-Black Friday sales are going on. Christmas music is starting to filter through our radio stations.

Is your business ready?

The holiday season is one time of year that it seems advertising dollars are unlimited based on the traditional ads we see. Social advertising, however, has been slow to warm up to those levels. I believe that social advertising is more effective in reaching your audience – and this is coming from a former print advertising sales girl.

If you are using social advertising this holiday season, you want to make sure you are getting your biggest bang for your buck. In this article, I am going to share with you 5 tips for a successful holiday social advertising campaign.

You’ll find out –

  • Why having a budget is important.
  • Why you need to get creative.
  • Why you need to know your audience.
  • How targeting works for you.
  • Why tracking is a requirement.

Know your advertising budget.

In a perfect world, businesses would have advertising budgets as big as Santa Claus’ toy bag. With an unlimited amount of money to spend, just imagine what businesses could do. Unfortunately, that is not the case in our world. Company budgets are run tight, often cutting sales and marketing first. When you advertise online and do not set specific start and end dates, it’s very easy to run up a high advertising bill. That’s the last thing  company needs in the 4th quarter.

Having a budget is important because:

  1. It controls cost. You can keep track of where the money is being spent accurately.
  2. It’s easier to calculate ROI when it’s over. When you track the response of your ad against how much you spent, it’s easier to figure out that elusive number as compared to traditional print or broadcast ads.
  3. It shows you just how much you can accomplish with social advertising when putting it up to a traditional form of advertising.

Think outside the box.

Since so many companies are vying for your customers’ dollars, the gloves really come off where creativity is concerned. This is a time of year when you need to start thinking outside the box and leave your comfort zone. You need to be seen and heard among the Targets, Macy’s and Wal-Marts of the world. This is where creativity comes in. Think of the successful holiday advertising campaigns you’ve seen. The ones that come to mind to me are:

  1. Coca-Cola. The Polar Bears are so endearing that it makes an emotional connection with the audience.
  2. Hershey’s Kisses. The Kisses as bells playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is my favorite holiday TV commercial. They have aired the same commercial every year for as long as I can remember. Continuity definitely says something.
  3. Elf Yourself from Office Max. 9 years later, people are still getting elfed each year.

Now take a look at what made these successful – it wasn’t your normal run-of-the-mill advertising – they set out to really connect with people. Whether it was from an animated character, musical chocolates or making an elf in your image – they all started as something outside the box.

Know who your audience actually is.

Ask any business who their audience is and you’ll see a lot of similarities – people who like to spend money and have money are just two. Knowing who your audience is and being able to relate to them is key. You’ll know exactly what to say – and how to say it. The way you’d phrase an ad you want moms to see would be much different from ads geared towards teens.

For example, you are a clothing store targeting teenage girls. For an ad targeting their moms, you would say something like “We help 14 year olds look like 14 year olds.” (Disclaimer: I’m a mom of a tween – trust me, clothes these days do anything but make them look their age – moms are looking for ones that do) For the tweens, it would be, “Look totes adorbs & wow your friends.” Just knowing how tween girls talk helps you relate to them and get in front of them easier.

Knowing your audience is much different than just knowing the demographic stats. Know what they like, how they talk, who they interact with. That will help you put together a more successful campaign.

Targeting is your friend.

Once you really know who your audience is, you know who and how to target them. Facebook and Twitter have hands-down, the best targeting options out there in the realm of social advertising. With these two platforms, you can get in front of your competitor’s followers (Twitter), target people based on their net worth (Facebook), get in front of people talking about or watching certain TV shows (Twitter) or target trendy moms specifically (Facebook), just to name a few.

Targeting will help you:

  1. Use your advertising budget more effectively.
  2. Get you in front the exact person you want to reach.
  3. Stay within the goals of your campaign. Your ad won’t be the needle in the haystack.
  4. Separate yourself from your competitor.

Track your ad’s performance again and again and… again.

Any social advertising platform includes analytics on how your ad is performing. Knowing what these metrics mean and how they are performing will determine the success of your campaign.

Tracking can show you:

  1. What wording and/or graphics work best. Use A/B testing to see what resonates with your audience the most.
  2. Your ROI. With social advertising analytics, you can see the number of impressions for your ad, the clicks and if you have a conversion tracking pixel installed on your website, the number of conversions. Take your number and compare it with what you spend and bada-bing – you have your ROI. Ask a print or broadcast ad rep if they can get that specific.
  3. How wise you are using your advertising dollars. This does relate some to ROI, but you can watch your ad and add or subtract money from your budget at any time. Is your ad off the charts? Add some more money to it! Is it totally bombing out? Then lower it.

Not only can these 5 tips be applied to your holiday social advertising campaign, but also to your everyday ads you run online.

Social advertising is going to become the dominant form of advertising. Just watch over the next 5 years or so. With people using their mobile devices more for internet searches and social networking or just doing pretty much everything online, it’s just a matter of time before we see more social ads than we do on TV or radio. Fortunately, social advertising is affordable for every business from your mom and pop store on the corner to the behemoths like Wal-Mart or Target.

Question is – how are you going to make it work for you? I hope these 5 tips help you out this holiday season. Have a tip you want to share? Comment below and let me know!

photo credit: roitberg via photopin cc

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Mandy Edwards

Owner/Social Media Strategist at ME Marketing Services
Mandy is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a social marketing company located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of over 14+ years covering sales, event planning, local store marketing, advertising and now social media.In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes and Crain's Chicago Business, named to the Statesboro Herald's Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Influencer. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia's top 40 Under 40 Alumni.
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