BLOG: Branding through the holidays
AKRON (Oct. 27, 2014) — 'Tis the holiday season. Not that I am saying that Christmas decorations should be up in stores yet, because I don't think that. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and it gets pushed under the rug.
However, we all know that once autumn hits, the holidays start rolling in. The period between Halloween and New Year's is a heightened time of year for shopping and celebration, which means retail sales are going to be booming.
While holiday branding may be easier for the clothing and food industries, there are still ways the tire industry can reach out to its customers, especially on social media. While you may not be able to offer a two-for-one tire special that would get the same result as if they were sweaters, you can still make connections and engage with your customers online and on social media platforms and then extend that to the store. With the various holidays coming up, here are some tips to consider when reaching out to your customers:
Halloween is Friday. Can you believe it? That came quick. While it is a little late to start planning a big social media campaign, there is still plenty you can do.
Is your business in a commercial/residential area? What night do the kids go trick-or-treating near the shop? I used to love Halloween because I worked at a donut shop and we used to hand out free Halloween donuts to the kids who were trick-or-treating. Why not be part of the trick-or-treating experience?
It's all about community. What about posting some Halloween pictures of locals on your social media channels? If you aren't sure how this would pan out since it is short notice, what about asking your employees to give you pictures of their favorite costumes when they were younger or even some of your favorite carved pumpkin pictures? You can also promote what your shop is doing for Halloween in general on social media. Are you having any kind of party? Potluck?
Do you plan on having anything special for your customers that day? Post it! People thrive on seeing you as a part of the community.
As stated, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I think ultimately it started when I was in college because my winter breaks lasted from Thanksgiving through New Year's, so my first real meal at home in a long time was Thanksgiving dinner. Not that you can't survive off dining hall food, Hot Pockets and macaroni and cheese, but there is nothing like coming home to turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc.
More importantly, the holiday celebrates giving thanks. One of the best things you can do with any campaign is to cross-promote it through all of your initiatives. Promote what you have going on at the store. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to show thanks for your customers, who are some rather important people your business couldn't survive without. You can also show appreciation for your employees. It is also time to give back. Do you have charities you already support in your community or are looking to get involved with? This would be a great time to promote your efforts. It would also be a great time to get involved in local clothing or food drives.
Start a collection and give customers discounts on services if they participate. Highlight these types of efforts on social media to both showcase your efforts and to get the word out so more customers can get involved. If the nonprofit you are working with has social media channels, make sure to tag them and share their posts to get the information out.
Christmas, Hanukkah and more
While not everyone celebrates Christmas, many people celebrate some kind of holiday around year-end. One thing I do know is that it definitely seems like it is the season for baking and cooking. Do you ever discuss a favorite holiday treat with your customers? Let your social media channels become a recipe sharing site during the season.
If you are interested in possibly combining this with a charitable cause, you could maybe start a cookbook you can sell and give the proceeds to the charity. You could name it: “Customers of Joe's Tire — Favorite Holiday Recipes.” It would definitely set you apart from your competition, help you raise money for a good cause and really engage with your customers both online and in the store.
Have you been nervous to take a step into the more visual social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram? This time of year is the perfect time to dip your toe in. There are so many recipes, decorations, etc., on these sites that your customers may be interested in. Your business may also get some tips on how to spruce up your shop through the season. For instance, on Tire Business' Pinterest page we have a “It's the most wonderful time of the year” board that ranges from holiday decorations you can use from recycled tires and other things around the shop as well as some other types of fun décor and holiday cheer.
Starting out with a strongly-shared topic, such as the holidays, will help you figure out the best ways to utilize these other social media sites can be a great way to get started.
If these ideas seem a little too much for you to take on, just remember you can always take quick snapshots of your shop decorated or of your employees getting in the holiday spirit. These images can go far on social media and with your engagement with customers. Do you go to any special functions in town around this time of the year? Share those events on Facebook and other social media sites so the community around your shop can see what is happening.
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are interesting holidays because one is wrapping up the year and one is immediately setting goals on how you are going to better the next one.
People start making resolutions and it could be great getting involved with them. Possibly create your own resolution for them and make a top list of the important services most missed through the winter. Depending on what they are, offer some kind of discount with them. Additionally, if you haven't done a “Meet the Staff” campaign in a while, you can use this time to highlight them and what their goals are for the next year.
One thing to note: Now that we are getting through New Year's, I would suggest getting together a list of holidays and special events — company anniversaries, employee birthdays you may want to celebrate, etc., that you would want to celebrate on social media.
Going into next year, you might feel more comfortable and time-efficient if you know what kind of posts you want to do for each holiday. That way, you will not have to rush around the day before, hoping you can put something together. Strategy and sticking to it is half the battle!
Want some more advice on the subject? Check out:
- How Brands Can Have an Insanely Successful Holiday Season
- 10 Social Media Marketing Tips And Ideas For The Holiday Season
- Tis the Season to… Use Social Media! 5 Social Media Tips for the Holidays
- Wrap up your holiday business with 5 social marketing gifts
Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you'd like to share with our readers? Tire Business would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor Don Detore at [email protected].