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Holidays are great time to build social media relationships

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Digital Marketing

Shana Bull is a Santa Rosa-based marketing educator and digital storyteller, working with wine, food, hospitality businesses, teaching classes on marketing, and freelance writing. Reach her with your questions about digital marketing at shana@shanabull.com, @sharayray on Instagram or at shanabull.com.

Read past columns at nbbj.news/digitalmarketing.

As consumers deck their halls with holiday decor, they also stock their fridges with more wine than in any other season.

And with family travel at an all-time high during the last few months of the year, hospitality marketers should connect with consumers who plan ahead.

In fact, the majority of national brands start planning their marketing campaigns for the holidays in September, if not earlier.

But for digital marketers, social media allows for more leniency thanks to the seemingly “real time,” and ongoing content creation. That doesn’t mean that marketing people should wait until the last minute to plan a holiday campaign (or – even worse – wait until the day of and share a blurry iPhone pic with no CTA).

With a little bit of prepping before we get into the thick of the holidays, North Bay marketers can promote their products or services early and keep the momentum going through the Time Square ball drop.

Here are five tips for getting your holiday digital marketing started:

1. In order to look forward, make sure to look back.

Look at digital marketing insights on social media and Google analytics from the past few years. Note any trends that appear during the holidays that may differ from the rest of the year. Check out which pages on your website tend to get more traffic during the holiday months (Oct - Dec). Write these trends down, and brainstorm ideas for promotions and holiday gift sets with your team.

2. Create goals, as well as write out tasks.

Your goals could be monetary – like booking 10% more rooms during the holidays than you did the year prior, or selling $10,000 more in wine online – but also look at the marketing channel.

Try to sell out of a specific gift set online by getting started with a photoshoot, create a digital ad sending people to your website, and have a promotion for your top customers, or create a video about a holiday tasting, and send people to your tasting room by booking through CellarPass.com. Focus your efforts by identifying each of the steps needed to achieve your goals.

3. Remember who you are targeting.

It is much easier to get through the clutter of holiday marketing ads if you are trying to connect with an online community with which you already engage.

Create a tiered plan to target different groups throughout the digital marketing funnel: customers who regularly engage with and buy from you (a personalized video with a deal on a case of wine would invite them to purchase more); customers who haven’t purchased all year, but have in the past (an ad for free shipping would be ideal for this group); and new customers (who may be looking for a place to eat with their family during the holidays, or for a bottle of wine to bring to a “Friendsgiving” potluck).

4. Get to creating!

Put on some holiday music and create a calendar that looks at important dates like National Zinfandel Day (on the third Wednesday of November), Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, National Comfort Food Day (on Dec. 5th...anyone else craving fried chicken with a glass of sparkling wine?!), as well as a schedule for the last days for shipping wine before Thanksgiving/Christmas.

Plan a photoshoot in-house, outsource a local Wine Country photographer, or utilize a service like Outshinery to pop your label into pre-created lifestyle images. Same with any graphic design for ads – use Canva or Photoshop, or hire a North Bay team to create custom digital-sized ads for all of your holiday promotions. Take a few videos for BTS stories of your team shooting these holiday ads to get your community excited for any upcoming promotions.

Create lifestyle imagery with gift sets or seasonal menu items for the holidays. Include these pictures on your product pages, digital ads, press gallery, online review websites, and social media.

5. Utilize social media ads to get through the clutter.

If you are relying solely on organic content for your holiday marketing this year, then you’re doing your brand a disservice.

Social media ads allow your brand to target specific customers in your marketing funnel (see tip #3). They increase the chance that your content is seen by the right people (yes, this includes your own audience!)

Start planning your holiday marketing now. Make sure to keep your customers in mind with every decision you make, and don’t forget to continue the relationship with them after the holidays quiet down. The last three months of the year often feel like a sprint, but remember: social media marketing is a marathon, not just a one-off campaign.

Digital Marketing

Shana Bull is a Santa Rosa-based marketing educator and digital storyteller, working with wine, food, hospitality businesses, teaching classes on marketing, and freelance writing. Reach her with your questions about digital marketing at shana@shanabull.com, @sharayray on Instagram or at shanabull.com.

Read past columns at nbbj.news/digitalmarketing.

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