Retail: gearing up for Cyber Monday (part 5 – social media)

Well here we are, the final of our five part series looking at the online tactics you can execute to make Christmas 2010 your most successful yet.

Having already focused on planning, optimising your website, refining your paid search campaign and editorial link building, we finish the week with some social media tips.

Day 5 – Social media

We advised on Monday to focus your Christmas marketing efforts on channels that are already established. Therefore, we’d argue that now is not the best time to embark upon a social media strategy unless planned well in advance, understanding the time and resource that is required to make social media a success. On this basis, the advice given in this post assumes that you are already active in the use of social media tools and networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, and that you have a reasonable following.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to make your social media efforts on Cyber Monday and over the Christmas period a success:

Identify your brand advocates

These are the customers most active in shouting about your products or brand. If you don’t already, make sure you know who they are. If they are happy to talk positively about your brand, can you encourage them to do so during the build up to Christmas, by sending them  your ‘hero’ products to review, for example?

Utilise your content

Using Twitter for the purposes of offering your ‘followers’ discounts can be highly effective. But don’t limit your Twitter activity to shouting about your great products, special offers and discounts. Look to offer your target audience more value. Therefore, make sure you use your social media platforms to shout about the great content you have created to support sales, such as buyers guides, articles and so on.

If you have user-generated-content on your websites, such as customer product reviews, use them as collateral. Can you tweet review snippets for your ‘hero’ products, for example?

Set up alerts

Set up alerts using a tool, such as Radian 6, or use Twitter Search to find those prospects talking about the products or services you sell, or asking more general questions you may be able to answer.

For example, if you come across a tweet where someone asks, ‘help, I can’t decide what to buy my girlfriend for Christmas’, respond with one of the helpful buyers guides you have already created when optimising your website.

A word of warning though – don’t go steaming in with products or special offers. People on social networks generally don’t want to be ‘sold to’. Instead, answer their question in a helpful manner, seeking to adding value. Directly interacting with prospects in this way can help enhance your reputation as a useful brand, and if managed in the right way, can aid sales over the Christmas period by bringing prospects into your ‘sphere of influence’ who may not have otherwise come to you.

Use social media for customer service

Customers will use their social media profiles to provide feedback on your products and quality of service over the Christmas period; good and bad. Have an agreed policy in place with your sales and service teams who engage in social media. When feedback is negative, which will inevitably happen from time to time,  ensure staff know when to deal with this in public and when to take the query offline.

Continue the dialogue after Christmas

Consider how you can generate repeat business from newly customers acquired in the New Year. Have you connected with them through social media channels? Are they on your mailing lists? Can you ask their opinions on what they bought? What products their friends and family loved? Can you add them to mailing list?


This brings to an end to a week of posts covering key tactics to help make this Christmas your most successful yet. We hope you’ve found them useful in developing and executing your online strategy.

All that is left for me to do is wish you a very Merry Christmas (well, they do say Christmas gets earlier every year!).

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