The age-old debate over when it's acceptable to adorn your surroundings with holiday decorations rages on – is it in November? Or December? Or even before Halloween?
While the discussion continues annually, there's one undeniable fact: holiday marketing is starting earlier than ever.
According to a Q3 Sprout pulse survey, a whopping 75% of marketers are launching their holiday content well ahead of their 2022 schedules in 2023.
When do marketers anticipate beginning to publish holiday content for end-of-year holidays? The data suggests a diverse timeline: 5% of marketers plan to start in August, 17% in September, 36% in October, 31% in November, and 11% in December.
Below, we delve into how your brand can leverage holiday marketing on social media to capitalise on the extended festive season, from early Black Friday campaigns to the onset of the new year.
Holiday Marketing Trends for 2023
From the warmth of autumn to the enchantment of a winter wonderland, seasonal marketing campaigns tap into the deep emotional connections we have with end-of-year holiday traditions.
People began embracing the holiday spirit early in 2022, reminiscing about joyful memories from past celebrations. And this trend is expected to persist. Although consumers continue to splurge on gifts for loved ones and themselves, they are likely to be more selective with their spending in light of an uncertain economy.
Experts predict that total global retail sales will reach approximately $1.19 trillion in 2023, a slight increase from the previous year. Success for brands this holiday season will hinge on robust social media campaigns and personalised AI-powered customer care to help them stand out in a crowded marketplace.
To maximise the impact of holiday marketing, brands should pay attention to key consumer trends:
Early start on social media
Holiday predictions indicate that online channels will be a significant source of profits, despite lacklustre overall sales forecasts. The 2023 Sprout Social Index™ reports that 52% of consumers have increased their social media usage in the past two years, using it primarily to discover new products and services. Consequently, focusing on driving social commerce and website conversions is essential. By the end of November, a staggering 89% of marketers will have already initiated their holiday campaigns on social media.
AI-powered customer care
Customer care is paramount, with 76% of consumers appreciating companies that prioritise it, and 70% expecting personalised responses. Brands need to invest in AI workflow efficiencies and tools to deliver quality, personalised responses at scale. AI technologies like machine learning, natural language processing, and sentiment analysis will enhance the customer experience and influence $194 billion in global holiday shopping spend this season.
Influencer marketing remains effective, with 89% of marketers acknowledging its impact on brand awareness. However, authenticity has become a concern, especially with macro-influencers. In contrast, micro-influencers (those with 10,000 to 100,000 followers) are seen as more authentic. Leveraging their content can enhance engagement, trust, and ultimately lead to higher conversion rates and sales.
Holiday marketing strategies by platform
Selecting the right social media platforms for holiday marketing campaigns depends on understanding where your audience spends the most time. Tailoring your content to align with their preferences is vital to ensure they see your holiday promotions. Here are some popular platforms for holiday marketing and how to optimise your strategies for each:
This visual-centric platform is ideal for holiday marketing. Share images and Reels of your products, showcase your best promos in your bio links, create shoppable posts, tap into user-generated content, design gift guides, and collaborate with non-profit organisations.
Known for holiday inspiration, Pinterest is the go-to platform for DIY enthusiasts during the holiday season. Share shoppable Product Pins, trendy recipes, holiday outfit ideas, decor inspiration, and gift suggestions to reach Pinners in the festive spirit.
With its massive user base and popularity for customer service, Facebook is essential. Maximise customer care with AI tools, run messaging campaigns, promote real-time discounts, experiment with Stories and Reels, and use analytics to identify top-performing content early in the season.
TikTok is a favourite among Gen Z. To reach this audience, educate them about how your products can address their needs, and consider partnering with TikTok creators. For a broader audience, tap into trending sounds and embrace holiday aesthetics. Create a TikTok Shop to showcase products through videos and lives.
5 brand examples to inspire your holiday marketing
Spread Holiday Cheer
Glasgow University used picturesque posts to showcase their snow-covered campus and local holiday events, fostering community spirit. Regardless of your industry, harness holiday traditions to promote in-person and virtual events.
Tales of Yore
Airbnb partnered with the makers of the Home Alone franchise, offering a stay in the iconic movie house. Incorporating classic holiday stories into your marketing creates nostalgia and connects with your audience.
Cinnabon tantalised followers with images and videos of their delectable cinnamon rolls, positioning them as perfect holiday gifts. Use your products to showcase the essence of the season and the experiences they can offer.
Spirit of Giving
Casey's aligned their giving campaign with community values, pledging to help a tornado-ravaged community rebuild. Make philanthropy part of your holiday campaign to establish a genuine connection with your audience.
Holly Jolly Customer Care
Starbucks handled an influx of customer inquiries when they revealed their 2022 holiday cups. With holiday campaigns starting early, prepare for increased customer service demands by having a plan in place.
As the holiday season becomes an extended affair and e-commerce continues to grow, social media teams face mounting pressure to create engaging campaigns and handle a surge in customer care inquiries. To prepare for the season, focus on selecting the right platforms and producing top-notch content.
Seeking advanced social media marketing strategies this festive season? Reach out to the team at EWM – we’ve got the knowledge, expertise and passion to take your marketing to the next level.