Creating a Holiday Content Plan: Tips & Best Practices

    October 06 2020  |  Downloadables , Best Practices , Social Media

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    Since when did holiday content planning begin in spring? We’re not quite sure when this change took place, but if you haven’t already started planning out your content strategy for the holidays, you need to get on that! Lucky for you, we’re here to help jumpstart your planning!

    The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for small business owners, creatives, and shoppers. But this season marks a sharp contrast from all others, as in-person shopping will be a challenge in some places and virtually non-existent in others. 

    Due to this forced shift in consumer behavior, content marketing and e-commerce will be more critical to holiday success than ever before. And with shoppers starting earlier than past years to get ahead of shipping delays, you have to plan accordingly.  

    Alongside timeliness, the effectiveness of your holiday content planning will be decided by how well you manage your resources and understand your consumer. In this post, we’ll explore the critical strategic pillars that can help make your holiday marketing campaign a successful one, and add a light to an otherwise extremely odd year for yourself and others.

    Holiday Mania: By the Numbers

    Holidays sales and digital impressions continue to soar with each new holiday season. And while this year will be vastly unique from any other in the past, even COVID can’t change certain consumer behaviors during the holidays.

    This April, holiday-related searches increased by 77% as opposed to the previous year. That same survey suggests that by campaigning to your audience earlier, the chances of your success increase by upwards to 65%.

    Last year, Pinterest shared that 50% of its shoppers had finished their holiday shopping by Thanksgiving. That number is almost certain to increase this year given most shopping will be done online and doesn’t require much physical effort.

    But maybe even more important, Pinterest reports that nearly 50% of Pinners globally want help from brands to take their holidays to the “next level.” So, are you helping your customers level up?

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    Holiday Content Planning Tip #1: Ask Your Audience First

    Understanding your audience through social media is central to success during the holiday season. There isn’t a time where knowing the behaviors of your audience isn’t beneficial to your content marketing efforts. However, taking a moment to understand your customer’s unique needs ahead of major shopping days will keep you from using up resources ineffectively, like time, money, and content. 

    There are many types of shoppers that your content needs to accommodate. These shopper personas help you understand how to serve your audience content. And the best way to understand your audience is to explicitly ask them what they want and/or need.

    Before planning your holiday content, send out surveys polling your audience about the type of holiday content they want to see from you. Think about asking your audience questions like this:

    • What’s your biggest concern going into this holiday season?
    • How can a brand help simplify your holiday season?
    • What are you looking forward to this holiday season?
    • Which products do you want to see bundled for gift-giving?
    • What would help you as an online shopper?
    • What are some of your favorite holiday memories?

    Think about ways to connect with your audience so that your content resonates not only with their past experiences but the new experiences they hope to cultivate. You can’t miss if you’re delivering the content your audience is asking for - so ask them!

    Holiday Content Planning Tip #2: Do More With the Link In Your Bio

    Scrolling through Instagram is the new window shopping. With digital shopping being both the safe and preferred method this holiday season, make it easy for your customers to shop specific products, read articles, or browse sales directly from the link in your bio. 

    The link in your Instagram bio, or any social media bio, should take your customers from your feed to checkout with ease. That said, there’s no better way to sell online–and through Instagram–than our sellit tool. 

    With sellit, you can create a custom link for your bio that showcases a gallery of your products with one-click check out or add custom buttons to places like your website or blog. It couldn’t be easier for your followers to browse and shop, directly from their mobile device. 

    Truth be told, sellit was created for small business owners and creatives to thrive in moments exactly like these! Refinery 29 uses our sellit tool to showcase their incredible interviews and blog content. Small business owner Megan Martinez uses her sellit shop to sell bandanas, totes, pins, handcrafted cards, and more. 

    sellit can be anything you want it to be. For the holidays, it’ll serve you best as a digital storefront on Instagram where you can easily reach your customers and quickly provide gift ideas, sell your products as gifts, and give your followers inspiration for future purchases.

    More on setting up a link in bio with sellit.

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    Holiday Content Planning Tip #3: Create an In-Store Experience Virtually

    This holiday season won’t be filled with packed malls, overflowing department stores, or lines outside of retailers ahead of Black Friday sales. Good, right? Well as strange as it may seem, many will miss those in-store experiences. And finding ways to recreate them might just set you apart from your competitors this season. 

    Allow your shoppers to discover products in a visually appealing manner. Let them sift through a virtual clothing rack, or slide their mouse over virtual records so it feels like they’re thumbing through vinyl in their favorite record shop. Create more carousel posts on Instagram so viewers can swipe through buying options. 

    Provide an authentic experience that feels real to your shopper with things like hosting Q&As, customer testimonials, or sneak peeks into the latest arrivals. People still want to enjoy the holiday shopping experience; they also want to be safe. Take that into consideration when content planning.

    Holiday Content Planning Tip #4: Promote Deals and Sales Early

    To make sure that you’re capturing your shoppers’ attention, be certain that any promotions or sales are very prominent in your content marketing. 

    Promotions and sales are a tried and true engagement metric that helps convert potential shoppers into buyers. You’ll want to prioritize promoting deals by making sure that language or graphics related to sales are easy to see and comprehend on social media. Test what resonates with your audience now before big days roll around.

    Make sure these advertisements are visible and optimized across all platforms - Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, email marketing, and your blog. On platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, where you can tag brands or products, make sure you’re leveraging those tools to connect the dots for your audience.

    Also, if you have customers that shop with you frequently, attend in-person and virtual events, or dine at your restaurant weekly, be sure to provide them with some exclusivity for your holiday promotions and sales. This is a great time to build connections and customer loyalty.

    Holiday Content Planning Tips #5: Use Instagram Live and AR Filters, & Tag Products

    We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it; use all the tools at your disposal! The best way to approach content marketing for the holidays is by leveraging everything around you. 

    This season requires you to be more creative than ever. Instagram Live is a great tool to tap into with your followers and dive directly into your content marketing. Create an exclusive experience to showcase products, offer deals to those watching or commenting on your live feed, and do giveaways through trivia questions about your brand! There are tons of fun ways to get into the holiday season and market at the same time! 

    If you have the resources, try dipping into Instagram’s tech-forward Augmented Reality filter. Like we noted in tip #3, give your audience an in-store experience, virtually. Instagram’s AR Filters allow customers to try on digital products before purchasing, which opens up a wealth of shopping opportunities for you and your customers!

    Tagging products on social networks is a quick and easy way to connect your customers to your brand and your creations. If followers are watching your Stories of a Live, tagging products gives them the opportunity to learn more and purchase right then and there. So make sure you don’t limit the ability for your consumers to discover and shop at every moment.

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    Holiday Content Planning Tips #6: Keep Designs Simple & Scrappy

    Less is often more, and it’s extremely important to remember that when designing your brand assets this holiday season. Avoid the mental struggles of constant revisions and overthinking and keep design scrappy, fun, and easy for your audience to digest.

    There’s this notion that designs have to be perfect. They don’t. Better than perfection is completion, volume, and personality. For example, when producing content on social media, lean into simple text-based graphics on IG Stories. These are easy to create and already something that your followers can identify with. 

    You can also repurpose existing photography to fit into your holiday brand strategy. Again, the goal with scrappy marketing is to do more with less. So use what you already have and do what you know best. During the holiday season you want to be fast, effective, and intentional. The latter is critical as you want to make sure you’re designing with a platform in mind. If your content has a big impact on Pinterest, keep that particular platform in mind when you’re creating. Lean into what works and design based on that historic success.

    Holiday Content Planning Tips #7: Know When to Post

    Creating great content is only half the battle during the holidays. For that content to truly convert, it’s critical to post at the right time–on the right platform– when your audience is active. 

    Let’s break down when you should post and on what platform:

    • Instagram: best days to post are Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday, with Wednesday being the very best day for engagement. Your best time windows are during lunch around 11am to 1pm and after traditional work hours around 7pm to 9pm. If you post on weekends, make sure it’s Saturday around or after 5pm. Sunday is the worst day to post to Instagram.
    • Youtube: If you’re creating holiday video content this season, you’ll need to leverage Youtube as much as possible. Here, the best days to post are Thursday and Friday between 12pm and 4pm. Weekends are when Youtube viewers are actively searching for content. Typically, you can catch that wave of viewers in the mornings from 9am to 11am.
    • Twitter: Weekdays are all optimal on Twitter but there are certain time slots that work best. 10am to 11am is the best time to post on Twitter during the week. You can also increase your engagement by posting around 5pm. Weekends are traditional low engagement periods on Twitter. 
    • Facebook: While Mondays and Tuesdays have long been identified as the worst days to post on Facebook, conversely, Thursday through Sunday are critical touchpoints on the original social network. Between 1pm to 4pm are key times to engage your Facebook audience during the week, while weekends are peak engagement periods. Almost anytime on Saturday and Sunday is a great time to tap into your Facebook following.

    Related: PLANOLY’s Best Time to Post feature to schedule your content based on when your audience is most active on Instagram.

    Holiday Content Planning Tips #8: Your Copywriting Should Mirror Your Brand Voice

    There’s always a question about copywriting when it comes to the holidays? Should my copywriting change during the holidays? Should it be more festive? Can I shake things up a bit? The answer is yes, yes, and definitely yes

    There’s only one thing to keep in mind: stay true to your brand voice. When writing holiday content that’s meant to engage your existing audience and attract new followers, it’s important not to deviate from your core values. Your copywriting should be consistent with your brand voice. You can absolutely change the mood of your writing and make it more festive during the holidays. You can even add in some humor or sarcasm if you want. All those things just need to revolve around your brand guidelines. 

    You want your audience to be able to identify your content when they see it, or in this case, when they read it. Consistency is a huge marketing tool. Copywriting is like your signature. Make sure it stays true to your brand.

    Holiday Content Planning Tips #9: Make Your Content Inclusive

    As we’ve all learned this year, inclusivity can make or break your brand strategy. So if your holiday content planning doesn’t include all gender identifying people of all backgrounds, you’re bound to fall short. 

    For example, if your audience is largely made of women, make sure you also market to men who may be interested in your products. Or if your marketing strategy doesn’t always extend to or create space for Black women, make sure that it does from here on out starting with the holidays. 

    Also, if you’re creating holiday gift guides this season, make sure you include Black and Brown-owned businesses in your roundup. Just think - the gift you can give this holiday season is allyship.

    Holiday Content Planning Tips #10: Schedule Your Content

    You knew we weren’t going to get out of here without some content about scheduling content, right? Of course not! This is what we do. And if you want to create time and space for your loved ones this holiday season, it’s what you need to do too!

    Using PLANOLY to schedule your content isn’t just about proper planning, organization, and simplifying your social marketing. In this case, it’s about freeing up time for you to also enjoy the holidays!

    During one of the business times of the year for small business owners, creatives, and influencers, the freedom scheduling your content provides is invaluable. Just because you’re offering your customers and followers great content and products, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to enjoy some downtime as well. Planning and scheduling your holiday content will give you the free time you deserve, without compromising the connectivity you’ve built with your audience. 

    Start your holiday content planning with our free downloadable checklist!

    PLANNING CHECKLIST

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