Social media has established itself as a hugely effective promotional platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in recent years. It’s therefore likely to play a prominent role in their marketing campaigns in the run-up to the festive season. But are SMEs ensuring they make the best possible use of this platform?

What are they not doing and what could they do better in order to deliver maximum results this Christmas?

Be clear about what you want to achieve 

The only way to accurately measure whether a marketing strategy has been successful is for SMEs to determine in advance what outcomes they want to see. Is driving more traffic to the website the priority, or is boosting brand exposure or increasing revenue more important?

Oren Greenberg, managing director of digital marketing agency Kurve, commented: “How you approach your festive strategy should be based on these aims – and everything you share, tweet or post from that point on must be underpinned by these aims.”

Don’t limit yourself to just the biggest social networks

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the three biggest and best-known social media platforms, but that doesn’t mean an SME’s marketing efforts should be limited just to these sites – particularly at Christmas.

According to Katie King, managing director of social media consultancy Zoodikers Consulting, many people are likely to turn to image-based platforms over the festive period, as they look for inspiration for Christmas presents and decorations. As a result, she believes uploading product images on to Instagram and creating boards on Pinterest could be “great ways to engage with modern, image-centric consumers”.

“During the festive period when decorations are a common sight and gifts are beautifully presented, you can encourage your network to share their most striking photos with your small business through social media channels,” Ms King commented.

Run targeted competitions

Social media can be a great platform for staging competitions. According to Alex Bussey of digital design agency Pinpoint Designs, this approach works for SMEs because it tends to generate lots of likes and shares, which in turn helps the firm “get their name out there and improve brand awareness”.

“These also incur a relatively low outlay, yet will really help to characterise you as an engaged and proactive company,” he said.

Time your posts right

There are lots of reports and statistics about the times of the day when social media posts generate maximum engagement. For instance, figures from Entrepreneur.com state that between 13:00 and 16:00 is the best time to interact on Facebook and Twitter in order to get noticed and grab people’s attention.

Oren Greenberg of Kurve believes this kind of data can be extremely valuable to SMEs, as it can prompt them into publishing posts and new content during these windows of opportunity. Just remember though that these are just guidelines and that the circumstances for each business will be different. The best time to capture a general audience might not the same as that to engage with a relatively niche market.

How to devise a festive social media marketing strategy, The Guardian

Posted by Robin McCrink