Each year brings us small business owners a different set of red-hot social media platforms, and with them, completely different marketing approaches. Even seasons “veterans” of the social network platforms have to keep up with new features available, from Facebook Live to Instagram Stories.
We’ve collected the top social media networks du jour, let you know what’s new and trendy, and how to make the most of it for your online retail store. So that your store stays on top of marketing this holiday season.
To give your social media presence a boost during the most important ecommerce part of the year – Black Friday and Cyber Monday – we’ve prepared some free visuals for you to use. It includes social media headers, cover images, post templates for all of the most important holiday events. Scroll to the bottom to download yours!
Facebook – your business must-have social network
Facebook is the current Goliath of social media. The giant that, whether you want to or not, you have to take into consideration. With over 1.7 billion active monthly Facebook users, this is the channel most likely to reach any given internet buyer.
An active online Facebook presence has become a virtual prerequisite for both online and offline businesses. Not to mention Facebook ads are one of the most undervalued tools to reach people right now, an opinion expressed by possibly one of the greatest online marketers, Gary Vaynerchuck.
With 72% of internet users, Facebook is the most broadly used online platform, with the most broad age spectrum.
Facebook Live: One of the currently most advantageous features you could take advantage of. Facebook Live is a feature that Facebook really wants to push, and therefore it rewards people and brands using it by boosting it in the algorithm (aka more likely to be seen), and sometimes even informs your follows via push notification that you’ve gone live.
Even after your live event, the video broadcast will be saved to your timeline, letting anyone else see the content post-fact. Keep in mind that you can’t boost a Facebook Live video while it’s happening, but you can boost it afterwards.
A creative way to use Facebook Live would be to host a Facebook Live unboxing. For example, when you receive Printful samples, set up a quick Facebook Live event to show your followers what they can expect for the holiday season! Here’s an example of a great unboxing on Youtube to get those creative juices flowing.
Take a look at Awkward Yetti, who have made great use of Facebook videos. Though this one in particular isn’t Live, it could have been.
Warm your followers up for your Black Friday event. Use Facebook to launch a Black Friday campaign. Use Facebook Live to announce it, and throughout the week have some giveaways, competitions, and of course, great sales.
Keep in mind that Facebook now supports hashtags, so make sure to mark your posts with a #blackfriday hashtag, so that others can stumble upon your brand. Consider adding other relevant tags like #blackfridaysale and #blackfridaygiveaway, because these are terms that people are searching for this time of year.
Don’t have your Black Friday visuals yet? Be sure to grab our free templates.
Instagram – a visual storytelling tool
Instagram is a great platform for products that are specifically visual. Apparel is definitely in that category. Instagram has lately been rolling out all sorts of new features to make it more appealing to businesses and users alike, including the introduction of Instagram ads, as well as the new Instagram stories.
Instagram is actively used by over 400 million users, but 75% of them are outside of the USA. Engagement on Instagram, however is high. It’s the social platform with the second-highest engagement rate, with 60% of users logging in daily. This makes Instagram not as widely used as Facebook, but a great opportunity to build deeper relationships with your followers.
One of the latest features that Instagram is making an effort to popularize are Instagram Stories. In fact, when an account starts to uses Stories for the first time, it will send a notification to its followers’ phones, bringing even more attention to your account.
If you’re not acquainted with Stories, the essential rundown is that it’s similar to Snapchat, in that you take a picture or video, you’re able to edit it, and it will disappear in 24 hours. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started with Instagram Stories that’ll give you all of the low down.
This is a great opportunity to take advantage of Instagram marketing through Stories, while they’re still interested in marketing it more for free.
Here’s an example of an Instagram video of an artist putting together a holiday-themed design. Consider showing your followers the artistic process behind your designs:
View this post on Instagram
Here's a Christmas wreath for a Christmas card. 🎄 . . #watercolorpainting #watercolorflowers #watercolorwreath #inspiring_watercolors #process_of_creativity #floralwreath #watercolour_gallery #hyperlapse #timelapse #flowersofinstagram #marlenemakes #ombre #christmascard #christmas
Another great idea is to create visual gift guides. Place several items in one image, and tag each one of them. Be sure to add your own products, too!
Snapchat – marketing’s undeniable future
Snapchat was once considered a fad social media platform, but it has proven that it’s here to stay. Snapchat now has more users than Twitter or LinkedIn, proving that it’s a platform to be taken seriously.
The premise behind Snapchat is that you take a quick snap – be it a photo or a video. You can then edit it with text, emojis, stickers, or free-form drawings. The content will be sent to your followers, but will only be available for 24 hours.
While it’s still only used by 18% of social media users, this year alone 10% of 12-24 year olds moved entirely from Facebook to Snapchat. This means that this is quickly becoming the social network of choice among youth. And if history repeats itself, then it will slowly begin to amass an ever-growing demographic.
It’s high time that you consider a Snapchat presence. In fact, Printful’s on Snapchat. And so is Shopify, who do an awesome job at creating Snapchat content. Definitely check them out!
If you aren’t sure where to start with Snapchat, take a look at Shopify’s excellent tutorial. It’ll cover everything from how to set up, to creative ways to use the editor, and everything in between.
The beauty of Snapchat is that users don’t expect content to be super refined. Since it’s going to disappear in 24 hours, it’s more important to get something up, rather than finicking over it being perfect. This means that you have a lot more room to let your personality shine through.
Here are some ideas of what an ecommerce brand can do on Snapchat:
- Run a contest
- Promote sales
- Show off the behind-the-scenes of running your business
- Show off your daily life
- Document any events/conferences you’re attending
- Give new product previews
Here’s an example of Printful showing off a new product preview:
GrubHub is a brand that’s doing everything right with Snapchat. It just goes to show that you don’t need a huge budget or marketing superstar to get creative.
Here’s an example of unveiling a discount code:
Here they are creating a fun story using resources that are abundant. Note that the content isn’t sales-y, it aims to entertain.
And how they had a screenshoting competition, where followers were prompted to screenshot when they saw “bacon”, in return for a potential prize.
Twitter – when news needs to be spread quickly
Besides Facebook, Twitter is the oldest platform on this list. Though having gained very fast popularity in the early stages of its existence, Twitter seems to have hit a plateau of growth for the moment. Known for it’s 140 character limit of text, Twitter has expanded its function to include images, videos, and even gifs.
That being said, there are over 310 million active monthly users on Twitter. Twitter has been known to become the space for breaking news, and users are used to pseudo-instant responses.
As an online store owner, not everyone has opted for a Twitter account. However if you do, this is the time when you should be extremely on the ball about answering questions or offering support to customers through this channel.
Take advantage of holiday-specific hashtags to make your products more searchable. Use hashtags like:
— East Village Market (@EastVillage_MKT) October 28, 2016
Increase your spacial real-estate. Most tweets are quickly scrolled over and lost. Make your tweets stand out by hitting the enter button to make spaces between lines, or add images to grab your followers’ attention.
— Twitter News (@TwitterNews) March 13, 2013
Think outside the box
Whichever platforms you’ve decided to make use of for your brand, the general rule of thumb of marketing is to stay on top of the platforms’ options, and take full advantage of them. Be it for Halloween, Black Friday, Christmas or New Year, tis the season for getting in front of your followers’ eyes – make sure to take advantage of every single opportunity!
To give you an upper hand, we’ve put together a tonne of free Black Friday visuals that you can use. They’re social media header/cover images, as well as templates for regular posts as well.