Posted: Wed 22nd Sep 2021
It may seem too early to start planning your social output for Christmas, but preparation is the key to social success.
I hate to be the first person to mention the C-word, but if Christmas is one of your peak times for business, now’s the time to get your marketing act together.
Remember that old adage: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail? Well that is 100% the case when it comes to marketing and PR, whether online or traditional. You need a SMART marketing plan to deliver business results. Especially if you want a bumper Christmas.
However, I’m willing to wager 95% of my festive bonus that businesses are still winging it on social media. Hoping that “this post will make the difference” to the bottom line.
The problem is, winging it isn’t a plan. Neither is hope.
Neither is relying on the intern, the receptionist or Uncle Bob’s cousin’s niece.
If we don’t have our PR and marketing plans in place by mid-September, we’ll have totally missed the boat for those magazine and trade journal deadlines that are usually three months in advance. If you want to get into Christmas gift guides there’s no time like the present.
Guesting on podcasts? Pitching to conferences? Applying for awards? They are all three months in advance too.
Or how about planning the social media posts from now until Christmas? It would save a lot of heartache to map out a SMART digital and social media marketing plan that actually delivers. That means being specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
Timing your festive content appropriately is vital. Too early and no one is interested, too late and you’ve missed the boat. Not only that, if you don’t flesh out the type of content you want to post in advance, you’ll be creating it in a rush with no clear understanding of why it’s relevant.
A lot of businesses get confused with how to measure a successful post on social media. Essentially, there are two types of marketing posts and they both have completely different DNA.
First are the ones that get published to tick a box, leading to a pattern of posting more just for the sake of it. Then there are those that actually get in front of the target consumer and crave a reaction.
Here’s how to distinguish between the two:
A PR post is created as an announcement or written like a journalistic report to inform as many people as possible in a neutral and professional tone
A social media post is created to solicit and engage opinions and reactions from a specific demographic, so an appropriate relationship-building tone is essential
The key difference? Engagement.
The PR post scorns engagement. In fact, it elicits an internal ‘that’s nice’ type of reaction without anyone lifting a single digit to like, comment or share.
Whereas the social media post desires engagement. It craves engagement, which is in the very DNA of the social media post. It’s the lifeforce from which it draws the energy to grow and multiply into a sale.
If there’s no engagement from a post that you put up on social media, it’s because you did a PR post. Not only did you raise no more than a “meh” from your target consumers, but when the algorithms see it, they’re primed to suffocate the post because of the damage it does in the newsfeed.
Don’t believe me? Check your analytics. The posts that get seen by the most people are the ones that elicit the most engagement. If all you’re doing online is publishing online, you won’t get any marketing or sales results.
It’s simple maths:
Social Media Post + Massive Engagement = Massive Reach
Social Media Post + Zero Engagement = Zero Reach
We’ve all seen what a mess happens when businesses wade into Facebook and LinkedIn groups with endless ‘pick-me’ requests. It’s the online equivalent of those people at networking events who have a wodge of business cards they’re determined to hand out like free cookies.
When it comes to building an online marketing plan in the run up to Christmas, make sure the business has the right strategy and benchmarks that lead to actual sales. Unless the business has a detailed plan, it's not a strategy, it’s just a dream.
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