This holiday season will be unlike any other before it, due to the large number of consumers who plan to conduct the majority of their shopping online. With many still avoiding stores due to pandemic concerns, brands and retailers won’t be able to rely on store displays or advertising in order to win shoppers over. Instead, social media marketing is likely to play a bigger role, even – or especially – for small business.
“While small businesses may not be able to compete with the big guys when it comes to deals and savings, [their] business has something the superstores don’t: a regional story that has the potential to capture hearts,” said Amy Copperman, editorial and social media lead for Adobe Spark.
Holiday marketing has traditionally been centered around sales and discounts, but these may be less favorable to smaller brands still struggling to make up for pandemic-induced revenue losses. Fortunately, the reason that many customers are drawn to small business is not price point; instead, a growing interest in supporting the local community and shopping from independent businesses has seen shoppers flock to SMBs.
Copperman recommends that brands use this to their advantage. Creating a presence on a social platform is free, although businesses may want to pay to “boost” their native advertising on the platforms where their base is most engaged. Once the format is decided upon, brand marketing should be updated to focus on the qualities that make the local business unique to its area and segment.
“Perhaps you’ve been a neighborhood favorite for years, or produce your goods using local or sustainable ingredients, or maybe you’ve found innovative ways to share resources during this tough time,” said Copperman. “Whatever your unique small business story is, make sure you highlight it for your customers and appeal to consumers’ interest in shopping local.”
Holiday marketing commonly differs from its year-round counterpart in a few ways. Swapping out promotional imaging to reflect the season is one way that brands can easily and affordably update their social presence. Another tool is to adopt a holiday-themed campaign to drum up enthusiasm and anticipation around the busier shopping days, with an emphasis on buying for others.
If a sale is feasible for a retailer’s bottom line, Copperman recommends that social marketing be used to spread awareness and increase participation. One tactic is to announce a surprise extension of the sale – even if this was premeditated – in order to add novelty and create delight for the shopper. By producing consistent messaging, SMBs can improve the likelihood that consumers will remember to shop the sale once it is live.
Many small business owners manage all their marketing in-house, so launching seasonal campaigns might seem daunting. But commerce solutions like Adobe increasingly offer marketing tools and support that can help small teams maximize their resources. Businesses should therefore explore the solutions offered by their technology providers, to see if they can utilize marketing materials that may already be included in their service.
“The holiday shopping season, like the back-to-school season before it, might look a little different for all of us, but it’s still an important inflection point for small businesses,” said Copperman. “And there’s a huge opportunity to double down on the grit and successes you’ve built during this challenging year.”