‘Tis the season for communities

Posted on Nov 5, 2015


“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Now that the pumpkins are deflating on the doorsteps, Christmas has rounded the corner and come into view. That’s Christmas for your customers, not the poor folk who’ve been working on Christmas promotions since March.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to witness some rare events. Bashful men in lingerie departments, mothers swatting up on Star Wars characters and dinner party banter over Norwegian spruces and whether blue or white lights emit the right social status. Many of these behaviours are unique to the season and our retail economy is deft at sweating these traffic spikes to keep them covered through the consumer wasteland of winter and early spring.

This is a must season for making friends and building communities. Your prospective social followers are on-site, experiencing the best of you – this is the time to make friends and build rapport. January is when the hard work starts, to get there with even richer communities… it’s worth considering these simple tips:

  1. Use the season for acquisition and community building. Avoid bombarding users as soon as they’ve joined. There’s too much noise this time of year, don’t fight it. 2016 is when your social strategy will deliver the return.
  2. Consider simple, intuitive incentives to encourage customers to take the effort to join during an otherwise extremely busy time of year. Share this and we’ll reward you with this… keep it simple.
  3. Understand your core audience and which social channels perform better. Presently, baby boomers are the fastest growing social user profile on Facebook. If they’re your core audience, don’t get too excited about Twitter.
  4. Remember email can be a social tool too. You can nurture a social community out of a CRM channel – so if email capture is a well-established policy – keep up the effort.
  5. Explore the institutions of Christmas and find the right sociable territories to engage. The Black Christmas Tree debate will fire-up more keypads than naming your favourite Christmas song. Be canny, not schmaltzy.
  6. Create a unique #hashtag and underpin your Christmas campaign around it. Incentivise your community to share it, with real reward mechanics. This conditions your community to taking part and gives you real data to assess a social campaign performance.
  7. Make January 2016 a social planning window. Get a social strategist or social marketing agency to mine your communities to build social personas and a campaign plan across the whole year.

Above all, consider this investment as building social friendships and not more channels to bombard customers with offers. The harder work happens in January, as you plan a brilliant content marketing strategy and make next year a #Sociable16.