CMO Digital Forum / Alter Agents


November 17, 2015


Nothing says “holidays in November” quite like the traffic on Twitter.

The social media giant reports that one quarter of Twitter conversations shift to chatter about the holiday shopping experience each year in November. (Twitter also reports that more than half of its users say they have bought an item after learning about it on the platform.)

Wednesdays are the busiest day of the week for tweets about #deals, #savings and #coupons, says Russ Laraway, director of small business sales with Twitter.

And on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving — the gateway to the year’s busiest retail weekend — you can anticipate that conversation will reach a fever pitch.

So aside from your Twitter handle and a social listening tool, like Social Mention, to keep track of trending conversations on the platform, what else do you need?

Here are four ideas trending right now in the social media marketing world:

Promote and educate

Holidays or no holidays, we know the impact of content marketing compared to straight product promotions. Consumers are increasingly showing a preference to learn about products through content rather than traditional advertising.

The National Retail Federation anticipates roughly half of consumer browsing and buying this year will happen online. “Include content and tips relevant to your brand that educate in the same tweet that you’re promoting a relevant product that’s for sale,” says Mark Harrington, vice president of marketing with Clutch in Philadelphia.

Leverage trending topics

Marketing pros celebrated the simplicity and quick thinking behind Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet during the power blackout at the 2013 Super Bowl. The tweet was retweeted 10,000 times within one hour.

Arby’s showed similar Twitter-wit during 2014’s Grammy Awards when it used a tweet to compare a large hat worn by musician Pharrell Williams to the fast food chain’s logo. Tens of thousands of retweets later, Arby’s had successfully moved its brand from nostalgic, shopworn old school to hip-and-sassy new school.

“[That’s] not bad for 140 characters,” says Rebecca Brooks, founder of Los Angeles market research firm Alter Agents.

“Try piggybacking your sales hashtag to a trending news event or a trendsetter who has millions of followers,” Brooks says.

Last but not least, use a social listening tool, like Social Mention or Talkwalker, to stay on top of trending topics.

Embrace live video bloggers

In terms of embracing what’s hot, CMOs should also consider Twitter’s live-streaming app,Periscope. Shoppers this holiday season will no doubt broadcast hours of live video straight from the retail floors, and marketers should be ready to listen and react. “Twitter and Periscope combined is a great tool to show people where and how to shop,” says Maria Serbina, social media influence strategist and author of “If I Can’t Find You in 3 Seconds, You Don’t Exist.”

“Periscope users shed light on the actual deals that brands are posting on Twitter with bargain shoppers who host live broadcasts from various retail stores in their city and state,” Serbina says. “The video segments are then posted on Twitter and Facebook through [video-hosting platform], where people can view the Periscope user’s video evaluation.”

Also consider how your brand might engage influential Periscopers to review your promotions during the holidays.

Consider the Retweet

Given all the Twitter chatter around #sales in November, Clutch’s Harrington advises launching a Twitter Wednesday campaign as early as the day after Halloween.

“It depends on the industry, but generally I tell clients to establish a consistent post frequency and to start ramping up tweet frequency in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving so that you reach a crescendo right before the big promotions on Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” he says.

But even if Nov. 1 has come and gone, there is still the Wednesday before the busiest sales weekend of the year to consider.

Harrington suggests a retweeting tactic, weaving in language about promotions into shares and likes of customers’ positive reviews. “This provides immediate credibility,” he says

There’s also the last-minute appeal of marketing tweets as Christmas Day draws nearer. Case in point: Walgreens on Christmas Day last year used Twitter to remind customers that it was open for last-minute shopping.

We call that a good holiday #save.

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