Holiday Insights from the Main Street Hub Marketing Team
The holiday season is about to kick into high gear. Here at Main Street Hub, we thought it would be a good idea to take a deep breath and talk a little about social media strategies for the holidays. Our VP of Marketing, Matt Lapinski , sat down with Regional Outreach Specialists, Emma Vaughn and Kristin Booth , to get some holiday tips and tactics for our local heroes.
Emma and Kristin can be found discovering local communities and connecting with local businesses at in-person events, seminars, trade shows, and online webinars ( sign up here !). They have the unique opportunity to talk to business owners across the country and get feedback from a wide range of sources on a vast array of topics.
Here are a few things they had to say:

Matt Lapinski: Kristin, Emma, thanks for taking the time today. Let’s get to it.

ML: The holidays can be a busy and stressful time for small business owners. For a lot of small businesses, the holidays can be a make or break time of year. What would you say are the biggest frustrations we hear from our local heroes about holiday advertising?

Emma Vaughn: “What I’ve heard the most is ‘time:’ the time to actually take advantage of their social media presence. They have family commitments, travel commitments, and social commitments — all on top of running their businesses. But, it’s still critical to manage pages and online presence during this time of year. There’s a lot of great content around the holidays that they can be using to promote their businesses, but balancing their free time and work is hard. Personally, I travel for the holidays, and I use Yelp a lot during this time. If the business I’m looking for doesn’t have their holiday hours posted on social media or review sites up to date, I’m less likely to go there.”
Kristin Booth: “Exactly! I couldn’t agree more, and I’ll offer up a quick solution! On Facebook, if your business page is setup correctly, scheduling posts in advance to go up at various times can keep users engaged even when you aren’t there to manage it. So, planning for the times when you’re out can be a big help.”

ML: I think that’s a really important call-out. Business owners, much like all of us, are especially busy this time of year outside of work too. But what is the one thing they shouldn’t ignore in the social media space?

KB: “Taking opportunities for real-time content. Taking photos of new products in the moment, live tweeting events, updating Facebook statuses — all of this can be done from their phones and can give them an opportunity to connect with their customer base.”
EV: “To piggyback off of that: Since many owners and consumers are on-the-go during the holidays, make sure your website is mobile-optimized. That’s how most people are going to find your information.”

ML: Conversely, what if it’s a slow season for a particular small business? What are the tactics they should be thinking about? What can they be doing to enhance their awareness and traffic going into the new year and beyond?

KB: “Promoting upcoming events and programs on all of your social pages. Downtime is nice, but it’s also a great time for planning. It’s a great to time of year to catch up and promote! I recommend getting your social pages up to date and email programs squared away.”
EV: “I would say, ’Tis the season for Twitter!’ Twitter allows a unique opportunity for you, the business, to be proactive with local customers nearby and in real time. It’s a great time to warm them up and let know what you have going on during the holiday season. Build rapport, invite them in, and build an organic following for the next year.”

ML: Last question, is there something that business owners should be doing differently in order to break through the holiday clutter and noise?

KB: “Yes. Encourage customer participation! Develop and post check-in offers on Yelp. That doesn’t mean giving away products or services. This is going to sound like a silly example, but it could be as simple as ‘get a free hug with each slice of pizza!’ People love that stuff, and it creates a buzz. It’s important to emphasize that it doesn’t have to be a giveaway. It can be a tip or even a product countdown. Diversify the channels too — Facebook and Twitter are great for this, but switching up the medium catches more users.”
EV: “I love that. That’s all really good. This time of year, a lot of businesses are spamming, so to break away from that annoying noise, I would ask questions. Let your customers create the noise. Good examples: ‘What do you want under the tree this year?’ ‘What do you do for the holidays?’ Let them talk! Instead of advertising, facilitate genuine conversation and word of mouth.”
KB: “Also, take the opportunity to thank your customers! Encourage them to spend time with family or a charity or something they may be passionate about. You can really build a relationship with customers by sharing your values with them!”

ML: So great! Kristin, Emma, thanks for all the helpful advice and time today!

If you’re interested in hearing more from Kristin or Emma, head over the webinars page and sign up for their next event! And, be on the lookout for a Main Street Hub live event near you in the future.
Want to learn more about VP Marketing Matt Lapinski? Click here to find out what brought him from Michigan to Main Street Hub! For more insights from Kristin Booth, check out these 8 Essential Tips .
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This content was originally published here.