Sales & Marketing

Eight ways to make your brand stand out during the festive season

8 min read

16 October 2015

During the cluttered social media festive season, making your brand stand out can help set you apart from the competition. Here are eight ways to do this.

The lead up to Christmas is an extremely busy one for shoppers and social media alike. In a tidal wave of social chatter, many brands actively increase their activity in their quest to drive sales. 

While it can be a time for strong community growth, cut through and orders, many brands still struggle to capitalise on the opportunity because of a lack of clarity to their social media strategies.

So, what can really add value to your brand and audience, drive engagement, reach and ultimately sales over this period?

Social gamification can play a key role in making social media work hard during this time. Essentially developing a Facebook application that educates and incentivises new and existing customers to play, win, share and shop! To create a truly success gamification campaign, follow these rules:

1) Define and then refine your objective

When the social channels are so busy and consumers’ time is even more precious, it is wise to have one or two objectives and deliver them well. Those may be to increase sales or perhaps generate reach into the millions. Whatever your objectives, build your campaign around them from the start.

2) Playability meets relevance

To create standout, interaction between the brand and user is essential. Creating a branded environment where the user can have a degree of fun with your brand without having to think too hard is a recipe for success. It increases further when you add an element of competitiveness. Think about time trials, brainteasers or perhaps even pitching community members against each other and offering rewards in the process.

Within this branded experience, you can also educate consumers on your products, service or brand in a subtle, subconscious way. The result? People having fun on our social channels while subconsciously learning about your brand.

3) Make it your own

Pass the parcel, the quintessential advent calendar, pull a cracker… while they have all been done, there’s nothing wrong with making such an idea your own rather than creating something completely different. What is important is to think about spin you can put on these to make them unique to you.

4) Prizes 

Prizes are the key element that draws prospects to your activity. From virtual prizes, coupons and exclusive content to physical prizes, what would spur an action from your prospects? 

Whichever option you choose, make sure it aligns with your consumer demands and business proposition. Choose them carefully and get clever with them. At the end of the day, the prizes will typically be the activity that leads your promotional message so it has to be right for you and the consumer.

When it comes to the game/app mechanic, instant wins have a far stronger appeal. From the consumer’s perspective, they get the news they want sooner (win or lose) which in turn builds a strong degree of interest and trust in their subconscious around your brand, allowing them to quickly feel engaged with the business and maintaining their interest in your channel.

Finally think about how the prize mechanic can also drive your social presences further. Offer additional chances of winning if users follow your other social channels or tweet it out to friends. This is where social media comes into its own.

During this busy time, your messaging needs to be obvious within five seconds – what does you visitor need to do to get involved and what’s in it for them. If they don’t get it, they won’t engage.

Read more tips on page two…

5) The 5 second rule

During this busy time, your messaging needs to be obvious within five seconds – what does you visitor need to do to get involved and what’s in it for them. If they don’t get it, they won’t engage.

The same applies to the user journey. Keeping it simple is the absolute rule. If it’s overly complicated, then expect limited dwell time and negativity. This doesn’t mean it needs to be short; it means having a clear start and end with all eventualities thoroughly thought out and addressed. A good tip is to map out the user journey but establish your brand messaging all the way along, right at the start of the process, so you are clear on the outcome you want to achieve.

Finally, ensure all imagery is good quality and eye catching. No matter how good your idea is, without the correct standard of imagery, it will either not get prioritised by Facebook’s algorithms impacting reach or consumers will simply not engage.

6) Keep it mobile

Mobile is now our ‘first screen’. With over 75 per cent of adults now owning a smartphone, anything you do on your social channels must be mobile-friendly. Ensure any images, content or games you play are seamless on mobile as well as desktop.

7) Promotional support

Establishing your content and incentive ideas are 50 per cent of the battle. Without having any basic support, especially on Facebook, your content will not be seen. At the very least boosting the content will help it drive a level of paid reach within your existing community. From there, targeted Facebook bought media and online advertising will drive new consumers to the platform to engage with your activity.

8) Keep them coming back

Don’t be fooled into thinking that consumers can get tired of opportunities to win. If you have an instant win activation or a daily prize draw, you can keep them coming back. But there’s two things to remember here. Always keep in mind what’s in it for the user or you will lose them. Adopting this strategy through the year could make your channels too dependent on competitions so save it for condensed periods only.

The final piece of the jigsaw…

So how can your campaign help you drive sales? Aside from consumer education, a key opportunity that an app mechanic itself can offer is the ability to become a coupon dispenser. This isn’t about giving coupons away to everyone, it’s about allowing entrants to earn them. Experience shows that, this way, the coupon has a high value to the consumer and consequently the redemption rates increase dramatically. 
Remember these key rules and your business can stand out rather than get lost in the crowds this festive period.

Hayden Allen-Vercoe is chief operating officer at Orbital Media.