This post is by Jim Belosic, co-founder and president of Pancake Laboratories, the creator of ShortStack, an application built on the Facebook platform that offers affordable, white-label tab design including contests, commenting, sharing and many other easy-to-use features.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Cities are tying big red bows and ornate wreaths around downtown lampposts, shops have their holiday lines displayed in storefronts, and families are lighting the fireplace and trimming the tree. Even online shoppers are starting to see the glimmer of animated .GIF holiday lights. There’s a hustle and bustle in the air that can only be brought about by snow, scarves, sugar cookies and the hope for a visit from Santa.
Here at ShortStack, we recently strung up lights between the posts in our office and hung another strand around the front desk. Our festive decor got us thinking– what about Facebook? Without question, this holiday season inspires the most decorating, so how is that translating to the virtual world we make our living in?
We’re in a unique position because of our great users, who have used our platform to reach more than 100,000,000 fans. So our team of market research elves formulated a series of holiday-specific questions about page layout and design, discounts, contests, and sweepstakes and posed a survey to our users. We came away with some pretty interesting data:
Of the 1,020 page admins who responded, a whopping 68.6% are decorating for the holidays. Some are going all out, like Marimuthu D., of Balti Curries, “We changed our profile picture, the photo strip and tabs to suit the Christmas holidays.
Others, like graphic designer Lorann Snow, are taking a more subtle approach: “I like understated graphical changes to celebrate holidays. For example, I will add some snowflakes.”
At 34.5%, more than a third of those surveyed are implementing some kind of holiday photo contest, like Bronwyn E. of Barnes.com.au: “We’re running an ‘upload a photo of a Christmas gift you’ve made by hand’ tab for the holiday season.”
E-marketing firm A Couple of Chicks is adding numerous holiday features, according to Christy H., “We’re allowing people to post about their favorite holiday traditions, upload favorite photos, post recipes, what causes they support, etc.”
Not to be lost in the numbers are the pages bringing the true Christmas spirit to Facebook. Giving to and helping those in need was a common theme among those polled.
“We’re making a donation to a cause for every 100 new fans,” Laura W. of Out of the Box Online said.
Said social media strategist Jessica F.: “I’m using the app to create ‘sweepstakes’ type promos to donate money to charity with every entry. Also using it to give an exclusive coupon that when redeemed, the client will donate $5.00 to a soup kitchen.”