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What’s the best way to approach holiday social media content?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: Does your business produce holiday-related content for its branded social media channels?

  • No: 51.35%
  • Yes: 48.65%

The month of December means different things to different people. The season can be religious or not; serious or silly; rooted in family tradition or fueled by commercialism. Even cold weather isn’t a given. All most people can really agree on is that it’s an important time of year. So how do you, as a brand, go about getting people excited about the holidays, when you can’t be sure what exactly your customers are getting excited about?

Here are three ways to rethink the “holiday spirit” and get your fans involved this year.

  • Ask what your fans want from you at this time of year. What are your best customers — the people who support you all year round — doing this month? Are they new parents looking to share the season with their kids for the first time? Single adults looking to blow off a little steam between family visits? Kids with visions of sugarplums pre-downloaded into their wildest holiday imaginings? Folks who’d rather go on vacation than hear one more word about the magic of the season? Forget about what you think the season or the holidays are about. Ask what your customers are focused on. If you don’t know, ask them. No matter what their views on the season are, most people aren’t shy about sharing.
  • Ask how you can be useful. For one reason or another, many people find this season stressful — even if it’s their favorite time of the year. The one thing that unites most of humanity is that we’d all like to be just a little less busy, tired and stressed out. Think about how your fans are observing this season and then ask yourself how you can make the season just a little easier for them. When in doubt, remember that a helping hand is a gift everyone longs for.
  • Ask if there’s another approach you can take. Nothing says you have to have just one holiday campaign or just one way of engaging your fans during this season. Not convinced? Think about Coca-Cola for a moment. Their holidays ads had a tremendous effect on the modern conception of Santa Claus in the U.S. — a lot of brands would be thrilled to have that kind of synergy with such a prominent holiday icon. The folks at Coke could have ridden that pony every December from now until the end of time, but they didn’t. They’ve gone on to create other memorable campaigns, such as their ads featuring lovable holiday polar bears. Coke understands that because the season is so many things to so many people, it needs multiple channels to reach its audience effectively. If you’ve got a holiday campaign that’s working for you, great. Now ask yourself how you can reinvent that campaign for people with a different idea of what the season means to them.