The holiday shopping season is just around the corner. Everyone enjoys this festive period: People love giving (and receiving!) gifts, while marketers embrace another opportunity to grow revenue. Why? Last year, online holiday shopping sales in the US reached $126B. What’s more, 76% of customers planned to buy more than a quarter of their gifts online.
Simply put, modern buyers want to discover new products and make purchase decisions online. What better way to reach them than with social media stories!
But first things first: let’s understand why social media stories, which last for only 24 hours, help businesses boost ecommerce sales.
The Popularity of Social Media Stories
The concept of social media stories, also known as “ephemeral content”, isn’t new on the market. Back in 2013, Snapchat launched Stories, disappearing content with the 24-hour time limit. Later, Instagram copied this content format in 2016 and Facebook joined the trend in 2017. Today, Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp have 500 million daily users each, surpassing its original Snapchat version:
Since ephemeral content has a short lifespan of 24 hours, the fear of missing out (FOMO) is in full effect, which encourages users to watch stories immediately. With the growth of short-lived content, social media platforms have rolled out business-specific features that gave brands more opportunities to interact with their target audiences and achieve business goals.
Why Should Brands Use Stories During the Holiday Shopping Season?
While it may seem that creating short-lived posts is a waste of time, there are at least three reasons to use stories during the holiday shopping season:
- Beat the algorithm: Do you know that stories are growing 15x times faster than feeds? Stories appear in separate feeds, and they have the circle of color around the profile picture which indicates that accounts have posted to their story. This colorful circle tells users that there’s something new they should view, so it encourages them to take action faster.
- Create a sense of urgency: Ephemeral content is only available for a short period of time before disappearing, so users are hastened to watch stories in order not to miss out on something important.
- Encourage impulse buying: With the launch of Instagram shoppable stickers, it’s no longer impossible for customers to discover and buy products through stories. In other words, social media users can make the purchase decision without leaving the app, so they are more likely to buy on the spot.
As you can see, using social media stories is important for every holiday marketing campaign. And to run a successful campaign, it’s important to have a social media marketing calendar prepare for important dates in advance.
Here are 6 ideas you can use for your social media stories to increase holiday shopping sales.
1. Seasonal Product Launch
Seasonal products help ecommerce brands boost sales. Not only do they build excitement, but they also make customers feel nostalgic. Moreover, seasonal products are only available for a limited period of time, so people are more likely to make purchase decisions faster. That’s why you should use social media stories to announce your seasonal product launches.
For example, Dunkin’ announced its highly-anticipated pumpkin lineup in mid-August. The company used social media stories to cause a buzz around its seasonal product and interact with customers. From asking followers to guess participating cities to releasing the full list of locations, Dunkin’ used short-lived content successfully:
What is more, Dunkin’ rebranded eight locations one week before the launch and informed its social media followers that the first 250 guests would get a free small hot or iced pumpkin-flavored coffee. People love free stuff, so the news went viral.
2. Customer Unboxing Experience
The popularity of social shopping is on its rise. Today, 44% of shoppers turn to peer recommendations to discover gift ideas. For brands, this means they need to use social proof. Sharing customer unboxing experiences is a great way to prove that your company is worth giving a try.
Let’s take Zappos, for example. Once Zappos gets a notification that a customer has published a story with the company’s tag, its team pays close attention to the content and reposts unboxing experiences to provide followers with social proof. Here’s how it looks like in action:
If you’re not one of the most popular online shoe and clothing retailers, it can be difficult to get unboxing videos from your customers. However, you can use different bonuses like discounts or branded freebies to encourage your customers to share their shopping experiences with friends and family.
3. Time-Limited Offers
It’s in our nature to seek out the best deals. Living in the digital era, it doesn’t take much time or effort to find a variety of time-limited offers during the holiday shopping season. Further, 67% of shoppers say that they are more likely to share holiday digital coupons on social media, which means reaching more potential customers without putting much effort. Simply put, ecommerce companies should have time-limited offers to attract more seasonal shoppers.
If you want to increase holiday shopping sales, you need to create urgency with your time-limited offers. For example, GAP promoted its limited-edition looks via social media posts and stories in 2018:
To make sure your offer goes live on time, use a social media scheduler tool that suits your needs and publish your content when your audience is active online. The more people who see your offer, the more potential customers it can convert.
4. Seasonal Sale Announcement
What online shop doesn’t want to drive more online sales? Run seasonal sales to grab your customers’ attention. It’s no secret that modern shoppers want to save money during the holiday shopping season, so they are looking for seasonal sales before making a purchase decision. According to one report from Marketo, 88% of impulse buys are prompted by a sale. With the popularity of short-lived content, announcing your seasonal sale via stories helps get better results.
Case in point: To promote its Black Friday sale in 2018, Young and Reckless tested Instagram Stories ads with motion. Since 56% of customers claim that brands’ videos on social media have influenced a holiday purchase decision, it’s no wonder that the company got a 6X return on ad spend.
For a chance to get the same results, it’s worthwhile to create video stories for Instagram that hook the audience’s attention with ease. Why? Using animated social media stories is a great way to cut through the noise.
5. Holiday Gift Ideas
According to the Deloitte 2018 Holiday Survey, people spend 54% of their holiday shopping budget on buying gifts for their dearest and nearest. And holiday shoppers expect brands to help them make purchase decisions.
If you want to encourage customers to choose your brand over hundreds of options on the market, you can make holiday shopping easier – just offer some gift ideas.
Here’s a good example from Cluse. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the company collected its top picks to help shoppers discover the best products:
6. Last-Minute Reminders
Hunting for the best deals, more and more customers wait until the last minute to do holiday shopping. As a result, they’re pressed for time, so they’re looking for quick, actionable advice from brands on how to choose gifts. That’s why the best brands share last-minute reminders to attract late shoppers and increase holiday shopping sales.
Before posting last-minute reminders, it’s important to know the role psychology can play. As specified in one report, 1 in 3 last-minute shoppers choose where to buy their gifts based on how soon they can get them. If you want to win more customers, make them sure they can get their gifts on time. Here’s this strategy in action by Madewell Mens:
With a variety of options on the marketing, customer care is what makes you any different from hundreds of other brands that hope for the attention of your target audience. When you share last-minute reminders, you help holiday shoppers get their orders on time.
The holiday shopping season is a goldmine for any ecommerce company. And if you want to increase sales, you need to make sure that your target audience knows how to benefit from you, so using social stories is a proven way to promote your time-limited offers and attract more holiday shoppers.
Val Razo is a freelance social media marketing consultant who has over 5 years of digital marketing experience. Today, Val helps small- and medium-sized businesses to promote their products on social media. Follow her on Twitter.