Many years ago, our lovely receptionist Diane would buy bicycles for foster children in early November and leave them in the reception area. She spent her own money to purchase every one of the bicycles and put them up for display.
As people walked in and out of the office each day, they stopped and looked at the bicycles. Many of us would make a donation that would pay for a part of a bicycle, an entire bicycle, and sometimes multiple bicycles.
Diane left cards for people to sign so recipients would know who the kind donors were. Some donors opted to remain anonymous. Others unable to donate would simply sign the cards. Watching the bicycles being gifted and reading all the cards inspired others to do the same. When Diane was out of bicycles, she purchased more and brought them into the office.
During the holiday season, Diane hosted a party for these young children. The children took the bicycles home, the donors were happy, and a very grateful Diane walked away planning her next act of kindness.
I began working in the office with Diane in 1990. Over the years, the number of bicycles gifted would increase exponentially. Every year, there were more people who wanted to help the foster children. Diane was very kind and was always cheerful to all as we walked in and out of the door. She built relationships with people all year and when it was once again “bicycle season,” we all wanted to do something nice for her and support her cause.
As you think about the holiday season and your social media strategy, consider Diane’s motives and actions and apply those same ideas and principles to engage with your consumers.
Here are some ideas to consider:
Acknowledge and engage in a dialogue with your customers. You could start by asking them their plans for the holiday season; it could be a destination they are visiting, things they plan to purchase, or time spent with loved ones. Share what you are planning to do and get a conversation going.
As the holiday season approaches, give them things that they can share with friends. You could give them online cards, a holiday game to engage, or even an incentive of sending their friends sample items.
Think about purchasing your own “bicycles.” Feature the charity you support or the causes that you endorse, and make an investment in “gifts.” You can now ask your consumers if they would like to be part of the team that signs the cards or buys gifts for the recipients.
When you throw the party and give away the gifts, share pictures on the site. You could also get recipients to come up with personally drawn thank you cards – all of which you should consider publishing on your social media sites.
The best holiday marketing strategy is to be genuine, to empathize with your consumers, and make them want to connect with you. Think about what your brand stands for and do something unique to leverage your ability to connect.