This holiday season, it’s reasonable for brands and shoppers to feel lost, searching for a responsible and meaningful way to promote and use products amid a global pandemic and fraught political and social environment. It’s easier now than ever for brands to make a misstep in their marketing and advertising efforts. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, there are a few key tips to consider when crafting an impactful holiday campaign that takes circumstances into consideration:
1. Vet Influencers Early and Often
If an influencer doesn’t align with your target audience, consumers won’t respond to their content and won’t be compelled to buy your products or learn more about your brand. What could turn customers and the general public away even more strongly than mismatched influencers is controversy. Influencers are entitled to use their platforms to promote causes and efforts which are important to them — they’re humans, after all. However, keep an eye out for any offensive or irresponsible activities and behaviors that don’t align with your brand’s overall culture or which could isolate potential customers. All it takes is one controversial post from an influencer to cause your brand to get caught up in the fallout. Therefore, it’s crucial to thoroughly and frequently vet creatives ahead of any campaigns.
2. Make Social Platforms Work for You
Your brand and its influencers need a strong presence on the platforms where your customers spend most of their time. Each venue has a unique audience, so be sure to adjust your tactics to best position your content for engagement and action. Take advantage of in-app shopping experiences, which are easy to add on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and now, Instagram’s Reels feature. Users respond to calls to action better when they're framed within the context of how they’re already using the app.
On apps like TikTok, simply following and joining in on the latest trends can drive powerful results. Just look at the now-famous “Dreams” video. It drove millions of free impressions for Ocean Spray (and Fleetwood Mac!). While brands can only hope for something similar to happen with their products and imagery this holiday season, the lesson here is to spend time listening and observing on apps like TikTok so your brand can spot the next trend early and move quickly to participate in the discourse and boost visibility.
3. Broaden the Scope of Your Influencers
Many customers cannot or will not visit brick-and-mortar stores this fall. Influencers offer a unique solution for creating authentic experiences for shoppers on social media. It should start at the ground floor — bring influencers in on messaging development and strategy. Their perspective and understanding of follower habits could be the boost your campaigns need. Lastly, don’t forget that influencers are customers themselves. Let them offer their real thoughts on your products and how they impact their daily lives in posts, whenever possible. Reviews and testimonials which hit on human emotions always play well with customers, and could be even more powerful this year.
Wading into the holiday marketing space this year might feel treacherous for brands. However, the ups and downs of 2020 have created an opportunity for retailers and creatives to step back and reassess their strategies and even consider new tactics to engage with new and old customers and reinvigorate sales.
Justin Kline is co-founder of Markerly, an influencer marketing technology partner and platform working with some of the largest consumer brands in the world.
Related story: 4 Steps for Increasing Sales With TikTok Influencers